Opportunities and Getting Involved on Campus

In a new series of columns, each week an alum of USC Annenberg will share stories of their time at the school, discuss their career, and offer advice to students.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak with some future Trojans at an Admitted Students event hosted by the Trojan League of South Bay. Most of these high school seniors had already committed to USC (fight on!) but a couple of them were on the fence, weighing the options between our school and other schools that shall not be named. Luckily, a well-assembled crew of current students and alumni were on hand to help them make the right choice.

The one word I heard the most at the event, whether it was spoken by an alumni or Society 53 member or a woman from the Trojan League, was “opportunity.” No matter what generation of Trojan you were, everyone could agree that USC does an incredible job of providing students with invaluable opportunities — from speaking with notable guest lecturers, to the use of state of the art media labs, to connections to internships and beyond. The opportunities at USC are limitless.

I believe that in the midst of these opportunities, one of the most important is the chance to find a community you can belong to. The number of clubs and societies and organizations at USC is truly amazing. Whether you’re interested in fashion or the performing arts, women’s rights or startups, there is a place for you. Getting involved on campus is one of the most important things you can do as a student at USC. I learned this firsthand.

Coming to USC as a sophomore transfer who lived off campus, my first semester was tough. I was shy and kept to myself as travelled through the once daunting halls of USC Annenberg. (I now laugh about how big our campus once seemed to me.) I was having a hard time finding my place … until I discovered the Concerts Committee. The prospect of interacting with a whole group of people who shared my passion for music and concerts was incredibly exciting. I attended their meeting the following week and never looked back. I met some of my best friends at USC through the committee. We planned phenomenal concerts with artists like Macklemore, Diplo, Big Sean and Jason Derulo — all on our own. We booked talent, created stages, dealt with riders and solved every problem in between (like that one time when the generator blew up right before Big Sean was supposed to hit the stage). We met with music industry professionals, went to concerts and connected each other with internships.

As my college career went on, I became the assistant director of the committee and met a whole new group of people who served as directors and assistant directors of their own organizations in Program Board. These people were passionate about bringing excellent programming to not only their committee, but also the university as a whole. The members of PB considered themselves a family and in their office above Campus Center, I truly felt like I had found my place on campus.

So whether it’s joining a Program Board committee or SC Outfitters — or the Entrepreneur Club or the Auto Club or any other organization — there is someplace for you on campus. It’s extremely important to jump in a find where that place is and take advantage of all the opportunities they make available. It’s what will make your college experience so much more fulfilling.

Alexandra Gurley is a 2014 graduate of USC Annenberg with a degree in Communication. As a student, she was involved in Undergraduate Student Government, Program Board’s Concerts and Marketing Committees and the Viterbi Startup Garage. She worked as a content coordinator at Live Nation Labs, a...

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