“Wake Up Matthew, it’s time to go!” I slowly begin to open my eyes, still holding tight onto my blanket, as my friend Ryan tries to wake me up. The time is 8 am and it’s my last day in the state of New York. I was visiting for the very first time in my life and was having a great time. This past July, my friends and I stayed in Manhattan for four nights and spent the last night in Port Jefferson. We spent the majority of our last day trekking all the way to Newark International Airport, where we had a return flight to Los Angles to catch at 2:35 pm. Surely, we had enough time for one last eventful day in New York.
We all rushed out of our hotel as soon as possible to grab bagels at a local spot, Fratelli’s Bagels, before heading to the train station back to the city. We all grabbed a generous extra amount of bagels to eat throughout the day and to take back to Los Angeles. The train ride took a while but it was fun being around good company, eating delicious bagels in a completely new environment. We only had one goal to accomplish in the city before hitting the airport, which was to get a very essential meal of Korean Barbeque.
When we arrived at Let’s Meat, the KBBQ restaurant we had been looking forward to eating at, they allowed us to leave our luggage in an open space near the front and told us they would look over it. Throughout the meal, the service kept getting better as our table always had meat and appetizers filling our plates as quickly as we could eat. The food tasted great, and it wasn’t served frozen as some KBBQ places serve it, which was a big plus. After only eating bagels up to this point in the day, we made sure to get our money’s worth before hopping back on the metro for Newark International. After eating, we checked the navigation to the airport and we were scheduled to arrive roughly 20-25 minutes before our flight. We weren’t too concerned but we knew that we had to move with urgency.
Back in April 2021, I was a high school senior still deciding where to go to college. At that point, I was pretty committed on attending USC, but I wanted to visit my other potential options so I could be 100% sure in my decision. One of the other colleges that I was considering attending was UC Berkeley, so I decided to take a day to visit their campus.
I left on the first flight out of LAX one morning and was planning to catch the red eye out of SFO on the way back. I spent the whole day exploring Berkeley and San Francisco; my day was filled with eating amazing food and desserts. I was thoroughly enjoying my day, exploring campus and enjoying the nice weather. That is, I was enjoying myself until it was time to go back. I constantly checked my phone the whole evening to ensure I had enough time to make it back to my flight, but honestly, I was too lenient with myself. By the time I was on the bus back to SFO, I realized about fifty minutes before my flight that the only way I had a remote chance to make it was with an uber. So, I got off the bus at the first top I could and called an Uber. I rushed to the airport, and arrived about five minutes before my flight was set to depart. However, when I got there the receptionist told me my flight had departed about ten minutes ago. I was stunned because I thought I had already checked in for the flight, but the receptionist insisted I hadn’t. There wasn’t anything I could do about the situation, so my only option was to catch the next flight in the morning. I paid the rescheduling fee and prepared for my night at the airport.
As I walked through the terminal, I noticed that many shops and restaurants were already closed. I knew that I would have to get as many essential items as I could before the rest of the airport closed for the night. The first thing I did was get food and drinks so I wouldn’t be stranded without something to snack on. I decided on getting a sandwich from Starbucks for dinner. I also got water and a Naked smoothie drink to make sure I stayed hydrated for the night. If you ever have to stay at the airport overnight or for a long period of time, I highly recommend stocking up on food and drinks for the night because it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. I would hate to be hungry or dehydrated while waiting uncomfortably for my flight all night. The second thing I did was get toiletries, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste. After these two steps, I found a nice place to sit down that was near an outlet to charge my devices. The rest of my night was filled with watching a show called The League, and numerous poor attempts to get some sleep. If I was put in another situation that required me to spend the night at the airport, I would’ve invested in some melatonin or a sleep aid if the airport shops had it.
Finding off campus housing around USC is a common struggle amongst many students. With so many different options and factors to take into consideration, the whole process can be overwhelming, especially for students who aren’t familiar with the area. Here, I detail some resources that can help with this search!
When should you start looking for next school year’s housing?
Some students start looking for off campus housing as early as October/November and have their lease signed by December. This is usually necessary for popular places around campus, especially houses on the North side of campus where a lot of people want to live. However, there will still be many vacancies at the start of the calendar year, so do not worry if you start the housing search process late. A good place to look for housing in the spring is apartments near campus who are looking to fill their buildings and may be running special deals in the springtime.
Where to look for housing?
1. Walk around the neighborhood. Many apartments/houses will have their phone numbers posted in front of the residence. Note the name of the property management and phone number to do further research!
2. This Reddit link features links to many different popular housing management companies around campus and the websites for various apartments. I found it to be especially helpful in checking out the different types of apartments around campus, and determining the different locations of all of the housing options.
3. Facebook Groups: There are a few Facebook groups where students post available listings, usually subleases. If you search for USC housing groups, you will find people looking for potential roommates or looking for people to take over their subleases. This is a good place to turn to if you are looking for a semester lease or a summer lease, as opposed to a year long lease. However, sometimes scams are posted on these groups so use your best judgement when contacting those writing the posts.
Where is it safe to live?
Many students live within a one-mile radius of USC. This ensures that the house/apartment will be within the Fryft (free Lyft) Zone. Around this area will also have DPS Yellow Jackets patrolling around the blocks at night. North side of campus near Frat Row is a popular option for students. West side of campus is also popular for engineering students who have classes near that side of campus.
Living in DTLA or commuting to campus?
Some students may choose to live farther away from campus and commute to classes by car or public transportation. Living farther away gives you more housing options, but USC does not provide transportation from DTLA to campus, so having a car will be beneficial if living far away. However, if you do choose to live a little further away, you can take advantage of LA’s public transportation system to get to campus. The Metro and F dash bus are both options to get from Downtown LA to USC fairly quickly.
The price range of housing varies depending on the type of room (single, double, etc.) and location (proximity to campus). Houses and apartments on the North side of campus are typically pricier as they are closer to the Village and it is a livelier area of the neighborhood. Prices can range from $800 for a shared room on the West side to $1400 and up for a single on the North side.
On Campus Housing
USC offers on-campus housing for both undergraduate and graduate students. Check out the USC housing to look at the different options offered! The most popular USC housing option for undergraduates is in the USC Village, but there are off campus options as well. Many of these housing options come with some sort of dining plan and close proximity to campus, which is always a plus, but some of them can be quite pricey.
Most college students live in an apartment or house with roommates. Some people share a room with others, while others have their own rooms and share a living space. Usually shared rooms have lower rent than private rooms. When finding roommates, the first step should be to see if any of your friends are also looking for housing since living with friends is usually easier to adapt to than living with random roommates. However, living with randomly paired roommates can be a great option as well. Many people search for roommates on housing Facebook pages and express what they want in a potential roommate, and end up finding someone who is very compatible with their living style and turns out to be a great friend!