Thematic Option (TO), the honors GE alternative program, is often called Traumatic Option because it’s said to have more reading and writing assignments than the regular GE track. But is it really fair to call it Traumatic Option when all of the classes are super interesting and you get to go on cool trips (for free)?

A Performance of The Heal at the Getty Villa


As part of TO, I have gone on so many different trips, from spending a day at the Getty museum, to attending a performance at the Getty Villa, to seeing the Improvised Shakespeare Company. All of those things happened within the first semester of my freshman year, and they were just a few of the many TO-organized trips that year. TO has so many different events that sound so cool and that I know I would never end up going to on my own. Not only are the logistics made so much easier by going on trips to TO but also you get to meet a bunch of awesome individuals from a variety of different majors!

Black Panther Live in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl


This year, I have only been able to go to one TO event so far, but it was so unbelievably fun! A couple of weeks ago, the TO department took us to the Hollywood Bowl to see Black Panther live in concert. To be honest, when I first saw the event title and description in the TO email, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I signed up because I love the movie. When I got there, though, I realized that a live orchestra was performing the musical score of the movie as we watched it on a giant screen. I saw the main singer, Baba Maal, as well as the musicians and the creator of the composition, Ludwig Göransson. On top of that, I got to watch the full movie again in a much more immersive way than when I first saw it. Before this experience, I never thought too much about the musical score of a film—I always only thought about the plot, dialogue and the songs/soundtrack—but this event completely changed how I think about movies. 

On the bus back to USC, everyone I talked to was in awe of the performance (after all, it’s not everyday that you’re serenaded by a live orchestra while you’re watching a movie). It was an absolutely amazing experience, and I can’t wait for the next TO event!! While I wait, though, I’m going to work on lowering my standards because I’m not sure if I can go back to watching a normal movie after this.

Neha Yadav

Neha Yadav

MAJOR: Biomedical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2023 HOMETOWN: Benicia, California PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @nehaha.838 On campus, I'm a project manager for Engineers Without Borders, on the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering Executive Board, and a researcher at the USC Biomedical Microsystems Laboratory. I have some experience in entrepreneurship—I won the Min Family Social Entrepreneurship Challenge in 2020 and interned at two startups last summer. In my free time, I love reading, hiking, and road-tripping!