No, I Won't Let My GPA Determine My Worth.

No, I Won't Let My GPA Determine My Worth.

Because, no letter shows my worth.
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Yes, it's that time of the year, final exam time!

While we should be thinking about the holidays, and how we're going to love and cherish those around us, we're too busy worrying about our GPA and how it will determine our worth in some fashion.

In society, those who have a higher GPA are deemed more worthy. Worthy for better jobs, schools, and so on. However, your GPA isn't truly based off the type of person you are, or how hard you work. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that maintaining a good GPA isn't hard work, because trust me, I know it is.

I'm talking about what goes on behind the scenes, though. The student who has four jobs and supports their family. Or what about those who have testing anxiety? A piece of paper and a letter grade shouldn't determine who is worthy and who isn't.

But yet, we let our GPA take our everything. It takes our friendships and relationships to the limit. We damage ourselves every semester, pushing our minds and our spirits wanting to accomplish even more. If an outcome isn't favorable, we break. We crash and burn.

We think to ourselves: "if my GPA isn't a certain number now, then what will happen when I graduate? What kind of job will I get? What graduate school would accept me with this GPA?"

Sorry, but I won't let my GPA determine my worth. And neither should you.

Cover Image Credit: http://gradecalculator.mes.fm/

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Going To College 5 Miles From Home Is A Curse Turned Blessing

For some, the distance of a college from home may be an important factor. But don't let this judgment and opinion determine where you go! Let me tell you why.

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I became a Trojan basically the day I got into USC. USC had always been my dream school. It had everything I wanted: a central urban location, a large Asian population, great weather, the list only goes on. However, the one drawback was the fact that USC's essentially down the block from my house. Did I think this was an issue? At first, no. It didn't affect me until the onslaught of something like, "Oh, so are you going to go home to do your laundry?!" or "Wow, your parents must really like that!" every time I told someone where I was going to college.

Out of the 86 kids in my graduating class, only a handful of us were staying in SoCal. Everyone else wanted to get as far away as possible: New York, Boston-- essentially wherever their parents couldn't spontaneously show up for a surprise visit. But for me, distance was not something I really cared about either way when looking for schools. In addition, I was always lucky to have a really great relationship with my parents. I knew (or at least hoped) that they'd respect my space and want me to thrive independently in college. They'd joke about showing up on my doorstep, but I knew that they wouldn't without asking or telling me first.

Nevertheless, the comments about the distance did make me feel insecure about and question my decisions. I knew college was going to be a time of great change, and I wanted to have as "authentic" of an experience as the kids going across the country.

However, USC turned out to be everything I could've ever wanted in a school. And while I know I could have gotten so many different, amazing experiences through going to a school out-of-state, I feel grateful for all of the opportunities and benefits that have come from going to a school close to home. Essentially, what I thought was going to be a curse, has turned into a blessing.

I know this is a time where current seniors are beginning to make their final May 1 college decision. So, here are 8 reasons why I love going to school close to home:

1. I don't get homesick!

Because school is a 20 minute drive away from home, I don't feel the homesickness that a lot of my international, out-of-state, or Bay Area friends feel. Knowing that home is just a short drive away has made the college transition quite smooth.

2. Going home on breaks is a breeze!

When I go home for break, I just pack my entire closet in a suitcase (don't ask), throw some extra stuff in the car, and drop it all off at home. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about limiting what I bring home since I don't have to account for factors such as baggage restrictions and whatnot. I also don't have to worry about booking flights, getting Ubers, etc.

3. I can see my high school friends while they're on break.

This year, some of the breaks of my high school friends' colleges unfortunately did not line up with mine. Nevertheless, I was still able to see many of my friends, as they all live in LA! So, when they came back during their break, regardless whether or not was on break, we could easily meet up!

4. If I'm sick I can come home.

I have been close, but have not yet been on my deathbed since I started college. However, if I were to catch the plague from Frat Row or Hand-Foot-Mouth disease from the party dorm "New North," then I could go home easily, and rest/recover in my own bed under the care of my own mom. In addition, I could go to my own doctor, which brings me to my next point.

5. I don't have to find a new doctor, hair stylist, dentist, nada!

Since I go to school in the same city that I've lived my whole life, I can go to the same hair stylist, doctor, dentist, orthodontist, physical therapist, and so on.

6. If I forgot something over break, I could swing by school and get it!

Even though I still pack my whole closet when I go home from break to prevent the chance of me forgetting something, I still could always go back to school and get something if I were to have forgotten it.

7. Internships/job-hunting process is a lot easier.

I know a lot of my out-of-state friends are having trouble figuring out summer plans through USC, as a lot of the research opportunities and jobs through USC are on campus. Therefore, I don't have to limit myself in my options, as I can easily come back to campus during the summer or other breaks.

8. I'm familiar-ish with the area.

I've lived in LA my whole life, so I know a good amount of places and am familiar with main streets/areas. However, there's still so much for me to explore with new USC friends, as LA is a huge city with so many new places popping up and things to do.

Going to college in my hometown, in my opinion, has given me a new perspective on the city. Even though I've lived here for 19 years, I'm now traversing the streets by myself or with my new college friends, which is an entirely different experience as well. I may be close to home physically, but through merely living away from my parents it has given me an all the experiences and feelings of independence I'd want in college, as well as the many awesome benefits mentioned prior. I know not every city is as bustling as Los Angeles, but I nevertheless encourage people to dissemble the general stigma around the idea of going to a school close to home. I do believe that there are just as many benefits as going to a school down the block as there is far away.

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