Big Name On Campus
Storm Reid on college life at USC, balancing school and acting career, and friendship with Zendaya.

Storm Reid Calls College “The Best Decision” She’s Made

The USC junior admits she initially felt like a “fish out of water.”

Fans might recognize Storm Reid as Rue’s supportive younger sister, Gia Bennett, on Euphoria, but IRL, the 20-year-old is a college student balancing bestie hangouts and study seshes with a successful acting career. After applying to college during the pandemic to get a sense of normalcy, Reid is now a junior at the University of Southern California.

“I was feeling very fulfilled as a young working person, but I wasn’t getting the experiences that people my age were getting, like going to football games and the regular kid stuff,” the former child star tells Elite Daily.

Unlike many college students, Reid already had a stacked resume before her first day of school. She was just 14 when she starred opposite Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon in A Wrinkle A Time, and she’s since been in Don’t Let Go, The Suicide Squad, and The Invisible Man. The actor, who’s studying dramatic arts with a minor in African American studies, hopes that her education can help her hone her craft while also giving her the college experience she was hoping for.

Three years in, Reid says university life has lived up to her expectations, thanks to a mix of “lifelong friends and amazing memories.” While balancing her career with school isn’t always easy — the Atlanta, Georgia, native struggles with FOMO from missing campus events — she’s got her study routine down, thanks to tips she’s picked up from the “Study With Me” side of TikTok.

Below, Reid dishes on sharing her fave study hacks in a new “Study With Me” video with Apple, how she’s taking cues from co-star Zendaya on fame as a young actor, and what’s next.

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Elite Daily: You’re a junior at USC. When did you know you wanted to go to college, and how did you choose USC?

Storm Reid: During the pandemic, I submitted applications to four colleges. USC was my top two choice, and I ended up choosing it because it's obviously a great school and close to home, but it also was going to be good for my work schedule. Having to travel between the East Coast and West Coast for school was just not going to be ideal, so I think I landed in the perfect place.

ED: What's been your favorite part of college life so far? Has it lived up to what you thought it would be?

SR: Oh, absolutely. College was probably the best decision I could have made. It's given me so many opportunities to make friends and lifelong connections, and have the memories and experiences that a lot of young people get during this time. I'm just grateful for it all, and I can't believe it's almost over.

ED: What's going to college like after being a child star?

SR: I haven’t been in a traditional school for a really long time, so it was very scary and I felt like a fish out of water at first. But it’s a blessing to be here, and I'm able to balance the best of both worlds. I'm experiencing amazing things that young adults my age are not getting to do at this time in their lives, and then I'm getting the experience that all of us are getting at college, like going to the parties and football games.

So, even though I lacked the academic and social part of my teenage years a little bit, I think that was fixed when I got to college.

ED: Do you ever feel FOMO or like you're missing out when you're working or doing a project instead of doing college?

SR: Oh yes, absolutely. I get FOMO all the time when something's happening on campus and I'm at work or out of town. It’s almost worse when I’m out of the country because then I’m like, “I couldn’t even get there fast enough if I wanted to” if I did a flight for the weekend.

ED: How do you deal with that?

SR: It’s bittersweet, but you also have to recognize that while you’re not on campus doing this or that, you’re doing something else that you dreamed of or worked really hard for. It’s about putting things into perspective and being grateful for it all.

ED: Have there been any instances that you've flown back for specifically and then gone back to work?

SR: I'm really big on birthdays, so I hate missing people's birthdays. There have been two instances where two really important people in my life at the time had birthdays and I was working, but I flew in and did a whole birthday thing and then flew right back out. There have also been some school activities or parties where I’ve tried to come back or extend my time at school to get all of the experiences and memories possible.

ED: Do you get recognized in class or on campus?

SR: I still get recognized, but people don't really bother me. I think they're used to seeing me now, but there are occasionally people who will say something, or someone will come up to me and we'll talk a little bit.

ED: Did this make it harder to make a core group of friends?

SR: Yeah, both when I was a freshman and now as a junior. You never know what people's intentions are with anything that you do. You should always pick your friends wisely if you have the opportunity to, no matter what you do or where you are. That’s always going to be a thing in the back of my head — to choose my friends wisely.

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ED: You’ve said you can “always” go to “big sis” Zendaya, who was also a child star. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from her for navigating fame at a young age?

SR: Zendaya is obviously such an inspiration for me, and the best advice is something she hasn't even said. It's unspoken, but it's just the ways in which she moves throughout the world. Even though she has had a lot of fame for a really long time and her career and trajectory only continue to grow, she's still who she is. Zendaya's unapologetically herself — she's kind, she's gracious, and she really cares about the people in her life and the world at large.

She's a great representation for young women — specifically young girls who look like me — that no matter what you're doing in the world, how famous you are, and how many followers you have, you can still be a good person with a good heart. Of course, my mom raised me that way, but it's different being able to see it firsthand with somebody else.

ED: Tell me about the study technique in your new “Study With Me” video with Apple, which is 25 minutes of studying followed by a five-minute break.

SR: I found out about the Pomodoro [time management] technique from watching other “study with me” videos. It's essential in my study routine — it's good to prioritize things and not procrastinate to get all your work done, but it’s also important to give your brain and your body a break for successful studying sessions. Being able to have these specific time slots with breaks is refreshing when you're trying to take in so much information.

ED: What are some of your desk must-haves to help you focus?

SR: You're not supposed to be on your phone while you're studying, but my phone is always next to me playing music. I do most of my studying and homework assignments on my computer, so I’ll have that. I tend to get cold, so I’ll have a jacket too, and I like to take regular notes, so I’ll have a notebook to jot things down.

As long as I have those things and a beverage — either a healthy smoothie or a kombucha-type drink — I’m set.

ED: What are some of your favorite ways to unwind at school when you aren't studying or working?

SR: I love hanging out with my friends. We don't live on campus anymore — it's not harder to get to each other, but it does take a little bit more time and effort. I also like coming home, throwing my backpack down, turning on some music, and just disassociating a little bit.

When school is over, school is over. Once I've done all my homework, I put the computer up, and I’ll go to dinner or cook dinner and relax. Self-care in between work and school looks different, but as long as I'm taking time for myself, whatever that may look like, it makes me happy.

ED: You’re majoring in dramatic arts and minoring in African American studies. What direction are you hoping to take your career after graduation?

SR: Obviously being in the school of dramatic arts helps me continue to perfect my craft and figure out what type of artist that I want to be. So that will hopefully be beneficial in my career as an actress and producer.

Studying African and African American studies (AFAM) is really personal for me, trying to figure out what my heritage and culture are and learning about my ancestors and the people who have paved the way before me so I could be in the space that I’m in today. I think the things I learn will continue to inform me, the projects I choose to be a part of, and the stories I tell.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.