Tag Archives: usc

How JEP Created A Home Away From Home

By Sam Newman

Growing up in a small suburb in the middle of Long Island, New York, I was a kid that loved to get involved in the community. Whether it was through a program at the local library, helping the elderly learn how to send an email, or volunteer work at my elementary school, helping the kindergartners do a science experiment with marshmallows and toothpicks, I loved the inspiration I received when helping others.  Therefore, upon arriving at the University of Southern California, I found it imperative to discover a service niche in which I could participate.  Luckily, the opportunities for volunteer work at USC are limitless.

One day after class (it was a Monday I believe),  I walked up the steps of the awkwardly placed house at the end of Trousdale and gingerly watched my head as I stepped under the “JEP Sign-Up Now!” banner.  Earlier that week, I had learned about the Joint Educational Project, and their mission to have USC students assist and tutor in the classrooms of local schools around the USC area, schools that are typically made up of kids from low income and struggling families.  A few weeks later, I was kneeling down at the world’s tiniest table in Mrs. Oldaker’s kindergarten class at the 32nd Street School, trying to sound out the word “dog” to a cute little girl with pigtails. “D-aw D-aw D-aw,” I said trying to make a “D” sound.  The young girl understood and scribbled the letter “D” onto her paper.  The next two letters provided more of a challenge.  “Aw-G Aw-G Aw-G,” I said, recognizing that the letter “O” did not sound like itself in this scenario and that the odds of her figuring that out were slim to none.  Mrs. Oldaker approached and reassured me that the young students did not need to get it right every time, just as long as they were practicing the letters of alphabet and getting used to the sounds.  To be honest, I don’t know how Mrs. Oldaker has been teaching kindergarten for 24 years (25 next September she consistently reminded me). It is hard work!

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We are Los Angeles

By Sarah Joh

Culture shock is an expected side effect that comes with being a newcomer in a new place. But as my move to Los Angeles has taught me, there is more to culture shock than simply being confronted by a barrage of unfamiliarity.

Take, for example, Koreatown – which, for me, is a welcome offcampus destination that hinges on the spontaneity of friends with with cars. Thanks to  its proximity and its food, Koreatown (or K-town) is a common outlet for USC students; a stroke of luck for your truly, as it provides me with the gratification of feasting on the closest thing to my mom’s home cooking. However, in addition to belly-splitting meals, the road to Koreatown also promises a much different form of cultural experience.

Driving down Hoover Street, you will pass a laundromat that informs passersby of its title in three different languages – English, Spanish, and Korean. Likewise, even as the title “Koreatown” points to the cultural composition of this particular region of LA, stores catering to Latin-American populations rest side-by-side with their Korean counterparts. As you drive down certain roads, you can observe the frequency of this cultural mixing increase until, suddenly, you are in an area peppered less with Korean barbeque restaurants and more with hole-in-the-wall taco joints. The way these two cultures seamlessly bleed into each other leads me to wonder how such culturally different communities came to coexist side-by-side.

This is the unique, patchwork beauty of Los Angeles. The rapid scenery changes, from gilded facades of affluence to ramshackle buildings with caged windows, from one ethnic enclave to the next, from tall concrete and glass jungles to one-storied plains, is both shocking and wonder-provoking. Los Angeles is anywhere and everywhere mixed together and spread out throughout the urban sprawl. Converging in this one city, different cultures come to exist side-by-side, as well as intermingle with each other.

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USC Life Hacks – Part 2

By Cara Hafter

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!

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