Senior Reflection Series: Joy Ofodu

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What I Wish I Knew as a Freshman

I’m about to graduate from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Communication and Minors in Spanish and Marketing. It’s a feeling that is equally unreal and the realest thing I can conceive. Freshman Me came in with a rough plan and a lot of hope. Senior Me is leaving as an employed graduate of three academic schools.

If I could go back in time and give her some pointers, here’s what I’d offer:

USC Movie Relationships Aren’t Real

Love & Basketball might get you feeling some type of way, but, in reality, you are notwalking into a culture of romance and commitment. Be warned.

Friday Classes Aren’t Necessary

I’ve been able to set up quite a few semesters of TTh-only classes, and the freedom has allowed me to work, relax, travel and spend quality time with friends. Ignore the rumor that only Seniors can avoid Fridays.

Experience > Recognition

While honors & awards may have helped you get into college, some of them don’t mean much when it comes to applying to internships and jobs. The Dean’s List is great, but it won’t be the deciding factor in your application.

The same goes for classes - feel free to celebrate a B+ or B as a final grade if you got everything you could out of the class, put in as much effort as was healthy, and learned something you’ll remember. It’s not the A you’re used to, but it’s the knowledge that makes you rich, not the test score.

Mentorship > Mentor

Many will stress the importance of having one solid, recognized mentor across your four years, but you won’t have one, single mentor. You will receive mentorship in the form of advice, recommendations, nominations and constructive criticism from so many people: employers, friends, alumni, older peers, professors, admissions counselors and guest speakers. Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to find one mentor. Just keep asking the questions you need answered.

You Can Eat at Lil’ Galen

It’s not just for USC Athletes; You can have the best chicken fingers and fries for miles from 12 - 2 PM behind our original Annenberg building!

Best Friends Take Time

I had many associates by sophomore year, but not many best friends - and that’s alright. Enjoy the time you spend with your associates, floormates and acquaintances. Your USC best friends are on the way and they’ll go over & above for you in ways you can’t imagine. They are worth the wait.

It’s OK to Break Ties

It doesn’t even take a semester to feel yourself drifting away from peers or friends from home that you were formerly close to. That’s inevitable, and that’s alright, too. Wish them well and keep it pushing.

Everyone’s Like You - Celebrate It

You will immediately encounter an identity crisis in which you have more people of your same ethnic or academic background than you’ve ever had before - Don’t panic! Surround yourself with the artsy Nigerians and former Drama Club presidents. They don’t take away any you-ness from you.

Not Every Opportunity Is The Right One

When you get rejected for an opportunity or miss the deadline or don’t make the cut, don’t waste any time moping. Everything that doesn’t work out doesn’t so that something else does. The doors closed to you close so that you may pursue others. Yes, even the Pixar Internship and trip to the Rio Olympics.

It’s OK to Change Your Mind

You can and will change your mind about your identity, your minors, your hair, your friends, your schedule, your dedication to art, your activities, your decisions and your opinions. At the end of the day, they are yours to contend with. They are ephemeral and they are valid.

Don’t give up. I’ll see you on the other side.

(This article was originally published on


Joy Ofodu


Joy Ofodu