As you will quickly learn, the life of a college student is not one filled with tons of money and luxury. Although I’m sure I’ll get a great paying job after I graduate, in the mean time I have to spend money wisely. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite free things to do on and off campus as well as some of the amazing free resources that USC provides.
LA Downtown Art Walk – Every 2nd Thursday of the month, hundreds of local artists, photographers, restaurants, bars and shops, and businesses set up shop in downtown LA to exhibit their work. Located less than 10 minutes away from SC, the Art Walk is an awesome free event that all USC students should experience.
School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) Events – A little gem that a lot of students outside of the film school do not know of or take advantage of is SCA Events. You can either view their upcoming events online or just sign up for the emailing list. The School of Cinematic Arts offers a ton of cool, free events. I’ve personally attended several screenings of movies that had not yet been released in theaters (21 Jump Street, Act of Valor, The Social Network…) as well as talks by famous directors (James Cameron is coming this fall!) and actors/actresses.
Viterbi Career Services (VCS) – While free events and entertainment are awesome, having some free, incredibly helpful academic resources is also crucial. Viterbi Career Services offers a ton of help to its engineering students. With lots of workshops covering topics such as resumes and networking, and career advising to help you figure out what you want to do with your life, VCS has given me more than I could have ever imagined. The Career Toolbox also posts new internship/job opportunities with top companies, making it easy for us lazy students to apply.
Little Tokyo – A great place to grab some food or just meander around with some friends, Little Tokyo has a lot to offer a student on a budget. This cool little town has some great sushi places, mochi ice cream, and a really awesome bookstore. Definitely head downtown for this one.
USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study – A criminally unheard of and unappreciated program at USC is the Academy for Polymathic Study. What is polymath you ask? In a nutshell, polymath is integrated interdisciplinary learning. The academy holds discussions over a wide range of topics, such as law, business, engineering, and genocide, focusing on critical and integrative thinking, study of the great polymaths, tapestry, and communication. Some of my most intellectually stimulating moments have come from discussions held by the Academy for Polymathic Study
Griffith Observatory – A little ways from USC sits one of my favorite LA destinations. Whether you’re going for a day trip or night visit, the Griffith Observatory never disappoints. They hold various astronomy events, but I also enjoy going to peruse the quasi-museum, grab a coffee, and catch the sunset.
LA Times Festival of Books – The last two years (and the upcoming two years) the LA Festival of Books has been held on campus in the spring. I’ve gone both times and have absolutely loved it. Besides being able to buy some great books and grab some free SWAG, the festival also brings in some of the best authors as well as celebrities who love reading (Sugar Ray Leonard, John Cusack, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Jamie Lee Curtis…).