One of the biggest reasons why I absolutely did not want to come to USC was its proximity to Orange County. Like a lot of my peers, I wanted to get away from college, start my great life of independence right off the bat freshman year.

I was also reluctant to come to USC because a large percent of my high school commits to USC every year. I was worried that the combination of being close to home and going to school with a lot of my high school peers would make my college experience a plain, boring High School 2.0 sort of deal.

But everything changed when I came to USC for Explore as a prospective student. I fell in love with SC and decided to come here despite all my worries. So how did it turn out?

Well, I realized the most important factor to consider is that USC is a large school. There are enough students here that if I want to find a group of people who share a very specific or odd interest, chances are, I’ll find it. Every club or organization you join is just another opportunity to make another group of friends. The dorms and suites allow you to get to know the people you live with really well, and your classes are another great resource for finding people you can click with.

And for my fear of college turning into High School 2.0, it turns out, I actually like having a few familiar faces around. When everything was new and confusing the first few weeks of college, it felt good to run into people I know every once in awhile and have a quick catch-up conversation with them. Even now, that’s the extent of it—I run into someone from high school, we say hi, catch-up for a couple minutes if we can, and move on. Having a lot of my high school peers around just means that we have the option of hanging out with each other , but we’re not constantly forced to interact.

Going to college close to home can still be an exciting foray into independence if you want it to be, and I’ve personally never felt like being close to home has made my college experience any less unique or special.

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