I grew up in Palo Alto, California, most famous for Stanford University, being in the middle of Silicon Valley, and James Franco. I love my home and I wasn’t sure how L.A. would compare, but after being here for almost a year, I am positive that L.A. (and specifically USC) is the perfect place for me to go to college.
One of the things I loved about growing up in the Bay Area is that it felt special because people worked their butts off to live there. People knew the meaning of hard work and at USC I have found the same thing. The students at SC understand that to be successful, it takes an enormous amount of focus and dedication. In addition, a large amount of students are the first in their family to attend college, and with an acceptance rate of under 20%, at USC I am surrounded by students that had to work hard to get here.
Another thing I enjoyed at home was the sense that I was right in the middle of tech companies that were revolutionizing social media, banking, and healthcare to name a few industries. I had thought that Southern California was mainly known for entertainment but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Los Angeles is making a name for itself in the technology industry, making it an exciting place to live and work. Home to SnapChat, Buzzfeed, SpaceX and Tinder (founded by USC grads), Southern California is full of dreamers and innovators, allowing these companies to flourish. As one of the top research universities in the nation, USC is also changing the tech industry. In my Computer Science class we learned about (and were able to use) two robots that USC is in the process of creating: one to provide assistance to the elderly and one to teach kids about creating a healthy lifestyle. In addition, the Viterbi Student Institute of Innovation (VSI2) is an incredible resource that encourages students to push boundaries and provides classes, mentorship, and resources to help students create startups. After listening to a presentation by VSI2’s founder, Ashish Soni, I am definitely planning on getting more involved with that program in the fall.
USC and Los Angeles have all the exciting qualities that I love about the Bay Area, but L.A. takes the excitement to another level: the number of celebrities I have seen in person has tripled (and I high-fived USC alum and Palo Alto native, Dave Franco!), I watched USC beat Stanford in football, I actually went swimming in the Pacific Ocean (none of those freezing NorCal “beaches”), I went camping at Big Bear Lake, and I heard amazing speakers like Michele Norris (a voice of NPR) right here on campus. And just in case, it’s only an hour flight to Palo Alto if I start missing my cats.