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A Valentine’s Day Love Letter to USC

Gamecocks are garnet, our Horseshoe is pretty.
Columbia has been the perfect college city.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: as a Gamecock, I have no limits.
This motto has been etched into my brain from the minute I stepped on campus here in Columbia, South Carolina. Every student, every professor, every person I meet at USC has exemplified the same superb qualities and values that the university reflects. To be a Gamecock is to be fearless. It is to make sacrifices for your education and for your future. To be a Gamecock is to take the time to perfect the skills your professors and mentors have seen in you and to use these skills to better the world around you. The opportunities given to the students at USC to make a difference in the world go far beyond those of a normal university.
Oh, the opportunities.
I love going outside of my comfort zone. I like putting myself out there and trying new things to experience different parts of the community. USC gave me so many opportunities to do just this that now my comfort zone is so far stretched. I applied for internships, joined different student organizations, and even held different leadership roles in these organizations because the resources at USC gave me the confidence to go out and make a change. Even students who don’t have the same outgoing personality as I do have the opportunity to get involved on campus. With over 400 student organizations, there is literally a place for everyone to fit in. From University 101 to intramurals to Greek organizations to Dance Marathon, the list of places to take action on campus goes on and on.
The ability and expectation to have a lasting impact on campus and embody the Gamecock spirit stems from our university president, Dr. Harris Pastides. Dr. Pastides is not like most presidents. Everyone on campus knows him and would easily recognize him in a crowd. He supports many organizations and takes the time to take pictures with students as he’s walking down Greene Street. He loves the University of South Carolina and the students on our campus and supports the many ideas our students have. Having a president this involved and this exceptional truly carries over into the student body and reflects in the atmosphere of our school.
Speaking of atmosphere, let me tell you about my favorite atmosphere at the University of South Carolina.
Saturdays in Columbia during the fall semester is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Football season is the only reason I would willingly wake up at 6 a.m. to cheer on and support a team that goes 3-9 for the season (it was even more worth it when we went 9-4 this past season). The first game of the season is always the most exciting. The stadium will fill completely and if it’s a night game, students and fans will begin tailgating early in the morning. As soon as 2001 begins to play, the stadium starts to shake. The roar of the student section will pierce your soul to the point where it’s almost quiet. It’s a numbness that I never got used to and I honestly never want to get used to it. To be a Gamecock is not just to be a student, but to be a part of a family that bleeds the same garnet and black as you.
My love for the University of South Carolina is endless. Every aspect of the university captivated me since the day I received my accepted letter in December of 2013. The education I have received has been phenomenal and has prepared me for my future. The friends I’ve made will last a lifetime and my mentors will continue to play a role in shaping my professional development and character. The passions that have engulfed me will continue to grow and my life will revolve around finding a way to expand those passions forever.
The many tears and many laughs. The nights that I thought I wasn’t going to graduate and the days I knew I was ready for the real world. The many meals I ate while running to class and the trains I got stuck behind while running late for class. The pride to be a student at USC and the overwhelming sense of belonging. All of these feelings may stay behind in Columbia when I graduate in May, but I’ll never stop bleeding garnet and black.
The University of South Carolina is more than just a school.
The University of South Carolina is a home.
Author Jacki Fish is a senior at the University of South Carolina. She believes in changing the world for the better. She works toward that goal in everything she does. Whether it’s her local children’s hospital, the atmosphere of her school, or even just someone’s day, she wants to change the outcome of something for the better. You can learn more about her and see more of her work at her website.

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