Hello! She smiled, before popping with laughter. I laugh when I get nervous.
What’s your name?
Amanat, she paused for a moment, Singh. She placed her finger over her upper lip. Maybe she was unsure of her name.
Where are you from, Amanat Singh?
I am from Fullerton, California … I love Fullerton. There’s not much to do. She laughed again. Was she nervous again, thinking about her hometown? But it’s home, and I’ve lived there since I was six.
Now you’re in Los Angeles.
How’d that happen?
I didn’t want to go too far from home. And I’ve visited USC every year since 8th grade, because I thought if I came to campus it would increase my chances of getting in – which obviously it worked out. Note to the reader: visiting USC every year since 8th grade will not increase your chances of admission. I like it. It’s not that different for me, just because I’ve been coming to Los Angeles quite often. It’s different living here, as opposed to a very suburban town however.
Who are you? What do you study, what do you like to do?
Who am I? Whooph, that’s a tough one. It is for us all, Amanat. I am… she laughed again, remembering that she’s being interviewed. I am a Public Policy and Law major, with a minor in painting, which is kind of a random mix. I am involved, obviously, at the Admission Center, she grabbed her Coke cup and began playing with the straw, I serve as Director of Membership of the USC Helenes, which means that I help integrate new members to our organization, and am also a part of the Southern California Indo-American Association, which is a cultural group.
What are the ‘Helenes?’
Helenes is the oldest, all-women’s service organization on campus. We have three pillars: service, spirit, and sisterhood. Naturally, a lot of what we do revolves around those pillars. In regards to service, we do a lot with our surrounding community, which is really nice, because coming to a school like USC, and then being in Los Angeles, sometimes the area is glorified. We are around a lot of poverty-stricken areas, as well as communities that are underprivileged. But by being with the Helenes, I get exposed to and get to interact with those communities, which has made coming to USC just that much more worthwhile.
Spirit: We do a lot of things such as going to games, supporting our athletic teams, etc. I’m not a big fan of sports myself, but a group of people makes it a thing for me. It pushes me out of my comfort zone, which is nice.
And sisterhood is pretty self-explanatory. It’s been a great way for me to make friends; I joined right off the bat, my first semester my freshman year. I’ve been a Helene as long as I’ve been a Trojan.
Talk to me a bit about your major. Why’d you choose it, what do you think you’re going to do with it?
Well, it’s actually kind of interesting. I came to USC as an art major on the pre-med track, so I was entirely different back then. I never planned on pursuing art as a career, but I sort of need it every semester to help keep me sane. As I said, I started as pre-med, but I realized when I got here that I don’t really like science, so what am I actually doing? I think I just wanted to help people. She frantically waved her hands, while still maintaining the integrity of the soda in the Coca-Cola cup. Perhaps Amanat was empathizing with her previous self’s internal toil and frustration. As vague as that sounds, growing up, I felt as though being a doctor was the best way to directly help people. But I took some General Education courses, I learned about the Price School of Public Policy, took some law classes, and it was everything I was inclined to do. I just needed it to slap me in the face to realize that’s what I wanted. I changed my major to Public Policy & Law, and then I changed my art major to a painting minor, which is really all I wanted, since I just wanted a painting class each semester.
I hope to go to law school, I’m studying for the LSAT this summer, that should be fun. I don’t know if I want to be a straight-up lawyer, I think more than anything, I just want that knowledge, and hope to work in the legal field somehow. Ideally for a nonprofit or something of the sort.
You work at the Admission Center.
She was sipping her soda, so the best she could give me was Mm-hm.
How’d that happen?
I actually was a part of Associated Student Body (ASB) in high school and I gave tours. I was a part of a group that did a lot for the campus, but also gave tours of the campus. It’s something I’ve always loved doing – I’ve always loved customer service and interacting with people. I applied for the Admission Center my freshman year. I didn’t get in, unfortunately. But it was something that really mattered to me, so I tried again this year. I am an Admission Ambassador, as you know. This was her referencing to me, the interviewer, for I too am an Admission Ambassador.
How do you like being an Admission Ambassador?
I love it. It’s a lot more than I thought it would be, I don’t think I fully knew what I was getting myself into, but I can’t at all say that I am disappointed with what I am doing. I’m doing a lot more than I expected, and I’m learning a lot. I couldn’t imagine myself being confident enough to give a tour at USC or presentations. I’m on the shyer end of the types of people at the office. But, it’s shaped me for the better even in the short time I’ve been here.
Tell me a story about the Admission Center.
Ah, this was one of my first times working the phones at the Admission Center. I was really nervous about phone calls, I don’t know why, but I was sitting next to Shalaka, who was our Head Ambassador at the time. I got a phone call from a woman asking about parking tickets. Her story was that she got a parking ticket, appealed it, but it didn’t go through. Essentially, she just didn’t want to pay her parking ticket. So I started with “This is USC’s Admission Center, we aren’t responsible for situations like this,” but she was very persistent. The conversation escalated to the point where she asked to speak to my supervisor, and I thought “This is it, I’m gonna get fired.” But Shalaka was so great and patient, helped me along with the phone, and I eventually turned it over to her. It was an intense first phone call, but it was such a great experience nonetheless.