Where to Find USC's Hidden Gems

By Elizabeth Morris on February 9, 2017

All campuses have them, those hidden gems that can only be found by mere chance. Maybe at the beginning of the semester, you get lost on the way to class, and one simple, misguided turn transforms into a fortunate discovery. Or maybe one day you happen to glance out your dorm window and spot a nook of campus previously unknown to you.

Here are the hidden gems that I have encountered during my brief time at USC.

Hammocks on the McCarthy Quad

The McCarthy Quad houses most of the home game tailgating during football season. Outside of football season, the Quad hosts a myriad of activities, including hammocking. One of the perimeters of the Quad is lined with evenly-spaced trees where students can hang up hammocks. Who wouldn’t want to take an afternoon break from studying to sway beneath the shade of the trees?

McCarthy Quad Hammock Trees

Tutor Campus Center 

This is a not-so-hidden-gem. The Tutor Campus Center is smack dab in the center of campus and is almost always buzzing with activity. I decided to include Tutor in this article because it is the first part of campus that I fell in love with. In the afternoon when the sun begins to set, one can hardly resist its charismatic atmosphere. A piano rests at the center of Tutor and any by-passer can take a seat and fulfill the role of musician. The sweet sounds that float from the piano keys mingle with the music of the courtyard’s fountain and create a sense of serenity.

Because Tutor has several restaurants, it acts as an outdoor food court. Meet up with some friends for dinner and experience the heart of campus in a new way.

Image via Marshall Mashup

Parkside Outdoor Lounge

One of USC’s residential colleges, Parkside Apartments, has an outdoor lounge. The Parkside lounge is the perfect place to study on a sunny Sunday afternoon. If you live at Fluor or Webb Towers, whose dining halls are closed on weekends, you might as well go down to Parkside to relax. That way, you are strategically placed for a meal break at any time.

Image via USC Housing

The Philosophy Library 

College students will inevitably stumble their way into a library at some point during their studies. Especially during the madness of midterms and finals, libraries become a college student’s home. Since there are several libraries scattered all around USC’s campus, choosing a favorite can be difficult. However, the Philosophy Library has a classic, studious style that is bound to promote productivity.

“The Philosophy Library is my favorite place to study, partly because of its beautiful walls of books and fireplace nooks, but also because of its perfect atmosphere,” said Abigail Jackson, a sophomore majoring in political science.

“While some libraries are too quiet or too loud, The Philosophy Library has just the right vibe; no one will yell at you for unzipping your backpack too loudly, but no one will be yelling in the corner about their roommate problems.”

Image by Aaron Jacobs via flickr.com

“The Roof”

My personal favorite hidden gem of USC is the one above the Uytengsu Aquatic Center. “The Roof” is not the location’s official name, it is the one I have given it. It is, in fact, the rooftop of the Morgan Training Center which overlooks the Uytengsu pool.

Most people would not know about the Roof unless they either play an aquatic sport and use the pool on a regular basis, or have a view of it from their dorm window. On sunny days, the Roof usually has a sprinkling of people tanning in the lounge chairs or sitting at the tables watching the swimmers and divers.

USC at Night 

USC’s campus in itself is a gem, especially at night. One of my first impressions of USC was that the school, without a doubt, has a beautiful campus. What I did not know at the time of my first tour was how beautiful the campus is after sunset. Nightfall brings a certain serenity to the normally hectic campus. Fewer students are present, and sounds of the surrounding city seem to melt into the distance.

I would not have discovered the secret night-time atmosphere of USC if not for the night walks my roommate and I take. Because of those night walks, I now have a new appreciation for this incredible university.

USC at Night

Getting lost does not have to be a bad thing because one missed turn can become an incredible adventure. These are just a few of USC’s highlights, so give into wanderlust and find your own hidden gems.

By Elizabeth Morris

Uloop Writer

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