Category Archives: Advice

Cooking in College

By Brianneth Rocha

            There is a lot to prepare for as an incoming college student, or even as a current student. For those getting ready to live on campus, the list of things to do is endless. Whether it is preparing for your courses, purchasing appliances, assembling a grocery list, I would argue that the most important way to prepare is learning how to cook. I am currently a sophomore living in an apartment, which has taught me to be a little more independent. In particular, I have started learning how to cook, something which is much more complicated than it seems. I can tell you now that the first few attempts will not go perfectly, so don’t give up! I have provided some of the easiest recipes for any beginner. All of these recipes have ingredients that can be substituted to fit various diets. Now especially might be a good time to get a head start on practicing these simple recipes while we are all at home in quarantine. You can even ask your family to evaluate how good your cooking skills are by taste-testing!

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Tips for My Ten Year Old Self

By Eugene Chang

Being an international student isn’t easy. When placed in an alien and unfamiliar world completely different from your own, surrounded by people who speak different languages or celebrate different holidays, it is difficult to adjust. How would I have known this transition would be so hard? I moved to the United States when I was ten years old from Hong Kong. Here in the States, cars drive on opposite sides of the road, electrical outlets are completely different, soda cups are bigger than my face, and if you do not tip your waiter, you’re a terrible customer. The list goes on and on, and for a kid who spoke at best grammatically incorrect English, this was terrifyingly overwhelming. I made a ton of mistakes along the road, and the journey has most certainly been bumpy, but I enjoyed every moment of it. However, if I were to go back in time, sit my ten year old self down and talk to him, I would give him the following advice. Whether you’re an international student at USC who is scared of the new environment, or you’re a USC student thinking of going abroad this summer or later, I hope that my tips to my former self can benefit you as well.

1. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Don’t understand what the teacher just said? Ask him or her to repeat it. Don’t know where your next class is? Politely ask a stranger for directions. Need help brushing up your English speaking and writing skills? Don’t be afraid to hire a tutor or to ask friends to practice speaking with you. Whatever your concern in this unfamiliar place is, people are always willing to help. It is completely ok to ask for assistance, because that is how people learn how to do anything! When I was little, I was extremely hesitant to ask for help because I was embarrassed about my thick Chinese accent and I didn’t want to burden anyone. That only ended up hurting me, because as I spent more time in the US, I learned that people are very friendly and will almost always help if you have a problem. Speaking of my irrational fear of speaking in English, here is my second tip.

Photo by Christopher Mance

2. Try to speak the native language as much as possible.

Learning to be comfortable with speaking a language that is foreign to you is like learning how to play a guitar. Do you think Chuck Berry knew every single chord and could play any song he wanted when he first picked up a guitar? No! He spent hours and hours practicing and playing until blisters formed on his fingers. The same goes for speaking a language. You do not have to be good at speaking, you just have to speak. Get comfortable speaking broken English, or Italian, or Chinese. Because in the end, you’ll notice that the more you speak in the country’s native tongue, the more you catch your own grammatical mistakes by listening to people around you. Speak it, listen to it, read it, and sooner or later you’ll find yourself catching other people’s mistakes in their speech. Take this time when we are stuck inside to get ahead on your language-learning skills on your own time!

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

3. Make friends that speak the language you want to learn.

This might be the only time that peer pressure will help you. When you surround yourself with friends who speak a different language than you, you will get more motivation and incentive to learn and speak that language. They can also help point out your mistakes and help you become a better speaker. There is no better way to learn new slang or idioms than from your new buddies overseas. Obviously this does not mean to avoid making friends who speak the same language as you, but the more you spend time with people who speak the local language, the more you will force yourself to speak it. Even texting, calling, or video chatting them will help improve your speaking in small increments throughout the day.

Image from the USC ALI New Communities Through Conversations Event on February 4, 2020, at Troy Hall East
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Structuring Your Time When Working From Home

By Natalie Grace Sipula


            We’ve all been there. You sit on your bed or your couch, pajamas on, ten tabs open on your computer. You stare at your screen with the full intention of knocking out five hours of solid work. You type a few words of your first assignment, then notice an email notification pop up on the side of your screen. It catches your eye enough to make you click on it. Suddenly, you are inundated with emails from teachers and coworkers and notice an email to an online shopping website. You start scrolling, checking texts, and taking snack breaks and glance at the clock to see that three hours have passed.

Photo from PXHere
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