A Semester in Review: The Fall of my Sophomore Year

Alex-2016 Alex, Viterbi Life 0 Comments

Oh the places I will go! Or maybe it’s the places that I’ve been? Who knows! But I do know that this past semester has been thrilling and filled with a multitude of memorable experiences. Here is a countdown of my top ten memories, in chronological order!

10. Moving into my apartment

This semester, I moved off-campus, and, for the first time, I was basically on my own. I had my own kitchen and my own bathroom, not to mention my own responsibility to keep the entire place clean! I loved the new responsibilities and quickly (tried to) cook gourmet meals. I even hosted a few get-togethers at my new place, putting the space to good use!

 

9. Freshfest

Days after moving into my new apartment, I went on Freshfest, an orientation program for incoming Jewish freshmen. While bunking in cabins deep in the Simi Valley, I met several freshmen who would become my best friends, and the relaxation of swimming and playing basketball non-stop was a great start to the academic semester.

Coco's Challah Company

Coco’s Challah Company

 

8. Ballroom Dancing

While I am no Patrick Swayze, I can now effectively tango, cha-cha, rumba, salsa, waltz, Foxtrot, and swing, and I have developed an absolute love of dancing. My Monday and Wednesday evenings became my study breaks, and I enjoyed forgetting engineering for a little while and focusing on my dancing footwork. The instructor, Jay Fuentes, always kept me on my toes, and I really never knew what to expect when I attended class.

 

Ballroom Dance with Sarah

Ballroom Dance with Sarah

7. The Rocket Lab Rocket Launch

Travelling 15 hours to Black Rock Desert, Nevada, to launch Traveller, Rocket Lab’s space shot rocket, was easily the highlight of my semester. Watching the rocket’s engines ignite and the rocket travelling skyward in a cloud of dust was a beautiful sight. While camping in the desert, I also developed new friendships with several members of Rocket Lab, and I enjoyed working on Traveller on as a lone engineering student but as part of a larger team.

Pre-Launch Picture!

Pre-Launch Picture!

 

6. Tamid: Consulting for SpaceIL

How many college students have consulted for a $26 million company? Not many! I am proud to have worked for SpaceIL, an Israeli aerospace company, throughout this semester. By researching the company’s main competitors, I hope to enable SpaceIL to reach the moon before the other participants in Google’s Lunar X-Prize, a $20 million award to the first team to successfully land a mobile rover on the moon. While working on the project, I have gained a deeper appreciation for the Israeli people and the effects of engineering in a global society. Furthermore, gathering business intelligence on space-bound companies has exposed me to impressive, new space technologies, both in America and abroad. Hopefully, I will, one day, have the opportunity to work for an innovative company like those in the Google Lunar X-Prize!

5. Parent’s Weekend

My parents are my greatest supporters and friends, and I loved being able to show my mother everything I am doing at USC. Between Rocket Lab and Tamid, my mother could not believe all the space-related projects I was involved in. Instead of going to the football game, my mother and I just spend time together, watching Ocean’s 11 on my new apartment furniture and just talking. I loved seeing my mother (and all the accompanying free meals)!

 

Parent's Weekend Relaxation

Parent’s Weekend Relaxation

4. Halloween (Week)

Halloween at USC is an experience and never lasts only one night. On the Wednesday night prior to Halloween, I dressed as a cowboy in my ballroom dance class. On Halloween itself, after a day filled with classes, I dressed up as Pokemon’s Pikachu and made several party appearances with several of my good friends. The next day, Friday evening, my girlfriend and I turned heads with an amazing costume: Ginny Weasley and Harry Potter. That night, Victoria and I participated in her sorority’s date event, on which we went mini golfing and raced in bumper cars! Between my round glasses, Gryffindor pin, and wand, I could have easily passed as Daniel Radcliffe.

 

Ginny and Harry!

Ginny and Harry!

3. Sigma Alpha Mu Formal

The Saturday night following Halloween mini golfing, my fraternity had our Fall Formal Invite, an off-campus dance at a neat venue. As social chair, I planned the entire event, booking everything from the buses to the venue to the photo booth. After weeks of working with hotel staff and the bus company, I loved dancing the night away at the event, which took place in the the Radisson Hotel’s penthouse ballroom overlooking LAX.

Posing in the Photobooth!

Posing in the Photobooth!

2. Storming the Field

Beating fourth-ranked Stanford in football was one thing. Storming the field was a whole another animal, and an experience truly impossible to obtain outside of a university with a great athletics tradition. As the clock expired, I remember the rush of students explode from the Northeast corner of the Coliseum, and I quickly joined in the fray, jumping over seats to reach the field. Once on the field, I, with thousands of students at my back, made my way toward the USC logo at the center, thanking every football player I saw along the way. At the center of the field, I looked back at the stands and let go an overwhelmed sigh of relief.

 

Stanford Who?

Stanford Who?

1.  Hillel Prom and My Birthday

Last, but certainly not least, Hillel Prom. Promoted as a “Throwback to the 90’s”, the prom brought out wild, and often misguided, exaggerations of 90’s hairstyles and clothing, and I myself donned a flannel and a pair of beat-up jeans for the dance. Between dancing and singing along to my favorite hits of the 90’s, I made sure to frequent the photo booth and spend time with several friends after a long week of work. The night of Hillel Prom was also my birthday, and afterwards several of my good friends broke out a cake and balloons. I truly could not have asked for a better birthday!

Throwing It Back to the 90's: Couples' Edition

Throwing It Back to the 90’s: Couples’ Edition

With only few weeks left in the semester, I enjoy looking back at all the places I’ve gone and all the things I’ve done. This semester, I have truly been lucky. May next semester be even better!

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