Ironically, before going through the college application process, I thought I had ruled out a couple locations around the country that I just didn’t think I’d go to university at. One of those locations was Los Angeles. Growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, all my life, I knew I wanted to go to school away from my home state and Southern California, as beautiful and exciting as it is, just wasn’t far enough away for me to feel like I was somewhere new. Well, if it wasn’t obvious by the fact that I’m now in Viterbi, my idea of what I wanted before fall of my senior year in high school was way off. Yes, New York City or Seattle or Chicago would also have been an amazing experience full of many adventures I’m sure, but I can honestly say, as cheesy as it sounds, I can’t imagine studying anywhere else.

Contrary to popular belief, not every night as a computer science student is spent huddled over my computer in the dark as I code for hours on end. There are certainly late nights and some evenings spent wrapped up on my bed in blankets trying to debug the same problem for several hours, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not able to explore the city I get to call home for the next four years.  Because I’m feeling nostalgic for my memories of LA and love a good organized list, here are some little moments of LA adventures in no particular order.

  • Sitting on the lawn outside Griffith Observatory with a group of my USC Younglife friends as we watch the sun set on the Hollywood sign and watercolor.
  • Celebrating the last day of classes with a friend by zooming off to some thrift stores where I bought the five pieces of clothing I now don’t go a week without wearing 
  • Jumping on the metro to Santa Monica to grab some solid pizza and soak in a beautiful ocean sunset
  • On the topic of Italian food, getting served endless garlic knots at my favorite Italian restaurant ~ever~ in Venice Beach
  • I would like to emphasize the last point- endless. garlic. knots.
  • Laughing uncontrollably with some pals as we ice skated at LA live, trying not to run into any small children as we wobbled on our skates
  • Ocean swimming with my triathlete friend and just floating around in my overly buoyant wetsuit
  • Seeing a show at the Hollywood Bowl with my mom as we ate our Trader Joe’s charcuterie dinner
  • Wandering the Getty for hours and enjoying the overlook of the city
  • Throwing up a fight-on sign on the campus of the “school across town” while visiting my brother and exploring the food and shopping around him
  • Disneyland! Getting to run around Disney with my friends from when the park opened to when it closed, and also being able to go back again with my sorority sisters.

Though I only had about six months being able to live in LA, they did not disappoint and thinking about them during the tough moments of the last year have really made me smile. If there is any point to take from this other than just my ramblings, it’s to not count any classic college experiences or adventures out because you’re an engineering student. If my Viterbi experience can show you anything, you can study engineering AND have a ton of fun while doing it.

Gianna Beck

Gianna Beck

MAJOR: Computer Science/Business Administration YEAR: Class of 2023 HOMETOWN: Phoenix, Arizona PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @gianna__25 I'm involved with computer science research investigating affective gesturing in robots in the Interaction Lab along with being a member of the Society of Women Engineers. Outside of Viterbi, I'm a part of Greek Life, USC Surf Club, and the Student Alumni Society leadership board.

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