Catching up with Alumni: Sam Putnam '19

Catching up with Alumni: Sam Putnam '19
Catching up with Alumni: Sam Putnam '19

Each week we celebrate and connect with our alumni community. This week, we caught up with Sam Putnam '19 who is a current student at USC. Read on to hear how he is adjusting to life after Breck!

Please tell us about your first year at the University of Southern California, and what you enjoyed most about college.
Just like I found my home at Breck, I also found an equally strong community at the University of Southern California (USC) this past year. While I spent my freshman year at USC, the program I am a part of, the World Bachelor in Business, takes me abroad to Hong Kong and Milan over the next two years. Therefore, I felt that I truly had to take advantage of my limited time at USC. Some of my favorite moments include going out to comedy shows in Hollywood, traveling to the Mammoth Lakes area for a backpacking trip, and experiencing the buzz that is our home football games. Beach to peak access was pretty nice too!
What are the immediate impacts of COVID-19 for people in college, and what does your new day-to-day learning look like?
While the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the United States began only a month ago, I’ve been actively following the impact of this virus since January because the second year of my program is scheduled to take place in Hong Kong. Though college campuses closed and sent students home to take virtual classes in a similar fashion, I’ve noticed that the individual impact of this shift on people within my network has been vastly different. For some students, sleeping in and additional family time is welcome. For others, losing the structure and energy of college campus life has been devastating. I fall somewhere in the middle. I appreciate the time I now have to spend with the most important people in my life, my family, but I also miss the depth of exploration and exposure I experienced at USC. Now, I am driven to bring the structure and energy of campus life to my current situation as much as possible by setting physical training, learning, and social goals. I’ve found that it is important to continue broadening areas of interest and friendships regardless of our current situation. Setting achievable goals has been transformative and has brought back the elements of my life that are most important to me during this challenging time.
What is the impact on your learning next year with your plan to study abroad for a year? How do you continue to prepare for that?
Believe it or not, I just sent in my Hong Kong Visa Application! While I have not known the short term future of my program due to a variety of events taking place in Hong Kong over the past year, I believe college is all about uncertainty—dynamic, changing situations have fueled my own personal growth. All I can do is have hope, persistence, and faith in what is to come, even if the world is telling you no.
Is there anything that is helping you to stay positive right now, or has helped over the past month?
Whenever my thoughts wander into negativity, I remind myself of the work of our brave medical warriors. Whenever I think about the things I could be doing under normal circumstances, I remind myself of what really matters: my family and my health. And whenever I feel isolated, I remind myself of the support I have from the people in two of my most cherished communities: my Trojan and Breck families.
Sam can be reached on LinkedIn at:

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