It’s midterm season, ya’ll. (I’m allowed to type ya’ll, I was born in North Carolina). You know what that means? All-nighters, dark under eye circles, growing hatred for your field of study… All that good stuff! You know what helps ease the pain/makes the nights spent in Leavey kind of better? Caffeine! Oh, caffeine, you’re one hell of a kind-of-drug.

You know what also makes midterms season a little better? Netflix. When I’m not working, I’m numbing my mind and soul with the greatest 90s movies Netflix has to offer. Clueless. Drive Me Crazy. Cruel Intentions. My Best Friend’s Wedding. Cinematic gems, truly.

What happens when you combine USC’s caffeine options and 90s chick flicks? THIS ARTICLE.


She’s All That: The Place Formerly Known/Loved as TroGro

Oh, Starbucks, I wasn’t really sure that I’d see your mermaid logo on campus during my time at SC. While I’m glad you’re repping the cardinal and gold, I’m not completely sure how I feel about you overtaking the place once known as Trojan Grounds. You see, Trojan Grounds has created memories for generations of Trojans. It was our midnight mecca – the only place that will give us a sugar rush at 3am. I was really into the gas station convenience store vibe. Now it’s so classy!



TroGro vs. StarbucksGro (quirky/lovable vs. generically hot)


It’s just like that transformative scene in every makeover chick flick. You know that the new version of the lead character is prettier and cooler and you’re supposed to like her more. Case in point: Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) in She’s All That. You’re meant to be happy that she’s Come So Far and can finally be with the Hot Lead Guy (aka Freddie Prinze Jr.).

Pre-makeover Laney (aka TroGro) ISN’T INTERESTED IN YOUR FANCY DRINKS (pictured right)

But somehow I always miss the Laney who was into performance art and wearing gyro hats. She was always beautiful! Hot Lead Guy’s little sister just gave her lipstick and contact lenses. Now she’s just a generic hot girl (or, you know, a generic Starbucks).

I miss you, TroGro.


Mean Girls: Campus Center Coffee Bean

Whenever I go to the Campus Center Coffee Bean, I feel like I’m interrupting the workers. I’m not a customer, I’m an inconvenience. I’ve been there maybe fifteen times. They’ve messed up my order at least ten. I think it’s awesome that everyone who works there gets along and loves each other, but I feel like the dorky kid trying to sit at the cool kid table whenever I go up to the cashier. She looks at me like I’m crazy for trying to get my coffee. It hurts. Plus they never actually take the tax off my order with my USC ID. Total Regina Georges, all of them (except for the really nice older ladies who sometimes work there – they are wonderful caffeine providers).

“What do you MEAN you want coffee?! How dare you interrupt my socializing!!!”

Last time I went, I asked a very basic question about their pumpkin spice latte equivalent and the woman glared at me, turned to her BFF in the back and proceeded to have a two-minute conversation, mocking my question. I was like, “Okay, it’s fine, don’t worry!” and walked away quickly so I could go feel sorry for myself at Seeds.


Never Been Kissed: Ground Zero

Every single time I walk into Ground Zero, I feel like Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed. The people who work at Ground Zero are so much cooler than I am. Ground Zero itself is so much cooler than every other place at USC. The lights. The music. The names of the drinks (Tea-riffic, anyone?).

How I look when I walk into Ground Zero

Sometimes the baristas/baristos have such perfectly hip hair and nonchalance that I have trouble making eye contact. “There’s a four dollar minimum on debit cards,” they tell me kindly as I try to order my $3.75 drink. Like Barrymore’s Josie, I speak out the side of my mouth awkwardly as I confirm that they can charge me four dollars because I am so intimidated by/oddly attracted to the baristo.

Me daydreaming of being cool enough for Ground Zero

As I wait for my drink (way too close to the counter), I imagine an alternate universe where I am a Ground Zero worker and know how to make all these great milkshakes/be that cool.


Superstar: School of Cinematic Arts’ Coffee Bean

I know, I know. Superstar isn’t really a chick flick. I’m making an exception because Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell and 90s SNL players add up to a truly fantastic 90s movie experience.


In the SCA Coffee Bean line, we are all superstars.

Waiting in line at the SCA Coffee Bean is a uniquely USC experience. There are a lot of Mary Katherine Gallagher-types (please go watch Superstar if you don’t get this reference). As a film student myself, I know that most of the conversations I have in the SCA Coffee Bean line have a lot of Superstar subtext. All the talk about pre-production and post-production and 310 filming on the weekend translates fairly directly to this: “There was only one way I’d ever get what I wanted. I would have to become exactly like those people in the movies. I would have to become… a superstar.”


The film student dream? My dream, at least.

Meanwhile, as the film students have their conversations, there’s another significant population: the dental students. Since the dental school is right across the street, a lot of scrubs-wearing people get their caffeine fix at SCA.

Film students and dental students seem to have one thing in common: sleep deprivation. You know, for their respective arts. Sleep deprivation and passion for teeth/film combined with how unending the Coffee Bean line is lead to a lot of potential daydreaming. Maybe like this. I don’t know.

I imagine a world where the film students and dental students come together to create a moment like this (pardon the high-quality clip).


Good luck on midterms and always remember that Netflix has a great selection of 90s movies.