This article was published in the Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition in December 2012.
It is hard to believe the end of my first semester in college is arriving, but there is one reason why time has seemed to fly by: I’ve been so busy and content with college life.
The reason is because USC, like other great universities, provides students with plenty of opportunities and resources that would be otherwise challenging to find in another context. Libraries rich with books, interesting classes, academic and cultural events, internships and research, networking, student jobs and a considerable chance of falling in love with different study areas; all bundled up and delivered as a student’s academic world.
I have immense passion and appreciation for books, so it is no surprise that I find libraries the most inviting places on campus, primarily for their unique ability to open up worlds with different stories, facts, ideas, countries, cultures and dreams.
Having been born and raised in Brazil, Portuguese is my first language, and so one day I decided to search for Brazilian literary books at a major library on campus. Enthusiasm overcame me when I found not only translations but original works by Clarice Lispector and Carlos Drummond de Andrade.
The variety of books available serve as stimulus for a more energetic intellectual community, which should be taken advantage of.
In addition to those, I’ve been able to check out the latest fiction books, sparing myself from spending money on new paperbacks and providing me with the additional thrill of walking around stacks with thousands of books.
Even better than outstanding availability of books is the chance to hear authors read and discuss their works. In early November, USC hosted a reading by T.C. Boyle, and he read a couple of his short stories and answered questions from the audience.
The university also has “Visions and Voices,” a series of events that promote the arts in theater, music, writing, as well as social engagement. I’ve attended operas based on Shakespearian works, talks with social activists and singing workshops, and I am satisfied with my cultural enrichment in college.
Events like these are valuable because students can experience a bit of their desired career fields and become inspired by successful role models.
The beauty of college is being part of a community dedicated to evolving and becoming more knowledgeable, and fortunately there are plenty of ways to explore academic passions differently. As classes come to an end and finals week approaches, I look forward to what’s coming next spring.