I’ve been at USC for one semester now. One semester that cost me (aka my family) a crippling $25,721. And I can honestly say… I have no idea whether it’s going to be worth it. Having transferred from a cheap public university (UNLV), I feel that I have a more rounded perspective than the people who came to SC as freshmen. I really appreciate all that USC has to offer, from minority resources and free Uber rides at night to amazing networking opportunities and top-notch research facilities.

When I got to USC, I threw myself into the campus community. I joined the clubs I was interested in (and some that I wasn’t *ahem Trojan Marching Band*), I moved in with people I didn’t know, and I made friends with strangers in all of my classes. I’ve switched majors and gotten a new job, along with all sorts of other (probably futile) attempts to reinvent myself. So is college worth it for me? Absolutely.

College is such an artificial environment. Every day, I walk to school onto a campus that has at least 900 tenured faculty members. That is at least 900 people who have PhDs — who are experts in their fields. I walk onto a campus with career centers and minority resource centers. I walk onto a campus with dozens of Olympic athletes, 22 libraries, and 77 countries worth of representation. None of this is natural. But it’s great nonetheless.

My college experience has been worth it because I took advantage of the extremely well-constructed, completely unnatural world that USC has built around me. Whether I’ll be able to make my tuition back, I don’t know. But I’ve gotten my money’s worth.