January 2018 Student Spotlight - Rachel Parsons

Full Name: Rachel Parsons
What is your hometown? Fort Worth, Texas
What is your major? Journalism
What is your expected graduation date? December 2019

Why did you choose to attend Annenberg?
I chose Annenberg for future professional contacts and the network of alumni. I knew the Trojan network would be valuable, and the Annenberg name and training would carry weight with newsrooms and outlets all over the world.  

Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you've had here at Annenberg?
That is hard to narrow down. The most enjoyable experience I have had is simply being in classrooms every day with professors who have lifetimes’ worth of experience at serious journalistic outlets. Learning from them and having them edit and critique my work has been immeasurably valuable and their support and enthusiasm is incredibly motivating.

What makes Annenberg special?
A faculty that really cares about the work they do and the work you do as a student and future journalist. The support staff at Annenberg is also wonderful. I applied to the school preparing myself for an arduous process and lots of jumping through hoops, but from the moment I got my acceptance letter I have had a hassle-free experience that has been a joy. From my academic advisor to the professors and deans, I have had all the help I needed any time I needed it.

What's one thing at USC that no student should miss?
The opportunity to travel. There are so many study abroad programs across the spectrum of USC schools, whether it is a short spring break program or a semester, that everyone can find something to take advantage of. I am an older student with a lot of travel experience and I can say that it is every bit as important a learning experience as being in college is. If you can do both at once—even better.

Tell us about an experience you’ve had outside of class (an internship, research project, publication, start-up, etc.).
One of my previous professors recommended some of my articles to a local professional publication recently and now I am writing for a print and online outlet in Los Angeles, and am thrilled. It is extremely exciting to see the whole reason I came to Annenberg to begin with manifesting in professional assignments.

How does your major fit into your life's plan?
I am in my late 30s, and came to school to further a career change I decided to make. I realized part way through that transition a degree was necessary so my journalism major is a key part of, ultimately, working internationally as a foreign correspondent. The major is really the propeller that makes my whole plan move forward.

What's your favorite spot on campus and why?
The Hoose Library of Philosophy because it is a quintessential academic library; beautiful, serene, regal.

What has been your greatest challenge?
Learning to work in groups after many years working alone.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
Talk to your professors. I mean really talk to them. And the deans, too. Don’t just limit the conversation to your grades and story ideas. Those people are more than willing to help you and advise you on career goals and hiccups and help you make game plans. Take advantage of that; that is really why Annenberg is so valuable. There is a professor who lets me bend his ear any time I have professional questions and I have never had him as an instructor. I met him at an Annenberg open house before I applied to the school, and he is, as is all the faculty, very generous with his time, advice and encouragement. Don’t be afraid to take up their time, they are happy to see students who are eager to build those relationships.