Like Steve, I had the pleasure of living on the 4th (and best) floor of Birnkrant my freshman year of college (a year after Steve lived there). I got really lucky with the people that I lived with. It seemed like we all connected immediately. I was fortunate enough to get to live with a roommate I already knew. My friend Cynthia and I both went to middle school together, but I moved to a different city after the seventh grade. However, when we both realized we were going to USC, we thought it would be so fun to live together. I have to say, we were right. Living with Cynthia was perfect, because while I got the comfort of “knowing ” my roommate, barely seeing her in years gave me the chance to re-get to know her, creating the excitement of living with a new person. However, most of the people on our floor were randomly matched, and most the roommate dynamics seemed to work out really well! Cynthia and I were eager to make new friends, and early in the year we made sure to get to know everyone on our floor. Birnkrant was a great place to facilitate meeting people. As Steve stated, the building’s motto was “8 floors of open doors.” As such, one way or another, I came to know or at least recognize most of the people in the entire building.
By the first week of school, I had already made friends with everyone on BK4. Since school wasn’t quite so demanding at the beginning of the year, we all spent a lot of time hanging out, watching movies, and just talking in people’s rooms. I realized many on my floor were lacking in the pop culture department, so I saw watching movies with them as a cultural education:) I knew that I was ridiculously lucky with my living situation when my whole floor, including my RA, serenaded me for my birthday at midnight, only one week after the start of classes. The next day, on my actual birthday, me and the girls on my floor decided to go clubbing in Hollywood. I couldn’t believe that in merely one week, I was close enough with the people I had randomly been thrown together in a living situation with to have them surprise me/spend my birthday with. When school picked up, I got to spend less and less time on my floor, because I was busy studying or doing work with other people in other dorms. However,
fun building programs/trips always provided me a way to check in with everyone on my floor. Our RA organized fun trips to local restaurants, sporting events, etc. Additionally, I always had brunch with friends on my floor every Saturday and Sunday, and for gamedays, many of us even sat together. I currently share a 4 person apartment with 2 additional BK4 ers, so I get to see them everyday (one of them is actually in Japan studying abroad right now), and on the floor above me is 4 more BK 4ers. While I see plenty of my other BK4 friends around a lot, I have to say we suck at planning “reunions.” We have been trying for months… I’m sure we will get it together soon though, and all reunite for more than a hello and quick conversation in passing.
To reiterate a little bit about Birnkrant’s structure, it’s an 8 floor building consisting of tradtional, dorm-style hallways. Each floor is co-ed, with one
side of girls and one side of guys. Each gender has its own community bathroom (2 per floor), and each floor has its own “fishbowl ( a study room)”, and a washer/dryer unit. There were 4 triple-style dorm rooms on my floor, while the rest were doubles. On the 8th floor there are a couple of singles available as well. A big plus is that the building is located steps away from Leavey Library, which is open 24/7. On the ground floor of the building is the coffee shop Trojan Grounds (TroGro), which is also open 24/7. I have a lot of good memories of making snack runs to TroGro for that extra energy to power through late nights on weekdays, or stopping in late at night on weekends when we would all stay up doing fun things and everything else was closed:) These things coupled with the fact that Birnkrant is steps away from McCarthy Quad, home to every great USC activity ever (Springfest, Conquest, LA times festival of books Children’s stage, random fashion shows, Welcome Back Concert etc.) make its location unbeatable.
My first year of college wouldn’t have been the same without living in an amazing dorm. It’s crazy how close and family-like 40 strangers become to you so quickly. I was lucky because I made a lot of friends in my classes too, who happened to all mostly live in the Parkside IRC dorm. Since I spent so much time studying/hanging out over there, I got very close with a lot of people in that building as well. In fact, they are some of my best friends now. Many people in IRC were so used to me being there, that they assumed I lived there too. A lot of them forget I actually lived in Birnkrant freshman year, and not with them in IRC:)
No matter what dorm you end up in, get excited for an amazing experience and get ready to meet some people who are going to change your life!