As the school year is rounding the corner, I want to share my top three takeaways from my first year of grad school. These are applicable to both first-years and second-years, MPAs, MPPs, MNLMs (heck, maybe even undergrads). These takeaways are:
Don’t underestimate the Trojan Network
When you come to Admit Day or Orientation (or not), the administration and student ambassadors stress that the most valuable part of your graduate experience at USC Price is the Trojan Network—and they’re not lying….
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Now is the time of year that college decisions are being released and prospective high school seniors are contemplating and debating their choices. Choosing the right college will be a huge struggle in the coming weeks as the May 1st deadline slowly creeps up and up. I would like to just give a perspective on my decision on why I chose USC and the Price School as I applied and debated my decisions.
I was ecstatic when I received my USC acceptance letter electronically. Though USC will send out a paper copy to your mailing address, at the time, I was in transit in Hong Kong on my way to Malaysia. I screamed and cheered in the bustling airport, repeatedly telling my parents that I have been accepted to USC. At the time, I never really figured out why I was so ecstatic. Sure, I supported USC football for the past 10 years but that was it in terms of my involvement and support for USC. It seemed like I had an innate desire, appreciation for USC and after 2 months here at USC, I have already been calling USC “home.” Now, I will be sidetracking if I started talking about all the excitement and opportunities that I have had at USC and instead will leave that story for a post later this week…..
The number of ways to become involved with USC was one of the main reasons why I chose to attend Price as an urban planning graduate student. Attending the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy admit day allowed me to learn about the different student organizations and communities that were open to incoming students. It was there that I learned about the student organization Associated Students of Planning and Development (ASPD), and I knew right away that I wanted to join as a member.
ASPD acts as one of the main urban planning graduate student associations at USC and puts on a number of events throughout the school year….
At the beginning of February, I had the fortunate opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to learn more about health policy for the upcoming year. First of its kind, the USC DC Health Policy Forum was initiated to expand students’ knowledge of health policy making (or lack thereof, given the current political environment) and to appreciate the intricacies—trade groups, academics, congressional committees, executive branch, etc—of passing health reform. While the forum was primarily targeted to EMHAs and alumni, being the one of two current MHA students did not hold me back.
The day and a half seminar was filled with diverse, experienced speakers. Some of the institutions represented were the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Academy of Medicine, Federation of American Hospitals, and the American Medical Association, among others….
Despite what many of my friends from my time as an undergraduate at UCLA have dubbed “crossing over to the dark side,” attending USC for graduate school is one of the best choices I’ve ever made. In just one semester, I’ve met some of the kindest, most amazing people I could imagine, started an internship that has already proven to be incredibly valuable, and completely altered and inspired my perspective on urban planning. Any and all apprehension I once had regarding my decision to come to Price to complete my Master of Planning degree has been entirely replaced by pride in my school and optimism for what is to come……
In between balancing two-part time jobs, getting involved in student organizations, and of course, football season—my first semester of grad school was more than I had bargained for. But nonetheless, the best decision I’ve made at this point in my career.
Prior coming into grad school I was concerned with not only how will I get involved at the Price School, but how can I also participate in the greater USC community. This led me to an opportunity through the Alternative Break (AB) program at the Center for Service Programs (under Campus Activities). This is a unique opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to engage in service learning and volunteerism in communities outside of the Los Angeles area…..
One semester into my Master of Public Policy at USC and I’ve become accustomed to the question: “But what are you going to do with an MPP?” The confusion is understandable – unlike someone studying engineering or physical therapy, I’m not going to be a public policy.
Personally, I chose MPP because I am interested in using the quantitative skills gained through my courses in statistics and economics to evaluate new, innovative solutions to social problems. I’ll most likely find myself working at a nonprofit or foundation, helping them strategically invest their limited resources. I plan to get a certificate from the highly ranked Marshall School of Business, at no extra cost to me, to further round out my resume….
When I first came to US last year, everything was new and fresh to me. I was very nervous about my life at USC. Could I get along well with my new friends? Could I adapt quickly to American higher education? One of my American friends told me, “just be brave and take opportunities. You’ll be fine.” Throughout my first year in USC I kept thinking positively and tried new things to learn about myself and explore US. I value my experience here and want to share it with prospective graduate students….
Posted in Graduate, Master of Public Administration | Tagged adjusting, advice, career services, China, class, Classes, international lab, involvement, los angeles, Mentor Program, mentor/mentee program, networking, opportunity, professional development, professors, Sol Price, trojan family, USC Football
Win or lose, football is always a highlight of my fall semester. There are many different opportunities for students to get involved in game day, whether it be tailgating, sitting in the student section, traveling to away games, or watching from the field. Here is a look at some of my highlights of the 2015 football season.
Season Opener: Arkansas State and Idaho
There is no better way to start off football season than with three consecutive home games, which is exactly how the 2015 season started at USC. For these games I was a member of Traveler Crew, the group that clears the field for our beloved mascot Traveler to run after every touchdown run. This gave me an all access field pass and an incredible perspective on USC football. I watched the players run through the tunnel at the start of the game, and I watched beloved defensive back, Su’a Cravens, catch an interception 5 feet away from me… Continue reading
Because Los Angeles is such a large city, it has the ability to offer endless opportunities and experiences for its residents and visitors alike. From its sunny beaches to its world-class museums and art galleries, there is always something new to see and do! I’ve since come to discover a few unique characteristics about LA that I love, which have made me realize that I never want to leave this city….