While on my phone the other day, I accidentally scrolled to the menu that records my daily screen time. To put it lightly, I was shocked by the amount of time I have been spending on my phone lately. I think most of us can relate to an increase in screen time occurring in our daily lives since quarantine began. Technology and social media have connected us in ways that were never thought to be possible, and they allow us to stay contributing members of society even from home. It makes me wonder how we would have reacted to quarantine 15 or 20 years ago, but then, one doesn’t miss something which is unknown to them. That transition to global interconnectedness through technology is truly unique to this generation, and social media has played a large role in that transition. If you are looking for a film to watch at home that explores this very topic, look no further than The Social Network.
Academy award nominated film The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and many others, directed by David Fincher, traces the development of Facebook from its humble beginnings: Mark Zuckerberg’s college dorm room at Harvard. The film employs a variety of timelines to chronicle the story of Facebook’s creation, the personal lives of its founders, and the ensuing intellectual property lawsuits that plagued Zuckerberg’s young career. It is fast-paced, exciting, and rife with witty banter.
The first time I watched this movie I was struck by the impressive dialogue and pacing. The director shot this film in a way that moves almost as fast as the connections millions of people make on Facebook every day. The dialogue is rapid, the interpersonal relationships between the characters are complex, and the story weaves between the business and personal narratives of its subjects, which are as intense and messy as anyone would expect from college students finding themselves at the forefront of a multi-million dollar idea. Prior to watching, I expected the movie to be more similar to a biopic of Mark Zuckerberg’s life, but it focused on the narrative of his life objectively from multiple perspectives, leaving the viewer to draw their own conclusions about the series of events. This, along with the variety of short scenes taking place in different locations in a non time-sequential order, truly makes you feel like you are piecing together Zuckerberg’s story from pieces of information found in various places on the Internet. It surely leaves a strong impression on the viewer along with questions about the influence media has on our lives.
USC can be a daunting place. Dealing with classes, homework, and exams at one of the most academically challenging schools in the region is stressful enough, but what about the difficulties of normal everyday living on a campus the size of a small town? First, there’s the people – around 43,000 undergraduate and graduate students you have to weave among while bolting to class. Then you have the campus, an area compact with so many buildings a person can get lost between WPH and Doheny. Where the heck is ACB? What is all of this stuff happening on Trousdale? Why are there SO MANY people at Seeds? Not to mention USC’s location in one of the most prominent cities in the world; Los Angeles is scary!
It’s a lot to get used to. For anyone! Whether you’re an international student, an out-of-state student, or even a Southern California native, it’s hard to handle everything that happens in and around our amazing campus. Luckily, I’m here to help.
Though I am no USC expert, I have been here for over a year and, during my time, I have tried my best to get involved with everything I can. Let’s start with the campus. I get lost all the time. ALL THE TIME. This has a lot to do with my tendency to get distracted by the events I always seem to walk by on my way to class, but that’s beside the point. Like almost everything these days, there’s an app (or four) for that! For iPhone users that don’t like to use USC’s Web App, there are many other options; just go to Apple’s App Store. There are apps that act as a USC map and help you navigate the campus. There are apps for USC transportation, Campus Cruiser, USC Libraries, and even food at USC. There’s even an app called “USC iTommyCam” that shows you what’s going down at Tommy Trojan in the center of campus at all times. And that’s not even the half of them. Taking advantage of these apps can help you immensely when trying to handle a day on campus. There are even helpful Facebook groups like Free Food @ USC, which is great if you want free food (who doesn’t?!). It can also help you get involved on campus by participating in events and clubs looking for hungry members. It’s a win-win – meet friends, get involved, and eat for free!
The first reaction most people have upon hearing the name of my high school – “High Tech High” – is “Hmm, nope. That sounds fictional.” This is no doubt aided by the existence of the 2005 film Sky High, an altogether flawless motion picture about teenagers with superpowers, attending high school in the sky.
***Sky High. $2.99 on most video-renting platforms. Tell your friends.
So, I may not have taken a flying bus to superhero school every day, but my learning experience was fairly unique. For one, it is tiny compared to other schools; my graduating class totaled 100 students, making for a very warm and close-knit community. Secondly, High Tech High follows a project-based curriculum. What this means is that every couple of weeks, we would have a new presentation to give, a new art piece to make, and a new topic to creatively explore.