An Early Start

On her way to her first class of the semester, California Gamma Marie Griffith took some time to meet with me for a quick interview. When asked what class she was off to, Marie replied, “History of Ethics to 1900s – Plato, Thoreau…” Whoa, that’s interesting, I thought to myself!

Marie has always been a standout and her path to University of Southern California (USC) is truly unique. USC was a top choice so she could stay close to family in her hometown of San Juan Capistrano, California. After taking her PSAT exam in her junior year of high school, Marie received a letter encouraging her to apply to the Resident Honors Program (RHP), USC’s early entrance program. Initially, Marie was iffy about applying as only a handful of high school juniors around the world are chosen and she was uncertain if she would be selected. But that spring, Marie found out she was one of 14 individuals to be accepted, and had three months to prepare to go to college in the fall and forego her senior year of high school.

In fall 2012, Marie left home to start her college career early. It was also in that semester that she joined Pi Beta Phi, a full year younger than her peers! Marie has continued to excel academically at USC and as a member of California Gamma, most recently serving as the outgoing Chapter President. From this role, she learned good discipline and how to manage people because “it was more work than anticipated, so I had to learn to delegate,” she said. It was a valuable experience — one she knows most jobs cannot offer her.

With all that she has on her plate, Marie holds tight to the advice from her mother. “Giving to others helps in your self-preservation,” she said. “You do best when you’re bucket is full and content.”

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