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Empathy: Why I Dropped Out and Returned to USC

Length: 33 pages31 minutes


When I was 23-years-old, I had dropped out of USC just one semester shy of completing my degree. On the surface, my immediate aim was to pursue my love for the performing arts. However, upon closer inspection, my relatively privileged life had isolated me from the day-to-day struggles; therefore, I needed to venture out into the real world minus the coveted degree in order to study our society on a personal level, much like Siddhartha from the Hermann Hesse novel or the Santiago character from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. As the years progressed, I noticed that my performances were leaning more toward education (challenging the mind) rather than mere entertainment (escapism). As a corollary, once I had discovered my “Personal Legend” in the real world like Santiago, I navigated home to the University of Southern California to finish my final semester as an undergraduate in the fall of 2016.

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