Transfer Talk Tuesdays are a series of personal blogs where current USC transfer students dive deeper into their real-life stories, perspectives, and experiences in transferring to USC. Note that each transfer application is unique and there are no guaranteed paths to transfer. For guidance on how to put together a competitive transfer application, please review our Transferring to USC brochure.
Hi everyone! My name is Savanna Fakhoury, and I am a current junior studying Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. I was born and raised in Southern California, and I come from a very large and fun Jordanian and Syrian family. I enjoy traveling, spending time with family and friends, going to the beach, reading, listening to podcasts, baking, going to concerts, and watching reality TV. I hope to one day become a physician and work in underserved populations, specifically within displaced refugee groups. My journey to USC was quite an interesting one, and I am excited to share a bit about my experience and what I have learned so far.
I went to an all-girls Catholic high school and was a part of the choir group at school. Our choir group was invited to perform at USC’s Caruso Catholic Center – my first-time setting foot on what I had not known would become my home. I remember telling myself not to get too attached to the school because I did not think USC would be an option for me. That was my first expectation that was far from reality. Little did I know, I was offered an opportunity to apply to transfer to USC for my sophomore year. Although I knew for quite some time USC was for me, I was worried about not assimilating into the school well. So many questions were at the forefront of my mind. I did not know what to expect, but as I have been here for a few years now, I thought I would share some things I learned along the way.
Expectation #1: “It’ll be hard to meet people and form connections, especially due to the pandemic”
Reality: This is SO not true. USC has more than 1,000 student organizations and so many opportunities to find people and organizations you mesh well with. I found my home in many different places: Keck Student Ambassadors, the American Medical Women’s Association, through my research on prostate cancer at the Keck School of Medicine, and with my fellow ambassadors at the Office of Undergraduate Admission. College is what you make of it. Put yourself out there, and wonderful experiences and people will come your way.
Expectation #2: “USC is a big school, will I get swallowed in the crowd?”
Reality: No! Professors and the university really foster a welcoming environment and give many opportunities for us students to make connections. Class sizes are smaller, and our personal educational experience is of great importance to USC.
Expectation #3: “It’s tough finding people who have similar interests and goals.”
Reality: Not at all! USC aims to have a very diverse and inclusive environment for all students. The 1,000+ student organizations help students find a group with similar interests and goals.
Expectation #4: “If I struggle in school, I am on my own.”
Reality: This is so not true! There are so many resources USC offers to give us students support. Professors host weekly office hours, many classes offer free supplemental instruction, and we have the Kortschak Learning Center to help guide and support us through our academic journey.
Expectation #5: “It will be easy to take a full course load, be involved in many organizations, and have lots of free time to spend with friends and family.”
Reality: In all honesty, I thought I would be able to do it all. I have since concluded that academics at USC are very rigorous, and organizations require time and commitment. I have learned that the key to balance is time management. With a calendar, planner, and an optimistic viewpoint, college life will be very fulfilling and balanced. It’s all about being open minded!
In conclusion, we all have expectations about what an experience will be like and how things will turn out to be – in every situation, even beyond college. Expectations are comforting, as they help us mentally plan for the unknown ahead, but they are also limiting.
There is no standardized formula to have the perfect college experience because the college experience is different for everyone. Everything that occurs is unique to our own stories and paths, in order to help form us into the humans we are meant to become.
Attending USC has been the best decision I have ever made. I have had many expectations, some aligning and some not aligning with reality. My advice to you: just go with it and enjoy all that is to come!
Written by Savanna Fakhoury, (she/her/hers), 3rd year at USC studying Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.