Tag Archives: college

My Experience Spending the Night at the Airport

By Matthew Kim

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

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.

Photo by Jeremy Huang on Unsplash

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.

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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. 

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The Ultimate Guide to UPC Study Spots

By Jonah Vroegop

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

It’s that time of the semester again! We are approaching finals week, and everyone is beginning to scramble to find a place where they can study and concentrate amidst all of the end of year chaos. As my final semester at USC is coming to a close, it seems only right that I pass on my accumulated knowledge of the best places on the USC main campus to work and study.

Doheny Bookstacks

The “bookstacks”, as they’re rightfully called, are where most of the books are located within Doheny Library. There are 3-4 underground levels of books on shelves, row after row. The ceiling is low, the smell of old books hangs in the air, and the silence is dominant. Scattered within these rows of books are small cubicles with a single chair and electrical outlet, as well as some tables where 2-3 people can work together quietly. For anyone like me who has trouble focusing in a noisy or stimulating environment, the bookstacks offer a quiet, air conditioned place to really get work done. You can enter the bookstacks from the Doheny Library front desk, just up the stairs from the main entrance.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Asa V Call Law Library

The law library is another great place for people who have trouble focusing to catch up on work or who want to get ahead on upcoming assignments. It offers a mixture of seating – some squishy booths for larger groups of 4-6, some wooden tables for singles or groups, and even some standing workspaces with high tables. There are 3 floors of silent workspaces with outlets and overall, the law library is one of the most newly renovated study spaces on campus. There is even a cafe in the basement that sells food and drinks (boba!!). There are very few people in the law library and it is close to great food and coffee options on Figueroa/Exposition for your study fuel. Disclaimer: the law library is open to law students only for a few select weeks of the semester during law exams.

Watt and Harris Hall Courtyards

At the architecture school, there are two main buildings – Watt Hall and Harris Hall. Each of these buildings has a large outdoor courtyard where students can sit and work, have a meal, or just relax and enjoy the day. On sunny days when I don’t want to be cooped up in the library or if I bring food and drinks with me to study, these courtyard spaces are my preferred place to be. There are tables outdoors as well as lots of grass and landscaped spaces to work behind the school (toward Exposition). The architecture library is also a great place to study (Watt hall basement). It has a design-forward atmosphere that is pleasant to work in, but it is currently under renovation.

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Old Annenberg

Around the outside of the older Annenberg building, there are lots of individual and group study spaces to enjoy. Their are tables situated on on balconies and lining the walkways, and many of these tables have umbrellas to block the sun on bright days as well. With close proximity to the center of campus, these are usually very convenient places to stop and take care of a quick email or get some work done between classes. These spots are also not very well known and oftentimes entirely empty. There is also a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the cinema school nearby to this area for your snack and drink convenience.

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On Being An International Student During The Lunar New Year

By Hannah Teoh

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

Recently, the Lunar New Year passed and celebrations were happening everywhere. If you aren’t familiar with the holiday, the Lunar New Year is celebrated every year to mark the beginning of the Lunar calendar. It originates from China and is celebrated widely by Asian diasporas all around the world. As an ethnic Chinese person from Malaysia, Lunar New Year has always been an important event to my family. On the eve of Lunar New Year, everyone gathers at the ancestral home to have a big traditional feast, followed by a grand ritual at midnight to commemorate the new year. The festivities typically last for a week. We usually clear our schedules for the week for visiting relatives and for going to temples to pray for the upcoming year. The Lunar New Year was always my favorite time of the year, purely because it is a time of unity, reflection, connection, and remembrance. 

The Lunar New Year has looked very different the past few years. For me, the Lunar New Year lost its usual vibrant vitality and character during the pandemic, as lockdowns and social gathering restrictions discouraged visits to temples and seeing relatives and friends— but with good reason, I must add. Many of my relatives are quite a bit older and were part of the population that was highly vulnerable to the air-borne infection. We also did not have a vaccine roll-out at that time, so it was a more precarious situation to navigate. While I understood why such restrictions were put in place, it also made our Lunar New Year celebrations humbler. Streets were quiet when they normally would have abounded with cars and people on their way to different celebrations. The night sky remained calm when it would have been painted in splatters of fireworks.

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2020 was the last year I had a Lunar New Year celebration with my family back home in Malaysia. I left for the U.S. the following year in 2021, right before the New Year. I stayed with my sister in Boston and we had a small Lunar New Year’s eve dinner with Korean take-out food. We called our parents and our grandmother to give well wishes, and they in turn gave us virtual red packets (packets of money traditionally given out by elders during Lunar New Year). A grand celebration that usually takes place over the course of a week was relegated to a modest dinner. 

For the first time, I spent the Lunar New Year alone this year. Between finishing schoolwork, attending class, and going to work, I never really prioritized celebrating the holiday. Plans to have a dinner for Lunar New Year were mentioned in passing but never brought up again as people got busy (myself included). The dumplings that I usually make were stored for an extra day because it was time-consuming to make them. I called my parents late, with the 15-hour time difference throwing off my frame of time. My Lunar New Year celebration started and ended with a bowl of glutinous rice sesame balls in Alhambra.

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