My name is Cailin Lowry. I am a proud member of one of the most widely recognized “cults” on the West Coast of the United States. Two years ago, I spent several weeks dramatically flopping down on different furniture. I flung myself onto couches in my high school’s student center. In my living room, I sprawled out on the most amazing beanbag chair known to man. As a senior in high school, melodramatically collapsing onto comfortable furniture was a physical manifestation of the stress that accompanied Choosing the Right School.
I mean, at that point it had been really built up for me. It was like reaching the climax of a high school dramedy where the witty, intelligent, strikingly humble lead has to make The Big Decision. Would it be USC or NYU or UCLA? Would it be Los Angeles or New York? Would it be giving into senioritis or actually studying for my IB/AP exams? Would it be Edward or Jacob? (NEITHER, PLEASE CHOOSE NEITHER).
I cried when I submitted my enrollment deposit to USC. Not tears of joy. Tears of stress, nervous anticipation, and “I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF I WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE DIDN’T I JUST SPEND FOUR YEARS SLAVING AWAY IN ORDER TO GET THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE???” (These were tears with dynamic personality, everyone).
I looked through the glossy YOU-S-C brochure, dismissing its contents as mostly propaganda (to be fair, I was living in “Communist China” as my grandmother likes to call it).
Two years later, I’m drinking the cardinal and gold Kool-Aid. I’m not really sure when this happened. It seems that one minute I was rolling my eyes at the notion of the Trojan Family and the next I was a full-fledged, wholly committed member.
Maybe it was somewhere in between watching the sunrise from Leavey Library (longing for Doheny, naturally), seeing the Dalai Lama speak at the Galen Center, having conversations on the knoll in McCarthy Quad.
Or it might have been when all the members of my Thematic Option class on Revolution came together online and wrote a manifesto on why we should not have to take the final exam. In what was perhaps the most moving moment of my academic history, we collectively read the manifesto to our professor the morning of the exam – and were all granted an A for the final. We then sat and discussed the content of the final together, proving that knowledge is not always best proved with short answer and essay questions.
Regardless of whether my initiation to the Trojan Family was while spending hours talking with friends at the dining hall freshman year or when Molly Ringwald came to my film class on John Hughes to discuss her experiences on Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and The Breakfast Club – here I am, getting teary eyed thinking about my time thus far at USC.
There are still times when I wonder whether or not college is the right fit for me right now. However, the question of whether USC is where I belong does not occur to me. As cliché as it seemed two years ago, I have truly found family here: in the eager alumni who are incessantly willing to offer advice, at airports where fellow Trojans flash the Fight On fingers at me, and whenever I see a friendly face at the Campus Center.
It is difficult to describe the Trojan Family. Perhaps it is easy to call it a network of alumni and students, but experience after experience proves that it is more than just a career-oriented “tool.” The uninitiated like to call us a cult – which perhaps is a little more accurate (sans creepiness).
My name is Cailin Lowry. I am a proud member of the Trojan Family and encourage you to become one too. Fight On!