Exploring something new is always daunting. You’re so curious, and yet, asking questions makes you feel like an outsider. Where do I start? Who do I talk to? These were the questions I asked as an eager Freshman interested in real estate.
As a Marshall major, I didn’t know where to turn. There are endless resources for investment banking and consulting, but when it comes to commercial real estate you’re out of luck. I felt like there was an invisible wall between me and the real estate community on campus. That was until I joined TREA.
I vividly remember the first TREA event I ever attended, it was the first speaker panel of the year and it was all about brokerage. I walked into RGL 101 wearing pants, flip-flops, and a t-shirt. To my surprise, everyone else was donning button-downs and blazers. Horrified, I decided to make a b-line straight for the exit. But just as I stood up to leave, a girl named Shirelle introduced herself to me. She asked what grade I was in and why I was interested in real estate, boiler-plate stuff. When I asked her what she did, she told me she was the TREA president. I was shocked. Taken aback by Shirelle’s friendliness, I decided to stay for the panel. For the next hour I was bombarded by real estate lingo as foreign to my ears as Mandarin. Argus? Capital stacks? It was all new to me. Yet, despite the unfamiliarity, I was hooked. From then on I went to every TREA meeting I possibly could, constantly learning new things and meeting new people.
At a school like USC, it is hard to not feel disconnected in some ways. There are so many different microcosms, and the real estate development program is one of them. It seems like one out of every three kids has a dad who is the CEO of a major brokerage firm. Freshmen, Seniors, professors, and even the RED alumni all appear to know each other. As an outsider, that level of camaraderie is incredibly enticing, yet also very intimidating. Breaking through may feel impossible, but it is not. For those reading this who are interested in real estate but don’t know where to turn, here is my advice… Never stop trying to learn. Join TREA, take an RED class, talk to your friend’s parents in the industry. Although it may not seem like it, people in real estate are extremely friendly. Everyone wants to be a resource, not a roadblock. Your curiosity will take you where you need to go, and it will pay dividends towards your future.
By: Dylan Strode