Out of Towners Grow Accustomed to life in L.A

Four freshmen on the Trojan football team have hometowns outside of California. They haven't been here long, just long enough to gather initial impressions about the city of Los Angeles, USC and playing at the college level.

When you're 18 years old, the idea of college is exciting.

It sounds like freedom, independence, parties, all the movies and television shows add an infinite amount of positive adjectives.

But the reality—the frozen meals, the heavy classwork, the coin-operated laundry—that's rarely discussed.

At USC, most of the students hail from California.

So to Lamar Dawson, Anthony Sarao, Cyrus Hobbi, Aundrey Walker and the hundreds of other freshmen that can't zip on the 405 to pick up a meal or jot on the 101 to do laundry, they have to make do.

"There's no place like home but California is a great place and I can call it my home," Walker, an Ohio native, said.

But Dawson, Sarao, Hobbi and Walker don't just have to move states to attend college. They also don't have the same luxury of time to meet friends or take on extracurricular activities. They are football players at a school that prides itself on its academics, its location and its football.

"Kentucky is just more of a small town [vibe], everybody knows everybody here it's a big city just hard to get used to," inside linebacker Dawson said, who hails from the city of Danville.

Sometimes a transplant can blend in. Heck, Los Angeles is the biggest melting pot in the country. Other times, though, your hometown can't help but be an imprint.

"People know I'm from the east coast when they hear me talk," Sarao said, a native of Albsecon, New Jersey.

While accents or a license plate can make a student stand out, that difference can reap its own benefits.

"It's not really a bad different, it's a good different. They all take me in," Sarao said. "I'm definitely meeting all types of people [here]."

Some freshman can't relate to homesickness. Marcus Martin, an offensive guard from Crenshaw High, lives "two blocks" from USC.

"My family is right down the street, my support is here, my Crenshaw [High] family is here, everyone is here and they all support me and what I'm doing so whenever I'm down I can go to them," Martin said.

Players from out of town can't say the same.

"I'm not necessarily [homesick] but I wish I could just go home on a regular day," Dawson said.

While the non-Californians don't have their moms nearby to take them to the dentist, they have a slew of staff at their disposal for practically anything else.

"Coaching has helped me a lot right now, with all the plays and schemes it's a lot different and it's helped [with the move]," Sarao said.

Another plus the players get that an ordinary student doesn't: Food. Lots of it.

"Oh the Galen [Center], I never ate this much ever and during camp I usually lose about 5 to 10 pounds, I kept my weight this whole camp so that's thanks to the Galen," Sarao said.

Then again, there's no cooking like your family's kitchen.

"I miss my mom's and grandma's cooking but the food out here is nice," Dawson said.

Dawson said he enjoys chains like Subway and Panda Express when he's not eating at the Galen Center, but doesn't enjoy his native-based chain Kentucky Fried Chicken.

"It don't taste the same out here."


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