My first year and a half of college, I attended the University of Washington Seattle. I met some of the best friends of my life, and had some really awesome adventures. I’m from Seattle, so it was nice being close to home and seeing my family often, but something was missing.
I always had a life-long dream of living in California, and I felt I wasn’t getting what I need academically at the UW. It’s a great school, and I met some really great people, but it wasn’t for me.
My grades went from a 3.9 in high school to below 3.0 in college. I knew I would have relatively lower grades in college because, well, its college. But, I felt like I wasn’t really learning. My first day of freshman year, I walked into a class of 600 students. My professor had to have a microphone so students from the balconies could hear her. Whenever I tried coming in for help, there was always 20 kids cramped in an office, and the only way I got any sort of aid was from TA’s who weren’t always the best at teaching. Granted, this was a freshman intro course, so the fact that it was so big was understandable, but it felt unreasonably difficult.
Engineering is hard. I’m not going to lie. But the best thing for me is receiving help one-on-one, or at least three-on-one. I remember self-studying day and night, thinking I could’ve just bought a textbook myself and learn the course. I had peers who still managed to get good grades; peers who liked working alone. It wasn’t really for me.
But large classrooms wasn’t the only reason I left. Again, I was having so much fun! I loved my friends and clubs there. However, I felt like a drop of water in an ocean. The UW is HUGE. Feeling part of any sort of community was extremely difficult, and it was easy to feel lost (both spiritually and physically). When I came to USC, I already felt like I was part of a family. There’s only 60 sophomores studying EE at USC, and about 10 girls. Needless to say, everyone is friends. I didn’t know if the whole “Trojan Family” thing was real, but let me tell you, I’ve never felt like I’ve belonged anywhere more in my whole life.
I could go on about why I left, but the biggest reasons were academics and feeling like I belonged. I know I would be happy if I stay at UW, but I know %100 I will leave USC a stronger engineer… and with my Trojan family.