December 2, 2016
Student Highlight: Student Athlete, Gussie Johns
This month for student highlight we are hearing from a student athlete, Gussie Johns. Gussie is from Washington, DC. She is a junior at USC majoring in Business with a focus in Entrepreneurial Business and considering a minor in Sports Media. She spends a lot of her time with her involvement in the USC Women’s Lacrosse Team but loves spending her free time going to the beach and spending time with her teammates. We hope that you enjoy hearing more about Gussie’s experience as a student athlete at USC.
I want to start out by telling you how I got to USC. When the recruiting process started for lacrosse, my parents told me to make a list of the characteristics that I wanted in a school. Then, they told me to take the list of schools that I was considering and rate each one based on this criteria. They asked me to do this so that I would consider everything and anything about each school, from the weather to the academics. I always found, especially with my other friends getting recruited, that people considered only a few factors when deciding where to go, most of which revolved solely around athletics. However, someone once described a situation to me in which I would get a career-ending injury and could no longer play lacrosse and would have to continue my college experience as a regular student. This made me realize that first and foremost, I needed to pick a school that I loved because of the academic programs, the social environment, the opportunities that it would offer me later in life and so many other factors that had nothing to do with lacrosse at all. At the end of the day, I realized that I would be a student first and that the athletics were simply a bonus. Even though lacrosse would shape much of my college experience, it would be secondary to my education.
After making my list and rating each school, I began the process of visiting each one. Coincidentally, USC was the first trip. I hate to sound cliché when I say this, but as soon as I stepped on campus, that Saturday morning, before the first home football game of the season, I simply fell in love with it. I had this gut feeling that told me, this is where I would be spending my college years. It was the electrifying energy and sense of camaraderie that immediately had me hooked. As I continued my tour around campus and spoke to many Trojans, I began to realize what a truly special place USC was. The so-called Trojan Family that many people spoke of was real and it was incredible. Even though I only got a glimpse of it that day, I could already tell the immense impact and reach that this community could have.
Fast forward almost four years later, and I am now reaping all of the benefits that I got a peek of on that first visit to campus. I ended up declaring as a business major upon applying to USC and that was one of the best decisions that I made. Not only did it allow me to begin my major classes right away, but it also allowed me to concentrate on settling into the lacrosse world and begin the balance of being a student athlete. Regardless of what class I have been in, every single professor that I have had during my time here has been engaging, thought provoking, and has truly made me learn in new ways. It has been a constant challenge to balance the rigorous academics with the equally demanding athletics, but in the same light rewarding nonetheless.
While most of my social experiences revolve around lacrosse and athletics, the welcoming environment here is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Whether in one of my classes or just walking around campus, people are truly hospitable and friendly. Similarly, the individuals on this campus, from those in the academic world to those in the athletic department, are always willing to help out and lend a hand. The small glimpses of the Trojan Family that I observed all that time ago are even more special than I originally thought. It is something that is hard to even describe or put into words, for someone who has never experienced it, but the overall sense of being a part of something larger, that connects us in so many unexpected ways and reaps benefits that you never could have dreamed of, is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.
It was a combination of academics, opportunities and athletics that brought me to USC, however, it has been the people and the unique experiences that I have been able to have here, both as a student and as an athlete, that have made this such an amazing experience so far. USC is a place where I have been able to see my lifetime goals of becoming a college athlete and an entrepreneur come to fruition. It is place that breeds success and pushes you to be the best you possibly can be. I have learned so many lessons during my time here, and among them and possibly the most important of all, is to always Fight On!”