School Spotlight on University of South Carolina

Friday, August 24, 2012

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things…

University of South Carolina HorseshoeIt may sound very arbitrary, but I knew when I was applying to colleges that I wanted to go to a “big football” school. Of course a university with an exceptional journalism and communications program (my major) was the most important factor, but I have lived and breathed college football since before I could remember and I wanted to go to a school with a deep-rooted sports culture. One of my favorite things about the University of South Carolina was the football games.

At the University of South Carolina, most weekend plans revolve around game day. Even though it’s located in downtown Columbia, South Carolina’s state capital, the campus is eerily quiet when there’s a game going on. You can find most of the city packed into Williams-Brice Stadium or tailgating on the State Fairgrounds, cheering on their beloved Gamecocks. The atmosphere in the stadium is electrifying, and our student section is known as one of the most spirited. It’s a great student experience that I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

Of course if football isn’t your thing, there’s plenty more to do. I fell in love with USC not only because of the campus atmosphere, but also because of Columbia itself. With a growing arts scene and a revitalized Main Street, all it takes is few steps off campus to be transported into a small downtown bursting with culture. Take in a show at The Nickelodeon or spend a day kayaking down the Congaree River. Columbia is a short drive away from the beaches to the east and the mountains to the north.

With well over 20,000 students and 300 clubs and organizations on the Columbia campus, there’s something for everyone. I found my niche in the student media department, working for the campus newspaper, The Daily Gamecock, and the student produced magazine, the Garnet & Black. All of the students I worked with were fiercely creative and full amazing ideas to make our school and community better. I also found a great group of friends within the university’s Capstone Scholars program. For two years we worked, volunteered and studied together, taking designated Capstone courses and seminars as part of a first and second year honors program.

One of the greatest experiences I had at USC wasn’t even at USC at all; it was in Germany as part of a USC Study Abroad maymester. For one month, in May, 16 students and myself traveled to Germany as part of a multimedia class, telling various stories of the culture and people by creating videos, podcasts, blog posts and print publications. We worked and played with virtually complete freedom, forcing us into real world situations where we had to adapt and improvise our projects all the while navigating a foreign language. It was an amazing experience, and I got to eat all the German cheese my heart desired.

With football season approaching again, I do feel nostalgic about my game day experiences during my four years there. I miss the campus, city and the stadium, but hopefully I will be able to make a trip down south soon to toast “Forever to Thee” to my school once again.

Insider Tip: Study Abroad! The University of South Carolina has an excellent study abroad office that helps place students in the programs and schools that best fit their academics and interests. The university has exchange and partner programs with universities across Europe and Asia, making it easy to study abroad without the risk of credits not transferring. Many of my friends, and myself, had experiences to last a lifetime during our study abroad programs. Without my time in Germany with some amazing USC students and professors, I would never be able to say I played in the snow in the Alps and touched the Berlin Wall!


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