Monday, August 19, 2013

A welcoming week for USC’s newest undergrads

By Lillian Insalata; excerpt reposted from USC's news site
August 19, 2013

After filling up their residences with boxes, USC’s incoming class of 2013 will have plenty to do. During Welcome Week, the period between Move-in Day on Aug. 21 and the first day of classes on Aug. 26, the university has planned an array of events and activities for the newest members of the Trojan Family and — for the first two days — their families.

This year the university will offer more programming than ever, including two new signature events. The first, “Taste of SC,” will be held on Move-in Day from 5 to 7 p.m. Students and their parents can enjoy free food and see student groups perform in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center and Student Union as they tour campus offices and learn about student resources.

On Aug. 23, students will recreate the Game Day experience during “Light Up the Coliseum.” On that evening, the students will meet at Tommy Trojan at 7:30 p.m. and follow the USC Trojan Marching Band to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where they will learn about USC traditions, have a group photo taken and spell out USC with flashlights. The first 500 students will also receive free food. The event is scheduled to end at 10 p.m.

For a complete list of events and activities, visit Students can also sign up for a special Welcome Week app to help them plan their schedules and sign up for events.

Wednesday, Aug. 21
In the evening, following “Taste of SC”, students can dance with new friends courtesy of radio station KXSC and USC Spectrum, which will sponsor live music at Tommy’s Place.

Thursday, Aug. 22
Parents are encouraged to attend the New Student Convocation, a traditional ceremony featuring a student procession and remarks from USC President C. L. Max Nikias, academic deans and Ainsley Carry, the new vice provost for Student Affairs. Preceding the event, families are invited to a pancake breakfast in McCarthy Quad.

Also on tap are the first day of micro-seminars — lectures and discussions that provide a glimpse into what college classes are like. USC professors, Nikias and Provost Elizabeth Garrett are scheduled to present seminars on a variety of topics.

In the evening, “SPARK! 8th Annual Visions and Voices Multimedia Kickoff” will present music, dance, theater and performance art in Bovard Auditorium. Students are encouraged to arrive early to get seats.

Friday, Aug. 23
The schedule will include tours of USC libraries throughout the day and the second day of micro-seminars.

To cap the night, following “Light Up the Coliseum,” students can catch a movie that will be shown in McCarthy Quad.

Saturday, Aug. 24
Students are encouraged to learn more about their neighborhood through Friends and Neighbors Day (FND), which pairs student volunteers with 30 community partners. After FND, buses will take students on neighborhood tours showcasing historic houses and landmarks.

That night, the Welcome Back Carnival and Concert featuring refreshments, games and a musical guest will take place in McCarthy Quad.

Sunday, Aug. 25
Students who need supplies for their rooms or want to explore Los Angeles for the day can make online reservations for shuttles leaving the University Park Campus for Target, Santa Monica, museums and other locations.

That evening McCarthy Quad will be a performance site once again — this time, a comedy show from 7 to 9 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 26

After Welcome Week excitement, students are advised to get a good night’s sleep on Sunday; fall semester classes start Monday morning.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's Almost Move-In Day Campers!

  • Maybe you have been stocking up on your college apartment goodies for months…
  • Maybe you just need a touch more inspiration to create your ultimate work/study space…
  • Maybe you are in a last-minute frenzy, driving around Los Angeles to find items for your new household….

 In any case, these links below should be helpful.  Let the retailers help sort it all out for you!  

First, is my favorite store in the world, Target: 

Lesser known and a tiny bit pricier is The Container Store.  But man, they do know how to organize!

IKEA has it all, though it’s not always the most convenient shopping experience:

And last, but certainly not least, the USC bookstore is perfect for adding those finishing touches of school color.  Go, Trojans!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Good Place to Study?

Only a pair of finishing touches needed now for Trojan Terraza's garden.  We hope you all like how it turned out as much as we do.

Tell us what you think is the best way to use it:

Lunch al fresco?
Escaping a roommate?
Finishing a novel?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Renovation of Trojan Terraza's Garden Is Under Way!

We are so excited that we are finally able to go forward with this project.  At Trojan Building's we are always striving to make our apartment buildings a better place for our residents to live.  Here is some of our progress so far...
This is how the garden began.  

A few days ago the infrastructure was put in place.

How it looked on June 5th, 2013.

We hope that all of you find this to be a place of serenity when you need a break from your USC studies (or your roommate... LOL).  When it's finished, we'll post more photos!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Study Tips For Exams: 12 Ways To Ace Your Finals

Reposted from Huff Post College, Posted: 05/25/11 07:15 PM ET

As finals approach, it can be difficult to remember that the stress, sleeplessness and brain drain shall pass. But there are also myriad ways to make the next few weeks more bearable -- and to ensure that you make the grade. Below, check out 12 study tips that will ease the final countdown, and maybe even help you boost your GPA.

1. Study in Chunks- Although it's tempting (and sometimes inevitable) cramming really isn't the best way to study. According to the Dartmouth Academic Skills Center, you should study in 20-50 minute increments and give yourself a 5 to 10 minute break between each session. For best results, study throughout one full week.

2. Listen to Mozart- Certain types of music, like Mozart's compositions -- which follow a 60 bpm pattern -- have been shown to activate both the right and left sides of the brain in listeners. Stimulation of both sides is linked with increased recall, and so listening while studying can help increase the likelihood that you will retain relevant information.

3. Alternate Study Spots- Earlier this year, the New York Times explained that rather than sticking to one study spot, you should switch things up when reviewing for exams. (Like one of the Trojan Buildings’ courtyards!)

4. Drink Cocoa- Packed with antioxidants as well as cognitive and mood enhancers, the unadulterated cacao bean has been recently lauded as a superfood. But once it is processed into chocolate bars, cacao's healthy benefits are overpowered by sugar -- which will provide a spurt of energy followed by a longer crash. To take full advantage of the nutritious bean, dissolve a spoonful of organic cocoa into a hot milk of your choice and add cinnamon, espresso and cayenne pepper for optimal energy. 

5. Form a Study Group- Study groups can motivate you to get started when it's hard to motivate yourself -- plus, explaining difficult concepts out loud will help you figure out what you understand and what you still need to go over, and getting a group together will allow you to divide and conquer definition of terms and explanations of concepts. And if you can get each member to bring a snack, that's incentive to actually meet.

6. Prevent Test Anxiety- If mere mention of the phrase "final exam" makes your heart beat a little faster, mastering exam material may not be all you need to worry about. To calm yourself down -- and prevent from blanking during the test -- spend some time before the exam imagining yourself acing it. You also might want to induce stress while studying, and then practice quelling fear by taking deep breaths, focusing on what you know and keeping things (including the importance of the test) in perspective.

7. Jog Around Campus- According to some, just 20 minutes of cardio a day can help improve your memory. And for those of you who can, cardio outside is even better -- taking a break in nature is more relaxing than taking a walk down a city street, which calls upon you to engage actively with your environment. But if the gym is closed, you can always take a quick dance break.

8. Manage Your Time- By the time finals roll around, your time is precious -- every minute counts. Which is why scheduling is essential during the weeks (er, days) prior to exams. So as not to go totally bonkers during this stressful time, make a realistic study schedule for yourself. Leave yourself time for breaks -- you'll be taking them anyway -- and be sure to prioritize according to which class you'll need to study for the most.

9. Go To Office Hours- Nobody ever wants to go to office hours, which is why professors and TAs are so happy whenever students do show up -- the trick is to go a few weeks before finals, when you are sure to have plenty of time to meet and discuss. Even if you only have one question, feedback from a professor will help you figure out what he thinks is most important, and will help you figure out what to focus on while studying.

10. Approach Each Class Differently- If you try to study for your calculus exam the way you would study for a literature exam, you probably won't do very well.

11. Build on What You Know- If you start by studying what you know and add more difficult or recent material as you proceed, you can associate new information with familiar material. Rather than taking on intimidating amounts of new information, this will ease you into a comprehensive review and ensure you don't forget basics.

12. Make It Interesting- Just as it's harder to recall a list of 20 words than a 20-word sentence, it's harder to recall a list of boring facts than a story -- to help retain information, try to connect with whatever it is you're learning. Whether by using memory aids (like mnemonic devices) or making facts personal, bringing test material to life will make it much easier to remember.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Easy, Inexpensive, AND Healthy Recipe? Yes!

(reprinted from

3 Bell Peppers (Any color)
8 oz. of Pasta Sauce
1 8.8 oz. Bag of Uncle Ben's 90 Second Ready Rice (Or 9 oz. of regular rice)
1 Can Black Beans
4 oz. Shredded Cheese
Bread Crumbs OR A few broken-up crackers

Preheat your oven to 400.  Cook your rice as instructed on its package.  Cut your peppers in half and remove the seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and evenly place each bell pepper half on the baking sheet.

Once your rice is finished cooking, pour the rice and can of beans into a large bowl for mixing.  Add your pasta sauce slowly, while stirring the mixture together. The mixture should be firm but wet, and have an equal distribution of ingredients.  Now, use a spoon to distribute the rice-bean-sauce mixture into each pepper half. DO NOT overload the peppers, this will make a mess in your oven!

Before baking, cover each pepper with bread crumbs or broken-up crackers and ample shredded cheese.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove and let stand for 3 minutes.

Makes 6 low-cost servings.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Summer School or Summer Internship?

Okay, it’s only March.  You may not have had a single thought about what you are doing when the spring semester finishes up.  Or, you may have already decided to keep the USC academic train rolling through summer school. 

Here’s another thought.  How about trying a summer internship?

Before you come back to hit the books for fall semester, you could get some real-world job experience, some excellent networking for after graduation, and maybe even make some money!  (Of course, some internships pay while others don’t.)

And in a city as large and diverse as Los Angeles you MAY find the internship is at your dream company right here!  You can stay settled in at your Trojan Buildings apartment- all cozy while you dip your toe into that wide world of the workers. 

We found some great websites for searching internships:




Good luck!  And start looking soon.  Some of the deadlines for applications are already closing up.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break Safety

Take care of yourselves this Spring Break, Trojans!  Come back to Trojan Buildings safe and sound.

Spring Break marks one of the biggest periods of binge drinking each year – when young adults from all over the county head south for a week of vacation and partying with friends. For many people, Spring Break can mean social drinking, often to dangerous excess.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about eight drinks per binge. About 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.
There are a few simple strategies that can keep your Spring Break safe and sober. Here are a few tips: 

  • Take a trip with non-drinkers – Peer pressure and enabling are big factors when it comes to binge drinking. If you have friends that have demonstrated a history of dangerous behavior, they may not be the best travel companions.

  • Go on a spa outing or nature hike – Find a vacation option that centers on an activity that is not alcohol related. Busying yourself with a highly relaxing or stimulating activity will leave little time for over-indulgence.

  • Avoid trips where alcohol is included in the package – Many Spring Break packages are “all inclusive” and do not charge for alcoholic beverages. Avoid taking trips where alcohol is readily available.

  • Have an exit strategy – Wherever you vacation, chances are you will encounter a tempting situation. Have a plan in place to remove yourself from these situations like excusing yourself to your hotel room, going on a walk or finding a local support group.

  • Stick to your daily routine – Breaking out of your normal routine can often lead to lapses in judgment. Stick to your daily routine of exercise, diet and any other normal practices as much as possible in order to avoid tempting situations.
Excerpts from blog at PRWEB: March 18, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

To Share or NOT To Share

There are many decisions USC students make over the course of a school year.  Clearly, you have to choose your classes and determine your scholastic goals.  Some decisions are less pressing, such as whether to eat gluten-free or whether to visit the beautiful Los Angeles beaches more.  Not many decisions have the sticking power of a college roommate.

Now, there are usually ways out of a bad roommate situation.  For example, at Trojan Buildings you are allowed to find a person to sublet.  It is better, no doubt, to answer this question for yourself BEFORE you call the movers.  What situation will give you more peace of mind?

Pros of having your own place to yourself:
  1. Privacy.  You have the whole apartment to yourself!
  2. You can do what you like.  You don’t have to worry about another’s schedule or preferences.
  3. No roommate to take/use your stuff/eat your food.
  4. No problems sleeping because your roommate is partying (or worse) when you need sleep or quiet.
  5. No haggling over the TV.
  6. It’s probably going to be easier to concentrate on your studies.
  7. You have to opportunity to really grow and learn to care for yourself and your own surroundings.

Pros of having a roommate:
1.      Someone to talk to and share your university experience with.
2.      Financial help with rent and/or utilities.
3.      You could make a lifelong friend.  (My mom is still best friends with her college roommate!)
4.      Possible help with homework.
5.      Someone there in case of lock-outs or emergencies.
6.      You can learn to share and adjust to others.
7.      You can be exposed to new foods/ideas/philosophies.

Tell us about your experiences.  Have you made a friend for life?  Did you make any amazing discoveries about yourself or others?  Are you the “live alone and like it” type?

*No real names, please.  Be nice.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Health Center for USC Students

Hello Trojan Buildings' Residents!  
We really want you all to be happy and healthy during your time at the University of Southern California.  Here is some information about the new Student Health Center which is provided by the university to serve you while here in Los Angeles.  

excerpts from "New health center opens doors" by Anika Crone of the Daily Trojan, 1/16/13

The USC Engemann Student Health Center, which stands more than double the size of the old center, opened Jan. 4 to accommodate the needs of the growing USC student population. 
Administrators said the center’s new features make it more productive. All of the programs that the student health center offers are centralized, with the counseling office moved to the health center. There is also a state-of-the-art call center, which responds to students’ calls more efficiently, as well as three times the number of exam rooms. Additionally, the center also features a student educational resource room.  The health center also has a 24-hour nurse hotline that covers everything from mental health calls to simple scrapes. The center also has a pharmacy on its lower level.  The health center moved from its previous location on 34th Street to 1031 W. 34th St., next to Fluor Tower, because of its larger size.
Many students said they are happy with the new health center because they felt certain aspects of the old health center was inadequate for their needs.  “The only thing that needed improvement was wait time. Even when I made an appointment, it took forever for me to see a doctor,” said Candice Coll, a freshman majoring in psychology.
Melissa Bonner, a freshman majoring in neuroscience, said she has already noticed improvements.  “It was much easier to check in and see my doctor,” Bonner said. “It’s more spacious and it will allow for more patients to come and its much more aesthetically pleasing.”
The new center is 105,000 square feet and six stories tall, while the old one was two stories tall, built in 1951 and required some services to be housed elsewhere because of a lack of space.  The old location of the student health center will be used to house the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, set to open in spring 2014.
USC donors and faculty have high hopes that the new health center will increase productivity for the growing USC University Park Campus.