When I applied for housing freshman year, I didn’t get my first choice housing, but I ended up living in Marks Hall in the Southside area of campus. As the year went on I actually enjoyed living there, because it was a very small and close-knit community.
As I mentioned Marks Hall is in the Southside dorm area, next to Marks Tower, Pardee Tower, and Trojan Hall. It is also right across from Doheny Library and the Quad, and close to Leavey Library (the 24-hour library) and more freshman dorms, Birnkrant and New/North. Marks Hall is a co-ed dorm that is 3 stories high, with 2 floors of dorm rooms. The entire first floor consisted of lounge spaces, one social space with a pool table and TV, and one lounge for studying. The 2nd floor was the boys floor and the 3rd floor was the girls floor. In total there were about 100 freshman in the dorm, which made it the smallest dorm on campus. Each floor had its own RA (resident advisor) that coordinated dorm activities and field trips, and was a great resource for transitioning to college. When I lived there it was the honors dorm, which made it a quieter dorm, more selective, and not as constantly social as some of the other freshman dorms.
Like most freshman, I lived in a double with a randomly selected roommate. I got lucky and ended up with an awesome roommate, who is still one of my closest friends. I say that I was lucky, but USC is actually very good at matching up students for rooming assignments, and all of friends ended up with good roommates as well. I’d always had my own room at home, so I wasn’t sure what to expect living in a dorm, but it ended up being an awesome experience.
While Marks Hall wasn’t the most social dorm, some of my closest friends from freshman year are from my dorm, and when we weren’t doing homework we would either be enjoying the sun on the lawn in front of our dorm, exploring LA, going out to eat, or going to the beach. We also went on trips as a floor to the movies (we went to the Harry Potter premiere), LA restaurants, and we even took a trip to the Pantages Theater to see Spring Awakening. Because it was a quieter form, I could always find a nice space to study, and get a good night’s sleep. I also had many friends that lived in the other, more social dorms on campus, which gave me more of a social outlet.
Overall I really enjoyed my freshman dorm experience, because of the friends I made and the fun times we spent together. I am still really good friends with my dorm mates, and I actually live with one of the girls from my floor this year. The dorm experience really is what you make of it. Make sure to check out the other VSA’s blogs to learn about their freshman dorm experiences!