Top 10 USC Memories: Freshman to Senior Year

Madelyn Douglas Best of LA, Campus Events, Electrical, Free Time, Hikes, Involvement, Madelyn, Major, Professional & Academic, Research, Trojan Spirit, Viterbi Life, Viterbi Orgs, Viterbi Plus Leave a Comment

With my last classes of senior year finished, it took a lot of thinking for me to decide what my last blog posts would be about. Best ice cream stores in LA? A very important topic. Top articles on engineering ethics? Also worthwhile. But, I figured I would keep it simple and wallow in my senior-year nostalgic tears by blogging about my top USC memories, from freshman to senior year. BEHOLD!!! *sobs*

Freshman Year

1) Welcome Week

Welcome Week as a freshman was like nothing I had experienced before. Thousands of students in one place, rolling around in hamster balls for a giant game of human soccer. The biggest and coolest pool party I had ever seen, in an Olympic sized pool, WITH FREE CUPCAKES and all my freshman floormates. A glow stick rave comparable to one of Coachella’s smaller tents. And of course, quality time with my floor (BK8) getting midnight ice cream, talking late in our floor’s study room, and taking weekend trips to the classic freshman destination of Santa Monica.

2) Thematic Option Conference

In my second semester of freshman year, another favorite memory was my opportunity to present my term paper at the yearly Thematic Option writing conference. Many of my friends were there, we had the BEST dinner in the University Club (bougie location for special events and professors), and I got to hear other student’s paper presentations discussing many books I had read in class. I even got feedback on my paper and the conference offered invaluable practice for academic presentations that has helped me throughout college.

Polaroid snapshots captured from my freshman year Welcome Week! Shout out to BK8!

Sophomore Year

3) The Weekender

One of USC’s favorite (perhaps unspoken) traditions is the Weekender—a weekend trip to the bay to watch USC’s football team face off and KICK STANFORD’S—uhhh I mean graciously compete against Stanford or Berkeley’s team. We scoped out the best pizza, best record stores, and best scenery in Berkeley along the way. Don’t miss the weekender!

4) Palm Springs & JTree Retreat

As the Social Chair for all social and brotherhood activities of my co-ed professional engineering fraternity (Theta Tau), I planned our bi-annual retreat to Palm Springs. We got to explore Palm Springs on our way up there and had lots of bonding activities and pool time while in Palm Springs. One of the best parts of retreat was a hike through Joshua Tree. We went on 7-mile path and were surrounded by giant rocks, until we finally made it to an oasis of palm trees. Best hike ever.

JTree Palm Trees > all else.

Junior Year

5) Homecoming Weekend with Alumni

Sophomore year marked the graduation of many of my closest friends, so junior year marked my first big homecoming where I had lots of alumni friends visiting! It was great to catch up with everyone and pick up where we left off over brunches and hikes, and alumni tailgates are the best.

6) Switching to Electrical Engineering

As mentioned in some of my other posts, I have had a long journey towards finding the right major. I started out undecided and got a great overview of majors in ENGR 102, but when I settled on Mechanical Engineering as a sophomore, it didn’t feel right and I got upset in my classes since I couldn’t envision my future as a Mechanical Engineer like my classmates. Switching to Electrical Engineering as a junior hugely improved my happiness inside and outside of classes. I loved my hands-on labs and the ability to code as an EE, and the ECE department made the switch easy (plus I graduated on time, woot woot)!

7) Illumin End-of-the-Year Lunch

Illumin is Viterbi’s online magazine discussing engineering in daily life, and I have been an associate editor since freshman year. Illumin has been one of my favorite campus jobs, and each year ends with a celebration of Illumin staff and editors. We have eaten at Macaroni Republic and other restaurants, and our annual lunches are a great way to end the year, catch up, and send off our seniors while eating a full course of appetizers, entrees, lattes, and desserts. Mmmmm.

Yay alumni!

Senior Year

8) Big Bear Trip

One of my favorite college pastimes has been adventuring to the nearby winter weather areas of California. Though I’ve been skiing at Mammoth for multiple spring breaks, I had never been to Big Bear (less than a two-hour drive away) until my senior year. My boyfriend and I went for a weekend and hiked a snowy trail I just barely survived without slipping and falling off the cliffside—but it was all worth it for the ending view.

9) Progressing in Guitar and Songwriting

This semester, I started two things that I had never tried before: guitar and songwriting. Hoping to expand my musical abilities and push myself out of my comfort zone, I entered both classes nervous. However, as the semester has come to an end, I am able to record songs I am proud of and incorporate my guitar skills into each song. It took a whole semester, but I have finally perfected bar chords (THE F CHORD)!!!!

10) Finishing my Directed Research Paper on BCIs

Last but not least, one of my most academically rewarding moments was turning in my final paper for my directed research on the ethics of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs). I spent the semester being mentored by Dr. Alice Parker, who offered me many new insights over our discussions or email articles exchanged. I have been interested in BCIs and their ethics as technology challenging reality and ideas of “the self” for a while and am glad my past research could culminate into one final project.

So. many. trees. Such. little. oxygen.

Of course, there have been many worthwhile memories over the past four years, waaaaay too many to write into one blog (congrats if you even made it here through the past ten ones). I will always be grateful for my time at USC and all the wonderful people I met.

About the Author

Maddie is a senior studying Electrical (Computer) Engineering. Click above to find out more!

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