Between Leavey Library and EVK dining hall, Birnkrant Residential College stands eight stories tall. I first visited Birnkrant (or “BK,” as I have learned to love it) when I had visited USC for the first time as an admitted student, just six months before moving in. Birnkrant is the residential college that houses the university honors college – merit scholars from across the globe of all majors, minors, and interests create its community.

On the days I was on campus as an Explore student, I stayed on the eighth floor and was in awe of the views of Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign my host had from her window. I quickly was introduced something Birnkrant is more well known for: the community that makes it truly unique. Though I was just one student of many who was staying on the floor overnight, my host’s floor mates reached out to me and willingly answered my (many) questions (and follow-ups) about student life, engineering, classes, organizations, and more. Everyone was eager to mention how much they loved living with a tightly-knit community of. For me, that solidified something I was pretty confident in already – I was sure that I wanted to come to USC, and that I wanted to spend my freshman year living in BK.

Last August, I moved onto the sixth floor of Birnkrant (BK6), but little did I know what that community that I was able to get a taste of back in February would come to mean to me. My fellow BK6ers are easily some of the most talented individuals I have met, from being tri- and tetra-lingual, gifted speakers, exceptional singers, experienced travelers, and on top of having interests in areas including sports and technology, are still able to balance their schoolwork, their social lives, and their involvements in multiple organizations.

Every day as I walked in and out of the building, I got the sense of the “work hard, play hard” mentality my fellow residents really embodied. I would find students studying in the multi-purpose room into the early hours of the morning, students having spontaneous jam sessions in the music room, and friends catching up in the lobby. I’ve gotten to form close friendships with some people I’d never otherwise be able to know here, and my Birnkrant experience has played a huge hand in shaping my first year here. The hours I’ve spent with my floormates at football games, in the multi-purpose room studying, and in the floor fishbowl late at night just catching up with each other have created my favorite memories from freshman year.

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