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National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

Horseshoe Scholars

Brianna Surratt

Hume-Fogg Academic High School
Nashville, Tennessee

I came to USC trying to find perfection in everything I did; I leave it in search of passion and community above all. 

Impactful experience: 
I joined Ink! Undergraduate English Association my freshman year in the midst of the overwhelming clamor to “Join clubs! and "Find other people who share your interests!” Slowly but surely, that club has become an inextricable part of my life. I have met lifelong friends there and have heard many beautiful voices share an endless variety of experiences in a space that allows them to express themselves through creative writing. I became president rather reluctantly, scared of a daunting challenge that has rewarded me especially because of its challenges. Clubs and organizations are an integral part to finding that all-important necessity, community. 

Enjoy most as a TS: 
By far the best thing about being a Top Scholar was the instant community and safety net. Even the Honors College is a big and overwhelming space for an eighteen year old moving away from home for the first time, but I already had a support system to go to from day one if I needed anything or just someone to talk to. The frequent events and social activities also helped me, a naturally insular and introverted person, to interact with other people on a regular basis. Even now, four years later and much more self-sufficient, I still find that there are questions I can’t ask anyone else but Jan and the NFSP team or my classmates in the Scholar GroupMe. 

You hear a lot about the senior thesis in the Honors College, and it becomes very intimidating. When I finally had to pick a topic, I panicked. To make things easier, I decided to choose the topic the same way I chose my major: what did I get the most excited about? I was taking a Jane Austen class at the time and also planning to study in England. I loved Austen, so I chose literary tourism as my thesis topic. Suddenly, I was having way too much fun working on the Very Scary Project that had loomed over my first years. With this project, I learned to always follow my passion, even if it doesn’t sound as earth-shattering as what everyone else is doing.

Post-graduate plans: 
Brianna is looking forward to moving back to Nashville and finding a job that utilizes her research, leadership, and hopefully her literary skills before eventually going to grad school. 

Career goals/professional aspirations: 
I have learned a lot about myself over the last four years, and that has taught me what to look for in a job. I need to find someplace where I am passionate about what I am doing – specifically, something that helps people learn and experience new points of view, particularly related to my passion for literature.   

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.