It’s been less than a week since I left you at USC and it’s all still so surreal to me.
30 years after grandma left me at USC I was now doing the same with you. I had prepared for that moment for as long as I can remember and yet unloading your boxes and moving them into your dorm room still felt at times like an out of body experience. I went through a roller coaster of emotions in the day and a half I spent helping you get acclimated to your new home away from home. It brought back so many memories for me. Back when I arrived at USC I was nervous and shy. Not you! You were so comfortable and confident that I couldn’t help but feel relieved. Whatever anxiety we may have felt when we left that morning appeared to dissipate the minute you stepped on campus. You were right where you belonged and I could feel it every bit as much as I’m sure you did. Seeing how quickly you connected to your roommate made me smile inside. My USC roomie Nancy, as you know, became and remains my best friend. I couldn’t wait to call her on my way home to Arizona to tell her how I think you found your Nancy! We giggled remembering those early days and how having each other made the adjustment so much easier. I’m so happy you have someone you enjoy to share this experience with.
The morning before I left campus, seeing you in the black robe for the new student procession and convocation brought-on a constant flow of tears. USC didn’t have such a ceremony when I was there so this was a new experience for me too. When the USC President talked about the caliber of the new students in front of him, I cried. You were one of them and hearing him thank YOU for choosing USC and officially welcoming YOU to the Trojan family cemented your place in a tradition that has been such a point of pride in our family. You are officially a third generation Trojan now and you earned your place there with the hard work and dedication you have put toward your studies, your community and your character through the years. These next four years you will be challenged intellectually beyond anything you’ve ever experienced and you’ll be exposed to some of the best minds in the world. Embrace every second of it. As the USC President said so perfectly during the convocation, “The choices you make today will shape who you are tomorrow.” I cried again at that moment almost as much as I cried when I said good-bye to you just a short time later. I cried because as much as I know your dad was with us that day beaming from heaven, he wasn’t there to physically share it with us and for that I will always cry. He wanted nothing more than for you to carry on the Trojan family legacy and while I know he would have supported you no matter where you ended up – this is a dream come true. I did cry after I left you. But rest assured, they were tears of joy. Pure joy. You were content, excited and in your comfort zone. Nothing makes me happier. This is your time to shine and these next four years – you will shine brighter than any of us has ever seen. You are already amazing going into USC. I get chills just thinking about the even more remarkable person you will be when you come out.
Fight on, baby girl! I am so very proud of you.