“Hi, I’m Dominie, and I’m a senior.” Every time I say that, it hits me. This is my last year of taking classes with my squad of biomedical engineering majors, participating in student organizations, having access to campus resources like research labs, going to Visions and Voices events featuring cool speakers, getting to live off campus with my best friends, exploring Los Angeles, and being a carefree student with little responsibility. It is sad, but I am lucky to be sad. I am lucky to have something so special to leave behind. I am lucky to have had incredible experiences that I have grown from during my time at USC.
I know that the pandemic has impacted my senior year in ways that I never wanted, and many seniors are feeling disappointed about what could have and should have been. I am not here to paint a pretty picture because frankly I am feeling disappointed, too. Instead, I would like to bring up three important lessons that I have learned during the past three years. Here’s some of my “senior wisdom.”
- It’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life. It’s okay to have mini crises about career choices. There were many times during college when I felt stressed about whether to pursue medical school or the biomedical industry or academia. In those moments, I thought it was important to make a decision as soon as possible so that I could start preparing myself for the journey. What I learned is that I always came to a decision about my career when I least expected it. I made the decision to pursue medical school when I was walking around Venice last summer in Italy. The important thing is that I engaged in as many activities as I could and sought out a diverse range of opportunities in college to expose myself to different career paths. My advice: a decision will come; just be patient and take advantage of all USC has to offer.
- You have to be uncomfortable in order to grow. College is great for making you feel uncomfortable, whether that be when you have to speak in front of a large audience or go to a class full of non-engineering majors that engage in deep discussions about Plato or interview for an executive board position. Look for those opportunities to be in uncomfortable situations because the more you do something uncomfortable, the more comfortable it will become. When a situation transitions from being uncomfortable to comfortable, then you have grown!
- Friends will come and go in your first two years of college. Don’t be alarmed. There were quite a few people who I was friends with in the beginning of freshman year but do not see at all anymore. In freshman year, I made friends with people I lived by and had my first classes with. As time went on, I became closer to those that were in my major and in the student organizations that I joined. Just make sure you’re involved in communities across USC, and you’ll find your social circles!