There's something about the Trojan family that strikes me by surprise each time I am reminded of the way it ties my identity to a community. This sense of unity doesn't occur as intermittent spurts– but rather more like an undercurrent of support that is revitalized through meeting other Trojans, time and time again.
When I was applying to USC, the words "Trojan family" were thrown around left and right, more times than I could ever count– to the point where it was becoming a cliché and empty phrase. Only after my year and a half at this university, can I attest that these words will never leave me as they have had a profound influence that connects my experiences at USC thus far.
So what caused this change?
Maybe it was the sense of home and safety I felt when the metro door opened in Shanghai, China, and the first person smiling in the doorway was a classmate from the previous semester. Being in a foreign country, in the metro system crammed with thousands of people during rush hour, seeing a familiar face in the crowd (accompanied by hugs and well wishes) was a moment of both relief and surprise.
Maybe it was the dad coaching his son at my community pool in Orange County, CA, that struck a conversation with me about what I was reading. As I told him about Year of Yes– a book by Shonda Rhimes, USC alum– he says, “I went there too!” This comment launched his interest in my business studies at the current moment and his immediate reaction to give me his contact in case I ever needed any career advice.
Maybe it was the care taken by an alumni architect on the train that accompanied my friend and I for the entire duration of the ride. He did so promptly after recognizing the conversations a man of questionable intention sitting near us was trying to bring up.
These moments may not seem like immense experiences, but to me– I remember how these people made me feel. Understood, valued, safe. My Trojan family has supported me in ways big and small that I won’t forget. With the creation of those memories, those two words filled with personal meaning.
No longer is the Trojan family enveloped by quotations that somewhat makes it seem like a façade, it is palpable, real, and mine.