I hope as I wrap up my first semester at USC, I figured it was time to reflect on some things that I learned... and not just in class. This is one of the most valuable experiences of my life and I can't wait to see what else this new environment has to offer.
1. It's all you now.
While still living with my parents, I definitely had freedom. But, being here and really living on your own is different. Community college felt much more like a continuation of high school, but going to a university feels like no one is really worried about what you're doing. So technically, you can do whatever you want! Because of all of this freedom, I was able to find the things that I like to do on my own, and I learned how to discipline myself in order to prioritize the right things.
2. There's a lot of people out there.
I grew up in a city/suburb in the Bay Area, but LA is a whole other world. It's so rare for me to see the same person twice that when I do I tend to notice it. What is so amazing about this is the endless opportunity to meet someone new. Each and every person that you might walk past, make accidental eye contact with, or even live across the hall from, has a story. And there's no way for you to learn their story unless you put yourself out there and connect with people, and listen to them, and maybe even make a friend from it.
3. Your real friends will show themselves.
When you have long-distance friends, it can get hard finding time for each other. It's so important that you both understand communication will keep your friendship strong. It is up to the both of you to maintain contact and keep the friendship from fading. Distance doesn't have to keep you apart!
4. Take care of your mental health!
Going through such a big change can take a huge toll on your mental health before you even realize it. I learned that I really needed to remember to take time for myself and ensure I had the right mindset when going into the semester. I even needed to take social media breaks in order to make sure that I wasn't comparing myself to other people. This is one of the most important things I learned this semester and will consistently remind myself of going forward at USC.
5. Group projects are time consuming.
Having group projects will eat up so much of your time. Don't fall behind! It will just get stressful and overwhelming and everyone's schedules will not coincide. They're inevitable, so just do it earlier rather than later.
6. Your experience is what you make it.
After these past few months, I realized that the more you put time into better yourself and your time at school, the more will come out of it. The first semester is always tough to adjust and get used to your schedule and new life, but once you become accustomed, don't be afraid to try something new! I made some connections with people here, which I am extremely grateful for, that would never have happened if I didn't open up to them! It's about taking risks and doing things that will make you uncomfortable. I promise it will be worth it.