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  • Writer's pictureLeila Roker

About Me, Since You're Here

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

It’s my third year here in Paris and much to my Mom’s chagrin, I’ve just started a blog at the third year mark. While yes, Paris is the city of lights and romance, it’s definitely taught me a lot about myself, overcoming obstacles, dating, and of course, #adulting.

For those of you who don’t know, I didn’t start my college experience expecting to start in Paris. USC was actually my first choice. I was accepted through USC’s Trojan Transfer Plan, which is basically like Spring Admission, with an additional semester. Coincidentally, a friend of mine also was doing this program, so we connected very early in the semester, and found a group of friends. Although we all had USC in the back of our minds, all of us seemed to enjoy Paris more than we expected and tried to remind ourselves that the original goal was USC.

All my friends successfully kept their end goal in sight, and at times did this by complaining about Paris’ inconveniences in order to trick themselves into remembering it wasn’t permanent. I; however, did not succeed in this. I realized that while yes, there were some culture shocks, it still felt like I seemed to find my niche. My French was flourishing, I was finding promising opportunities, and meeting students from a different country every day. Alongside this, I was studying countless hours to make sure my GPA exceeded the one demanded by USC. Finally, after my seven months of hard work, I got an email confirming my spot for USC’s Fall 2018 Semester. I was so happy, but then that feeling of relief was replaced by a different one, hesitation. I spoke to my Dad about my conflicting emotions, he wasn’t very surprised by my inner turmoil. He simply answered “Once I saw you in Paris, I knew you were never coming back. I think you’ve found your place.” He was right.

My mom’s perspective was a bit different. “What do you mean?” She said on the phone, it wasn’t really a question.

“I think I want to stay,” I answered. She was silent and heartbroken. Not only had I before deviated from the Northeastern Ivy League plan, now I was deviating from America altogether.

“Well, you’re father and I will be talking about this.” And the phone call ended. After many tearful conversations and calls to USC, we came to the agreement that I would defer for another year and return to sunny California’s USC for my junior year. But in my sophomore year, I only progressed more.

I found that my school's convenient location and network has only broadened my portfolio, and improved my skills. I did my first interview in French, interviewing Paris firefighters, went to fashion week, became my school’s online news deputy editor, and now, the Editor-In-Chief of my school's Fashion Journalism class, and finally, landed an internship with WWD’s Paris branch this past summer. I finally made the decision Paris was for me.

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