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It’s the little pleasures: 4 things that got me through my first months of college

It came as no surprise that starting at a new college, in a new city and in a new country would be quite the adjustment. I’m not typically prone to homesickness: month-long trips away from home used to pass by without a single ounce of wistfulness or longing to return home. Consequently, when all the feels started to hit me second week into living in LA alone, I was caught off-guard and completely clueless about how to cope, but I figured it out along the way. The following is a list of the little things that got me through the beginning of my freshman year at USC.

  1. Bingeing Gilmore Girls 

Coming from the East Coast (of Canada), the New England grounding of Gilmore Girls always evokes feelings of familiarity and home for me. Lorelai and Rory’s incredible mother-daughter relationship reminds me of how close my mum and I have gotten over the past several years and helps me forget that she’s nearly 2,500 miles away. 

I also love rewatching the seasons when Rory’s off at Yale: it’s so fun finding little relatable tidbits from her life that I, too, have experienced so far at college. For example, when Rory hosts a 16-year-old from her alma mater, Chilton Prep, the high schooler is amazed by the fact that Rory has a boy bringing her food (it’s her friend Marty, who first met by finding him sleeping naked in her dorm building’s hallway). A friend of mine, whom I’ve gotten to know through my roommate, randomly brought her and I boba one day, and I couldn’t stop smiling when I noticed that aha! Now I had a boy bringing me food (huge thanks to him, by the way – it was the sweetest thing). 

It’s important to mention that another key reason I’ve stayed so loyal to Gilmore Girls is that, at least for me, the show’s soundtrack radiates overwhelming nostalgia. Grant-Lee Phillips, the town troubadour, armed with his guitar and hands-free harmonica, croons his folksy covers and originals, and really hits the spot on an early fall day. Also, listening to The La’s banger from the show’s very first scene, “There She Goes Again,” on the way to my 9am gives me all the main character energy. 

  1. Hoarding all the Trader Joe’s plants into my dorm

Back home, my room was stacked with plants I’d gathered from fairs and such over the years (that I had very surprisingly managed to keep alive… for the most part). I made it a deal to name all of my plants at home: it’s so much more fun to say “I’m going to go feed Shirley” than “I’m going to go fertilize the fern.” 

So, naturally, my eyes widened and my heartbeat quickened when I saw the collection of potted plants, flowers, and succulents outside of Village Trader Joe’s, I knew there’d be no stopping me. Luckily, my roommate was all for it and a month and a half later, we are now plant moms to seven lovely plant babies, all named and donned with “Hi! My name is…” tags. 

  1. Late night game and TV nights with new friends

Getting close and comfortable with new people is usually pretty difficult for me, but there’s nothing like a game of Cards Against Humanity on the floor of a dorm living room at two in the morning to break the ice. So far, I’ve been taught to play Settlers of Catan, Fish, and will soon be tutored in the art of poker. Sharing laughs with cool people who feel like home almost tricks me into believing we didn’t meet just two weeks ago.

Bonus points if homemade pasta and panna cotta are involved in the game night. A common-sense note of caution that I didn’t quite clue into: don’t stay up playing card games until 5 a.m. if you have a 9am class you have to be present and cognizant at that’s located halfway across campus. 

  1. Ice cream and crepes in the Village Dining Hall after a long day

The prospect of a cinnamon apple crepe with vanilla bean ice cream is enough to get me through lecture upon discussion section upon study group meet. My favorite spot to sit and look out onto the chandeliers and stained glass windows of the dining hall from are the two-person booths at the end of the hall, where you can pretty much bet on finding my roommate and I on any night crepes and ice cream are served. Delicious, enough said. 

There have been highs and there have been lows (and many more to come), but I’m here for the long haul – the next four years – and I hope to keep finding these little pleasures that make everything more tolerable (lol) and exciting. 

Christina is a freshman at USC majoring in International Relations. She comes to LA from Toronto, Ontario and is excited to explore the city and embrace new experiences! Christina enjoys reading mystery novels, watching rom-coms and sit-coms, going to concerts, and playing tennis. She loves to write and currently also works as a news staffer for the Daily Trojan and a multimedia journalist for Annenberg TV News.
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