University of South Carolina
BackgroundInterview Date:December 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Graduation Year: 2020
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: Private all-boys school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a graduating class of 210 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: Greek life
How has Greek life impacted your experience?
Only in a positive way. It gave me a good group of friends and something to do.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for English?
We pretty much read one book a week and then discuss it in class, along with reading quizzes every so often. Three or four times a semester we have a five-page paper, and at the end of the course you write a cumulative paper breaking down the semester.
Is there anything that you feel the English department does especially well or especially poorly?
It definitely encourages group discussion as much as possible. This is great for an English major because it allows you to bounce around ideas, which is a good way to encapsulate a book’s meaning.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s definitely collaborative. It’s not about seeing who can write the best paper. It’s more so about sharing our ideas to synthesize the main point.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
The American Analysis Since 1914. I love contemporary books.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
British Literature. It was mainly poetry which is not for me.
How accessible have your professors been?
They are always willing to talk and have added extra office hours as need be.
Why did you choose your major? And are you happy with your choice?
Freshman year I was in the business school but absolutely hated it. I didn’t go to class because I didn’t enjoy what the teacher was talking about. I realized I had to get my act together and go with a major that I liked, so I switched to be an English major. I want to go to law school, so it’s more conducive to my environment anyway. I figured I might as well love what I’m learning the next four years.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: McBryde Hall with one roommate
Sophomore: Fraternity house with multiple roommates
Junior: Off-campus house with two roommates
What was your favorite living situation?
The fraternity house.
How was transitioning from your hometown in Philadelphia to Columbia, South Carolina?
The biggest thing is coming from a big Northern city to a small Southern city, where things now operate slower. It’s a cultural change but didn’t take that long to get acclimated to it.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on campus?
The campus is super safe.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The River Walk. There is a cool scenic nice river that comes through Columbia.
Pros and cons of being located in Columbia, South Carolina?
1) Everything is centralized on campus.
2) The city is split between the college kids and people living in the real world.
1) The roads and traffic patterns aren’t that good so getting to class can be a hassle.
2) The train running through campus can make you late for class.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
It’s a big bar school. [There are places people will go every night of the week.] During football season, we tailgate on Saturdays. As you get older, you realize where you want to go and what lines are worth waiting in.
What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
You can catch a Columbia Fireflies game in the spring. They are a minor-league baseball team.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
Greek life is pretty big, but club sports also have a pretty big impact. My fraternity will do things with the club sports teams. Even if you aren’t in either of these, you can go to the bars. Sometimes fraternities will rent out a bar which could leave the independent kids looking for somewhere to go. We have a fraternity house, but the school owns it so we can’t have parties in there.
How happy are you with the nightlife at USC? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I love it, but South Carolina is accepting more students so the bars are getting more crowded, and lines are getting longer. When you turn 21 people start going to the nicer bars where things seem to level out.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through Greek life.
What have been your favorite times at college?
South Carolina made the Final Four [in men’s basketball] my freshman year, so all of March was crazy. We had the Final Four run, and St. Patrick’s Day.
How would you describe the overall social scene at USC?
It’s fun. People mainly go out to the bars.
How would you describe the student body?
There are a lot of Northern kids. There is also a good amount of Southern kids, so you get the best of both worlds. [41% of students are from out-of-state.]
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
All races mix together, but I don’t know how sexual orientation lies within Greek life.
Do people generally seem happy with their college choice by senior year? Do people “love” your school?
Everyone loves it here. I could be biased, but I don’t hear bad things about this place.
How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
I like the bigger school because I meet new people all the time. I think it’s cool how there are kids from all over the planet. [In the 2018-2019 academic year, the undergraduate population is 26,362.]
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Not yet, I haven’t reached out the alumni network. I’m looking for opportunities in Philadelphia, as opposed to the Columbia area.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I used it freshman year to help make my resume.
Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that have been or will be especially helpful professionally?
In the business school, there is a Management Science class that teaches you the ins and outs of Excel.
Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs? Were they responsive to your questions?
They help us out a lot. I’m going abroad next semester, so my financial aid will also cover this. Going abroad is very prominent because USC will offer you in-state tuition that semester to go abroad. The whole junior class typically goes abroad their second-semester. [91% of freshman receive some form of financial aid, and in the 2017-2018 academic year 1,742 students studied abroad.]
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about USC before you entered as a freshman?
I would not have lived in my freshman dorm. It was all boys so it smelt, was dirty, and was just overall not a good place. I did not pick the housing because it was randomly assigned to me.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The Five Points area and where the bars are. They are all centralized in the downtown area, but the tour won’t mention this at all.
What is something should know that has not been mentioned?
Everyone makes South Carolina out to be this huge SEC school that’s into college football, but there are a ton of different kids here. People are from all over the place doing different things and going with the flow. I’d say it’s a pretty laid back environment.
Reason to attend USC?
1) The best tailgates in the country.
2) You can find something to do every night of the week.
3) Greek village is gorgeous.
4) The gym is state of the art.
Reason to not attend USC?
1) The trains are terrible.
2) If you aren’t getting financial aid it might not be worth it to pay full price. [Tuition for South Carolina residents is $24,462.]
3) It gets really hot and muggy in August.