What do engineers do on Friday nights at USC? To best answer this question as an engineer, let’s form a probability model on a bell curve, mapping the likelihood that USC engineering students go out on a typical Friday night. Maybe, several standard deviations below the mean probability of going on a Friday night adventure, a small portion of engineering students continue to study on Friday nights. And maybe, several standard deviations above the mean, a small portion of engineering students leave USC’s campus Friday night to explore Southern California throughout the weekend. And while I do recommend getting off-campus and exploring California, the majority of engineering students spend their Friday nights somewhere around the mean, either going out to dinner in Los Angeles, chilling with friends, or joining in on a party. To investigate the validity of the probability model, let’s examine the data and photographic evidence from my Friday night.
The first piece of evidence (exhibit A): At approximately 4:31 pm, on Friday, September 27th, I, the engineer in question, left USC’s rocket propulsion lab and headed back to my apartment. For the rest of the evening, I was out of the lab, preparing for that night’s sorority invite. Essentially, an invite is an off-campus dancing event where a sorority girl will invite (hence the name) a cool, good-looking, charming, funny, intelligent date (myself). Invites normally have neat themes which allow the participants to uniquely dress up. Last Friday night, the theme was ADPi’s and Bowties, and I ran back to my apartment excited for a night of dancing.
Exhibit B: At approximately 5:13 pm, upon arriving at my apartment, I realized I did not have a bowtie and frantically made several phone calls to find one. Luckily, my friend Rishabh provided me with a sporty black bowtie with white polka dots that matched nicely with my date’s blue dress. If I was going to go out on Friday night, I was going to look good doing it.
Exhibit C: At 6:47 pm, I, the engineer in question, had yet to tie my bowtie (trust me, it’s difficult) and was going to be late in meeting up with my date and girlfriend, Victoria McSweeney. Victoria and I were supposed to meet at The Lab, a pub-like restaurant across the street from USC, at 7 pm. I was going to be late.
Exhibit D: By now, it is 9:13 pm, and my cheek muscles are slightly sore from all the smiling I have done for the pre-invite pictures. Following dinner at The Lab (I got the pastrami sandwich), Victoria and I headed to a pre-invite party on the rooftop of Gateway, an apartment complex a block off-campus. From the rooftop, we get an excellent, and romantic, view of the Los Angeles skyline, and Victoria and I pose for numerous pictures against the stunning backdrop.
Exhibit E: My cheek muscles got a slight break on the walk over to the Alpha Delta Pi house on 28th Street, but the smiling began again as more pictures were taken. As the clock ticked closer and closer to 10 pm, the house began to buzz with excitement, and more and more sorority girls and their dates poured into the house’s central foyer. Among the flashes of IPhone cameras and the shouts of girls comparing outfits, I caught a quick break from the action and grabbed a glass of water while quietly sitting on a couch with Victoria. It had been a long week, filled with a statics midterm, a physics problem set, and a difficult coding assignment. But that night, I had nothing to worry about except for stepping on Victoria’s toes while dancing.
Exhibit F: 10:33 pm, and the long wait was over. The invite had finally begun! As I stepped off the bus somewhere in Hollywood, I grabbed Victoria’s hand and channeled my inner Patrick Swayze. From disco to slow dance, Victoria and I tore up the dance floor. After about an hour of dancing, we took a quick breather and headed over to the photo booth. Along the way, not surprisingly, I ran into several fellow engineers. From a distance, I spotted Gavin Moler and Zach Gima with sitting with their dates. Before reaching the photo booth, I made sure to take a picture with Lauren Howe and briefly made a return to the dance floor to dance with Sam Kaplan. That night, Viterbi had a strong presence in Hollywood, and we all looked good in dresses and bowties.
The Verdict: After examining all the evidence (Exhibit A through Exhibit F), it seems apparent that the probability model describing engineers’ activities is valid. I, the engineer in question, had a great time last Friday night and broke in a great pair of dancing shoes. The evidence from my Friday night can be extrapolated to include a larger segment of USC’s engineering population, as demonstrated by the presence of so many other Viterbi students at the ADPi’s and Bowties invite. So, this Friday night, be an engineer. Take your reward for working hard all week, and have a great Friday night. And whatever you do, have fun doing it. Remember, Friday only comes once a week!
A great pre-invite picture with my fraternity brother, Kyle