A Special Diary Entry
*Si quieren traducción al español haganmelo saber. Gracias!
Now that all is done, now that I can proudly say “Yeah, I got my bachelor’s at USC,” now that my final finals are done and the dust has settled down, I’d like to take a moment to share with you a retrospective account of my trek through my first four years of college (yup, there will probably be more).
Five years ago I got a package in the mail, the letter I’d been waiting for, the last one to arrive. I got into my dream school, that letter actually said I had been admitted to USC. I was ecstatic. Out of the four schools I got in to, USC seemed the most eager to have me (now I realize they were the most eager to have my money). I went to visit the campus with my parents one day and absolutely loved it. I got my first USC sweatshirt and decided, that day, to send in my confirmation and $300 confirmation payment.
That first year of college was awesome. I lived on the Latino Floors and met some incredible people. I had a blast. My second year, however, everything started to go downhill. My roommate and I had some problems and I somehow ended up with an amazing studio all to myself and no friends. I began to flake a little in class and to think about dropping out and moving to Mexico. But I stuck through it. Junior year is a blur. Somehow I managed to get my GE’s done with, but by the end of spring semester I had almost completely stopped going to class. I was so depressed. I hated everything about USC. I hated the people, the classes, I hated my major, I hated myself for hating everything. I had pretty much given up all hope when my sister said to me one evening at a concert “Just go to Mexico!” So I took her advice and decided sometime that spring to take a leave of absence and move to Mexico for a year. Oh, what an ordeal! My dad didn’t talk to me for months and I’m sure many thought I was never coming back. Let me make one thing clear: after four years of sleepless nights trying to get into this school and three more years struggling through my college classes, I was not about to just give up and drop out of USC – I’m not stupid. And so I left.
I have to say, the very best part about my college experience was the year I was on sabbatical. I feel like I learned so much more during that one year than I did during the other four. I learned to appreciate my life, I learned to socialize, I stopped being that awfully awkward fatty and took care of myself inside and out. It was refreshing to be in a totally different environment with completely different people and to actually be enjoying myself and my youth. I was a bit apprehensive at first, of course. I was terrified of realizing that I didn’t like Mexico as much as I thought I did. But I did. Boy, did I.
Anyway, my leave of absence came to an end and I returned to finish the 7 classes I had left. Believe me, had I not taken that year off and gone to Mexico, I would have never, never been able to get through those last 7 classes. My GPA went up, I felt so much better than I ever had. I didn’t hate everybody anymore (although I do hate school in general, I always will). I had the best year of college since my freshman year. Mostly because I reminded myself every day that it was my last year of college and that gave me some relief.
Do I have any regrets? Besides having spent all my parents’ money on a silly little French degree? Yeah. I wish I had not started as a business major, what a waste of time! I wish I had just been a French major from the start and tacked on an Italian major or minor. I even sort of wish I had just listened to my initial instinct and moved to Mexico for college. That would’ve saved me so much money (and I would’ve learned about as much as I have at USC). But, well, I’m sort of glad I did end up at USC. It does carry some prestige. I did take some interesting classes I couldn’t have taken elsewhere. I did meet some pretty cool people and got to experience some pretty awesome stuff that could only be experienced at crazy, wealthy, So-Cal USC.
I guess in retrospect, I should be glad to have had a college experience unlike most others. I’ve been through a lot, internally, and I somehow managed to get my degree. I don’t think it’s worth much, honestly. I think my degree was a colossal waste of money. I hate that I’ll be living for at least the next ten years solely for the purpose of repaying my student loans. I absolutely hate that I’m still tied to LA because I can’t make the type of money required for such a feat anywhere where I’d actually want to be. But, everything happens for a reason. I suppose something is in store for me. I haven’t done much with my life yet, so maybe the best is yet to come? I certainly hope so. My life is up for grabs and that, at least, comforts me. School’s done. Whatever’s next is bound to surprise me.
There is so much more that I would like to say, but this account is too long already and my blog wasn’t fashioned for storytelling. So I leave you with one final thought. If there’s one thing I learned from my college experience it’s this: you have to follow what calls to you. We have one life to live. Why spend the best years of our lives (physically and psychologically speaking) doing something we’re not passionate about? Money comes and goes and comes right back again, but the opportunities to do what you love and be with whom you want to be do not. Do what you know is best for you, because in the end, it’s only you who matters in your life. You and your well-being.
Thank you for reading. Much love, and fight on.
The title picture and the one above are of my favorite spot at USC.
La foto principal y ésta foto son de mi lugar favorito de USC.
The above 3 photos are of me trying to be a photographer (and failing miserably) at my favorite spot. All 3 taken by Carlos Alcalá.
En las 3 fotos de arriba se me puede observar tratando de disque ser fotógrafa. Las 3 me las tomó Carlos Alcalá.
This is a curious one. Four years later and I have the same exact idea. Oh, how original I am.
Esta es un poco curiosa porque después de 4 años, se me ocurrió hacer lo mismo. Qué original soy (sarcasmo). jaja
Dr. Alcalá himself, ready for some coffee at Coffee Bean (ew!).
El mismísimo Dr. Alcalá, esperando su café en Coffee Bean (iak!).
p.d. gracias por el café, Carlos! =D
Another pic by Carlos. When I was a student at USC. Oh, dear!
Otra foto tomada por Carlos, de cuando era estudiante en USC. Oh, por Dios!
My favorite thing about USC is our mascot, Traveller. He's gorgeous.
(these 2 photos actually taken by me)
Mi cosa favorita de USC es nuestra mascota, Traveller. Es HERMOSO!
(éstas fotos sí las tomé yo)
I do apologize for this photo, but it was a must. The finger fountain is another thing I actually like about USC, or find amusing at any rate. It's called the finger fountain because it resembles of a hand doing the above obscene gesture. Dedicated to our rivals across town. Fight On!
Pido disculpas por ésta foto, pero era necesaria. La finger fountain, o fuente del dedo, es otra cosa que me gusta de USC, o que al menos se me hace graciosa. Le llaman the finger fountain porque la fuente tiene la forma de una mano haciendo cierta señal obscena (ajem ajem). Dedicada a nuestros rivales del otro lado de la ciudad (UCLA). Fight On!
A very special thanks to Carlos for the lovely pictures he took of me.
Muchas gracias Carlos por las hermosas fotos que me tomaste!