A Reflection on My Time at USC from a Soon-to-be-Alum

April 06, 2018
• by
Jenn Li

When I arrived at USC four years ago, I was just a small-town girl from Canton, Michigan who called soda “pop” – and still do despite having to explain myself every single time. Moving to Los Angeles was a major culture shock, but my experiences here have made me who I am today. Now that my time at USC is coming to an end, I can definitively say that the school changed my life. Not only did it give me some of my best friends and prepare me for my future career, it really broadened my horizons by introducing me to a global community. And I credit Marshall, specifically, for all the incredible internship opportunities I have had as well as all of my international experiences.

Jenn 4Back in the day, I wanted to be an actress. Having just finished my short stint as a dancing napkin in a local production of Beauty and the Beast, I truly believed that performance would launch my Hollywood career. Suffice it to say, they did not. I had all but given up my Hollywood dreams – until USC gave me another shot. My Business Cinematic Arts (BCA) program here has allowed me to fulfill those dreams of a young girl, but behind the scenes instead of in the spotlight. Using connectSC, USC’s job board, I got my first gig as a Television Development Intern at Sonar Entertainment where I was reading the scripts for AMC’s The Son before they even began shooting. Through USC’s Winslow-Maxwell Program, I got to work full time in London for a summer as a Media and Public Relations Intern. There, I was facilitating getting our clients’ campaigns onto regional and national BBC Radio/News and Sky News. In the last year, I have worked at Lionsgate Entertainment as a Worldwide Television and Digital Distribution Intern and Universal Pictures (NBCU) as a Global Marketing Intern. They have been the coolest jobs, and I got to participate in projects for titles such as Jigsaw, The Fate of the Furious, and Pitch Perfect 3. In both situations, I was able to leverage my education and experiences at USC to rise to the top of the competitive candidate pool. In all honesty, I do not think I would have had the opportunity to work at such companies had I not attended USC, and I am so grateful for that.

Jenn 2Beyond establishing a foundation for my career, Marshall introduced me to the world through its globally-focused curriculum. In my freshman year, I attended a weeklong business trip in Beijing and Shanghai, China with 80 of my peers from the Global Leadership Program. That one experience sparked my interest in pursuing further international endeavors. The summer following my sophomore year, I interned abroad in London and absolutely fell in love with the city. Then in the spring of my junior year, I studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary, a country whose culture I knew nothing about and whose language I did not speak, through Marshall’s International Exchange Program. It was an incredibly rewarding experience. There, I lived with six Europeans from France, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands, none of whom spoke English natively. Despite cultural differences and language barriers, we formed life-long friendships. Together, we visited places like Montenegro, Serbia, and Albania – places I would have never thought to travel to before – and I overcame media biases and portrayals of these countries to realize just how similar we all are as citizens of a global community.

My pre-professional and global experiences at USC have changed me for the better. It is because of them that I will be pursuing my Master of Science in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in the fall. I have the opportunity to combine these two passions of mine to focus on global storytelling and how that can help overcome some of the metaphorical barriers we have put between ourselves and others. So, thank you, USC, for all that you have given me. Although I am graduating, I will never actually leave you behind because I will always be a proud member of the Trojan Family. Fight On!

Jenn 1