“I barely read the phrase “Congra…” and I lost it!”

My USC Story: first-year student

USC School of Dramatic Arts freshman student Brandon Whipple photographed outside and looking into the camera.
USC School of Dramatic Arts freshman student Brandon Whipple, poses for a photograph August 28, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Gus Ruelas)

Brandon Whipple moved from the reservation in Rosebud, South Dakota to Los Angeles to join USC’s School of Dramatic Arts class of 2023 as a theater major

Why did you choose the USC School of Dramatic Arts?

I am passionate about film work and in high school, I started a two-year film series titled “FIA” which really helped me get involved and gave me a voice in my community. A voice I hope to once again acquire at USC. 

What did you do when you first found out you got into the USC School of Dramatic Arts?

I had just woken up from a nap, I checked my phone and saw I had an email from the Admissions Office. Having recently gotten rejected from other schools, I wasn’t too hopeful. I opened the email and saw the “This year’s applicants was the best we’ve ever seen.” So, I immediately thought, “It’s over.” I reluctantly clicked on the View Admissions Decision button. The page loaded and I barely read the phrase “Congra…” and I lost it! I started tearing up, I ran and got my parents and showed them. I texted one of my teachers who really helped me with the application process. It was one of the coolest moments of my life.

What are you most excited to learn/do/experience/etc. while at USC?

I grew up in a very small town, so I am very excited to begin living in the great city of L.A. I am excited to explore all of the opportunities that USC and L.A. have to offer and to make new and incredible memories. 

What is one thing you brought (or will bring) with you to USC that means the most to you?

I had (or have, I guess) an amazing group of friends in high school. We have had numerous crazy experiences and memories together. So, I am taking a framed picture that we all took at our prom this past year. They all mean a lot to me, and this way it’ll feel like they are there with me.

What piece of advice about starting college do you think you’ll follow?

Well, the first piece of advice I got was to never have morning classes. Well, after orientation, that advice didn’t stick. But the other piece of advice I got was to make time for myself. Time to unload and relax and to not stress for a bit. So, I definitely plan to take time for myself either on weekends or after classes to either go workout, play video games, or just eat. Whatever I’m feeling really.

What do you think/hope you’ll be like four years from now?

Four years from now I hope to have so much more experience in Theater. I hope to have friendships that will last the rest of my life. And I hope my life will then have a “somewhat” clear path as to where I am going. Like right now, I’m just kind of winging it.

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