This blog post is part of a series written by the Viterbi Student Ambassadors on our freshman dorm experiences. For more posts on this topic, check out Viterbi Voices.

Living in the dorms is truly an experience unique to college life and I loved every minute of it. My freshman year I lived in the southwest corner of campus in Parkside Arts & Humanities, the newest dorm on campus. Parkside is suite style, meaning that there are 8 people who share 4 rooms (two people in each room) and two bathrooms. Each suite is either all girls or all guys, but there are both girls’ and guys’ suites on each hall. That means that you have your privacy, but you also get to know a lot of different kinds of people. Parkside was typically a lot quieter than some of the other dorms on campus, meaning that I could study in my room and didn’t have to go to the library. Parkside was also really new and clean – when some of my friends came to visit they thought I lived in a hotel!

Pictures from my freshman dorm room

I really enjoyed all the fun things there are to do on campus. Freshman year I didn’t have a car, but it didn’t matter. There are always fun concerts, movie screenings, speakers, and other events on campus. Bonus: they often include free food!

Trojan Marching Band performing in the quad during welcome week

If you’re deciding where to live, try to talk to some different people who lived in the various dorms you’re considering. I really liked living in Parkside, but I know I probably would have been happy anywhere. Living on campus is just a great experience that you should definitely take advantage of!


  • Tom Lee says:

    Hi Kristen, my name is Tom Lee, an admitted freshman. I recently got assigned to arts and humanities and I want to know true portrayal of what is really like. According to the brochure, Parkside is designed for artists and musicians. Is that a true statement? Also does parkside usually host studious and socially introverted kids. If this is true, i want to make some adjustments. Thank you so much for reading my email and I sincerely appreciate your time and effort to respond back to me. thank you!

  • kristen says:

    Tom, congrats on your decision to attend USC! Having graduated yesterday, I must admit I’m a little envious of everyone who is just starting their four years as a student here. To answer your question — the idea behind arts and humanities is that it is supposed to foster an environment for people who appreciate the arts and humanities. By no means does that mean that everyone there is an artist or musician. Essentially, the arts and humanities theme translates into special programming for the dorm. When I lived there, there was a weekly dinner where you could go and hear a speaker from industries like film, illustration, philosophy, etc. For example, one time we had a writer from South Park come and speak. Other than those kinds of special events, Parkside operates in much the same way as a regular dorm.

    As for what type of people live in Parkside, it’s difficult to say. Pretty much everyone who has lived there is moving out and the people moving in will be a new set of residents who could fall anywhere on the spectrum of introverted to extroverted. One thing I will say is that the suite style tends to be more conducive to a quieter floor, although this is a generalization. With a typical dorm-style set up, you only have to go through one door to meet someone new. With a suite, you have a suite door and a room door — which means you have to be a little more proactive about meeting people, because if someone is working in their room, you won’t see them by just walking down the hallway.

    Whether you decide to put in for a reassignment or give Parkside a try, I hope you really enjoy your freshman year. Make it a point to always try to meet new people, even once you’ve settled in and found a solid group of friends. Freshman year is a great chance to try new things, meet different types of people, and step outside of your comfort zone. You’re in for a great four years. Good luck and fight on!