From Texas to Trojan Undergrad

My USC Story: first-year student

Freshman Oju Ajose, 18, photographed outside at the USC campus. She is smiling and looking into the camera.
My USC Story freshman Oju Ajose, 18, photographed September 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Gus Ruelas)

A Bovard Scholar and Presidential Scholarship recipient, Ojuolape Ajose – who goes by “Oju” – comes to USC from Dallas, TX with an impressive academic and leadership record and plans to double major in computer science and business administration.

Why did you choose the USC campus?

I chose USC because I felt I could get the education that efficiently addressed both of my interests. There were many schools that I was interested in that either made it difficult to study both topics, or they would boxed me in to computer science without a proper exploration of other subjects. 

I was also attracted to USC because there was this energy I felt when I stepped on campus. When I started visiting schools during my junior and senior year, I could tell within the first hour or two if I liked the school or not, and with USC, it always felt right and comfortable. The students and faculty I met cared about me and wanted me to be successful, and the environment fostered what I wanted out of my college career: a place where I can work hard to attain a good degree while having fun and growing myself as a person.

When it came to the decision period, it was between USC and Yale. I loved both schools tremendously, but I had to lean towards Yale because they gave me more financial aid. However, I received the Gates Scholarship, and this opened up the opportunity for me to choose USC without the worry of a financial burden.

What did you do when you first found out you got into USC?

I absolutely lost it. I found out in January because I was a finalist for a merit scholarship, and I immediately started screaming and running around the house. Then all the emotions hit me, and I started crying. It wasn’t the first college that had sent back an acceptance letter earlier than expected, but it felt like a burst of relief to know that one of my top schools wanted me on their campus.

What are you most excited to learn/do/experience while at the USC campus?

Academically, I’m really excited to learn about the field I’ve been interested in for so long and discover how I can put all of my many interests together to find a career that’s best for me.

Socially, I’m excited to be in an environment of people who all worked hard to get here and want to see themselves and their peers succeed. Already, I’ve met many Trojans from different backgrounds and with amazing stories that just encourages me to do better.

(Also, football games of course. Hopefully the football team makes a comeback season!)

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

I have these blankets that my mom gave me a few years ago, and they’re the softest and most comfortable blankets I’ve ever had. My favorite one is this ivory blanket with dogs in scarves littered all over it. This may sound really trivial or childish, but they’re really important to me because my mom passed away back in 2014. It makes me feel closer to her when I’m using it.

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

I hope that I’ve been able to utilize all my resources at USC and am prepared to take on whatever career I’ve chosen. I hope that I’ve grown socially and was able to make authentic relationships with my peers and professors. I hope I’ll be five steps closer to the person I want to become.

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