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    Alumnus Profile- Courtney Lee


    Posts : 166
    Join date : 2009-09-01

    Alumnus Profile- Courtney Lee Empty Alumnus Profile- Courtney Lee

    Post  lenakalemkiarian on Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:49 am

    People say it all the time, “Oh, it’s the University of SPOILED Children!”—did I make it clear that an obnoxious degree of emphasis is placed upon the “SPOILED”? As irritating and monotonous as it gets, I honestly cannot deny that this is a true fact. More often than not, chances are that at least a handful of students in your class are Orange County natives who also happen to be the heirs to multi-million dollar businesses. I know, I know, you’re thinking “Ugh, gag me”—right? But before you say a word, please don’t rule them out of the “good, nice, down-to-earth people” group. During my first semester at the University of Southern California, I have definitely come across the snobby girls that don themselves in Dolce & Gabbana, Coco Chanel, Gucci, etc. and the boys whose necks haven’t parted with a popped lacoste polo collar for a good decade or so. But I have also come across and befriended many who, despite their wealth, are down-to-earth, beyond genuine, and truly friend-worthy. The point that I am getting at is that every college you go to is bound to have spoiled, rich, brats—not just USC, and that not all monetarily privileged individuals are Cruella Devils. These past few months the importance of getting to know new people past the superficial level, exploring your surroundings, pursuing the unique array of opportunities that only the University of Southern California can offer, and above all, that I didn’t need to go 3000 miles away to learn how to grow as an independent individual.

    It became a little joke during the first week of school between many of the USC freshman from Arcadia High School that it was freakishly uncanny how many non-Asian students we were surrounded by. We were, for once, no longer the majority! Something so minute as a more diverse student body may seem trivial, but it pushed me out of a comfort zone in an interesting way that only marked the beginning of my new challenges ahead.

    Having fallen in love with U.S. History at Arcadia Highschool (thanks to Mr. Wang!), I chose to take Film Power and American History for my first General Education course, which turned out to be one of my toughest yet most interesting/fun class. On the very first day, my professor bluntly stated that this was not going to be the class where you can get an easy A. “In fact,” he continued, “you’re going to have to work your ass off to get an A.” Yup, that’s right, my professor said the word “ass.” Haha, you’ll find a few professors here and there that are just as endearingly colloquial. He gave students about a week to drop out of the class after reading the syllabus and experiencing a few days to see if it was too difficult for them; some saw it as a blessing, some saw it as a logical necessity, but others, like myself, saw it as a sign of a challenge. And challenged I was, from that very first week of grace until the gritty end of the semester by a man who knew his stuff and wasn’t afraid to share it. He clearly articulated that the goal of his class was to teach us how to be critical thinkers and capable adults who formulated their own opinions so long as they were backed by evidence. College is a whole new ball game where the Social Darwinism theory definitely applies. But we’re from Arcadia, we can handle anything right?

    And boy is independence grand. Being smack dab in the middle Los Angeles, I have easy access to the Grove, the beach, the mountains, Koreatown, Chinatown, the Fashion District, HOME, etc. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS! Let me tell you something that I did that my mom feels was spurred by inconceivably irresponsible insanity, but that I feel was brought upon by impetuously responsible irresponsibility (and a ridiculously incessant craving for legitimate Chinese food). I ran from USC to Chinatown. Yes, 8 miles is a considerable distance to travel and dangerous neighborhood to be in without accompaniment. But my rationale for responsible irresponsibility is that I did it mid-morning/afternoon on a beautiful, sunny, Sunday! My mom just about died and couldn’t get over the fact that I was “alone, through the middle of downtown, by yourself!!!??” Patiently, I corrected her by saying that being “alone” and “by myself” was synonymous. But on that day of spontaneity, I experienced the flight of independence that you are supposed to experience while in college. I felt like a baby bird that was close but yet so far from home, so free and so vulnerable to my surroundings. I saw parts of L.A. that I had never seen before, ran in awe beside gorgeous architectural buildings, perused through Grand Central Market, the Jewelry District, pioneered the back-alleys of Chinatown, and, of course, polished off one full order of Hainan Chicken and one full plate of Seafood Chow Mein (which I got overcharged for but still paid without a battle because it was very good). See? No need to be 3000 miles away. Just being in the middle of a city, “by myself,” “alone,” and totally hungry for life (and food) brought me an experience that I will be sure to tell my children.

    The best way to describe how I feel everyday at school is that I am living Dead Poets Society—cheesy right? I know it is…but once you get to college, hopefully USC, you’ll see what I mean. O Captain, my Captain!!

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