March 2020 lasted a whole year, but April 2020 felt like it was only a week long. As May approaches, so does the May 1st college decision deadline, when seniors have to put down their deposit and decide, after the long college application process, where they’ll be spending their next four years.

Deciding where to go to college is a universally stressful experience that most students can relate to. Whether it’s choosing between a local school or a larger university, somewhere in state or out of state, or even just the type of school you want to go to, the college decision process is a complicated, important, and stressful endeavor. When I went through that process two years ago, I didn’t know what school I would attend until a few days before the May 1st deadline.

Deciding where to go to college was a very difficult decision, but being on the other side of that decision, it is easy to look back and recognize that I made the right choice in becoming a Trojan.

One of the major reasons I chose to attend USC was the diversity in academics and extracurriculars. Though I love being an engineer and enjoy taking STEM classes, I also have a passion for history, film, and environmental science. USC is an incredibly well rounded school, and I have had incredible opportunities to explore my passions outside of engineering and take fun classes on topics like poetry and musicals. Everyone has heard the idea of using college to explore interests and try something new, and I truly feel that USC is a great place to be more than just an engineer and get involved in areas outside of STEM!

Another reason why I chose USC was because of the Trojan family. Some schools I was admitted to were very cutthroat, and students would often talk about how they had to work alone to be the best. At USC, I learned from students and professors that collaboration isn’t only allowed, but encouraged. From study groups to group chats for majors and classes to projects and activities during class, the Trojan family is an incredibly supportive group of people who work to lift each other up academically and professionally. Saying “fight on!”, as cheesy as it might sound, connects us all together and reminds us that at USC, you’re part of a network of people who have the resources and desire to support one another.

In addition to the opportunities at USC and the positive environment, the location of USC played a large role in my college decision. Southern California is a truly amazing place, and Los Angeles has many fun activities, meaningful history, and incredible opportunities to offer! In my three years at USC, I have been on a class field trip to see the San Andreas fault, went to Disneyland (twice!) with my science and engineering sorority Alpha Omega Epsilon, had a beach bonfire with the Society of Women Engineers, worked with the education department at the California Science Center, and have had many afternoon and nights spent with friends at incredible restaurants, beautiful museums and centers, and fun amusement parks and concerts. All of these experiences were possible because of USC’s central location in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Though the traffic can be bothersome, going to school in Los Angeles presents incredible opportunities for academic, professional, and personal growth and experiences

As I wrap up my third year at USC, I am so grateful that I had resources in my senior year of high school to learn more about the school and ultimately make the decision to become a member of the Trojan family. For anyone who is uncertain about where they want to go to college, I would definitely recommend talking with current students, professors, and alumni and learning more about student experiences (like you’re doing now!) to gain a better sense of what school is the right fit for you. Good luck with your decisions, and fight on!

Christina Najm

Christina Najm

MAJOR: Environmental Engineering YEAR: Class of 2021 HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, California PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @tina.najm On campus I conducted undergraduate research in wastewater treatment technology through the environmental engineering department and am involved in Alpha Omega Epsilon (a social and professional sorority for women in STEM), the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, and the Society of Women Engineers.

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