It’s been six months since I last wrote about why I chose USC – six months of learning more in my community and school, of growing older and meeting new people, and of living in Los Angeles. That’s a long time, and I realized it would be appropriate for me to go over my decision and my perspective of the school again, especially now that many of you readers are likely making the same decision for yourself. So now you have the chance to hear from a living, breathing student, in your own major!
I’ve spoken quite a bit about how much I love the USC community. The extracurricular options are endless, and the alumni network spans the entire globe; the sheer number and variety of campus events gives you the opportunity to see world-class performers, experienced politicians, movie premieres, and many more – all without having to leave campus. However, after spending two years here as a student, I’m realizing there are even more opportunities than I initially imagined. Just yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a speech on climate change by John Kerry, former Secretary of State and Presidential Candidate, which was truly an inspiring and memorable experience I’ll always value.
This weekend, I’m working and attending the AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) 2019 Western Regional Student Conference, which is being held right here at USC! Plenty of different academic and professional events, including a career fair, design showcase, poster/paper competition, and more (wish me luck on Chem-E Jeopardy folks!), will be available to all Trojan chemical engineering students right in our own backyard – and that’s just another example of the countless great opportunities USC has given me over the semesters, with many more sure to be around the corner.
One thing I touched on less last time, but seems especially relevant now since it’s bound to be on the minds of plenty prospective freshmen right about now, is the academic environment and curriculum you’ll be seeing as a Viterbi Chemical Engineer. When choosing a college, I was seeking a school just the right size – not too big that I’d drown in the pool of people, but not too small that I’d never meet anyone new, and have too small a group of colleagues. My Goldilocks attitude ending up paying off, since I’d call the size of Viterbi just right. The student body is large enough that I see new people everyday, and feels so alive and vibrant with so many students having different passions and backgrounds; the Chemical Engineering department, meanwhile, while by no means tiny, is small enough to provide the one-on-one attention from professors that’s so valuable in education.
The curriculum, in my opinion, is also very well structured to foster the genuine learning and success of the student. By starting off with engineering classes from the get-go, you can quickly decide if your major is right for you – but regardless of how much you love engineering, taking too many at once isn’t always a good idea. Therefore, the manner in which the curriculum is broken up, introducing courses in a strategic manner which build upon one another and all incorporate a balance of theory, computation, design, and industrial application, is an excellent structure to foster your development as an engineer, reassuring yourself that while it may be hard, you really do know what you’re doing.
This blog post seemed to touch upon a lot of different topics, but that’s the point. The reasons for choosing a college are always difficult to summarize in just a few words, because there are so many factors to be considered. But in my case, I’m forever grateful that it wasn’t a matter of which reasons are more important than others, because at USC, it’s true – you really can do anything.