Julia De Luca is used to change. Due to her mother’s job relocation, she was forced to switch high schools midway through, and as a result, became intimately acquainted with the meaning of “culture shock.”
History seemed destined to repeat itself last year when De Luca once again found her life in transition, only this time as a new transfer student at USD. She transferred in from Mira Costa Community College in Fall 2012. While the circumstances may seem similar, there is one important distinction.
“This was the easiest transition I’ve ever had; I’m actually happy to come to school each day!” De Luca says with a laugh.
It appears that De Luca, a third-year business administration major and newly elected president of USD’s Transfer Student Organization (TSO), has easily found her niche in her new home. But it’s still important to note that De Luca made a deliberate choice to truly utilize her time at USD.
“I came in with a different frame of mind,” she says. “This was my last chance to get involved; it was my last transition, so I decided to try some new things.”
For De Luca, “new things” involved putting herself in situations outside of her comfort zone. On the USD transfer students’ boat cruise in September, she found the courage to talk to new people and make connections. A lighthearted dare from a friend is to thank for that.
“My friends dared me to go and talk to a group of people on the boat cruise because we thought they were freshman and didn’t know what they were doing there,” De Luca explains with a smile. “I got up my twenty seconds of courage, realized I had nothing to lose, and did it. I’ve been carrying on those twenty seconds of courage since then.”
It might seem like a small moment, but De Luca has been continually implementing her newfound courage. She took full advantage of USD’s Torero Days orientation period at the beginning of the year, citing those few crucial days at the starting point for most of her friendships at USD. The initial commitment to trying new things was the hardest part, but De Luca explains that it’s still not always easy.
“Making that initial step was the hardest thing. Once I was past that point, I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it’s rewarding.”
De Luca also cites the former leaders of TSO as inspiration. “The people who welcomed me at the beginning made this a happy transition.”
Two of the most influential students she’s met are Dustin Adler and Laudan Yavari, the former TSO president and vice president, respectively.
“I want to thank them for making me feel that I have a place at USD,’ De Luca said. “When you come to a new school you don’t really know where to begin, and they inspire the transfers. I hope to continue on what they’ve been doing.”
De Luca has big plans for her next year as TSO president, including talk of a potential pool party on campus. As for her own future, De Luca hopes to eventually get her real estate broker’s license, but she also has a passion for party planning. Wherever the future takes her, De Luca knows a few things for certain.
“I want to get married and have lots of kids, but also help as many as possible.”
— Taylor Milam