It blows my mind that a little over two years ago I decided that I’d be attending USC. The last two years have gone incredibly fast; it’s crazy (and a bit scary) that I’m already halfway done with college. This year has been even better than my freshman year, and as I reflect on that decision I made two years ago, I realize that USC has lived up to and surpassed all of my expectations.
I chose to attend USC for many reasons. Let me take you through a few of them, and how USC has definitely not let me down in my sophomore year (the “sophomore slump?” Never heard of it!) and continually exceeded all the expectations I had when I chose to call this school home.
The first thing I fell in love with when I visited USC was the campus itself. Palm trees, beautiful red brick buildings, and sunshine 95% of the year, can you think of a better backdrop for your college adventure? I can confirm that Southern California’s sunshine has made studying much more enjoyable, and been highly conducive to spending time outside (more on that to follow).
Even more than the campus, though, the students I saw on campus when I visited all looked genuinely happy and excited to be going to USC. While I was deciding where I would attend college, I knew I wanted to go somewhere with school pride and spirit. Excitement about USC and school spirit definitely do exist. One of the ways this spirit is most evident is at football games and other athletic events. USC rallies around its teams, and when the band plays you can’t help but hum along and throw up a V for victory, USC’s signature hand symbol.
Most importantly, of course, I chose USC because I knew that it would challenge me academically and provide an enriching education. I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from so many incredible professors while here, and feel that I’ve enriched myself on academic and personal levels as a result. My engineering classes have been a great balance between theoretical and hands-on work, and even when I’m doing theoretical problems I can feel their relevance to types of projects I may work on in later classes and professionally.
Ultimately, I was deciding between attending USC versus attending the Georgia Institute of Technology. Both schools have highly respected, top-ranked engineering programs, but I felt that USC afforded me many unique opportunities both academically and outside the classroom. For one, I liked that Viterbi put an emphasis on having smaller class sizes, since I learn better when I’m able to have more access to professors in a more intimate setting than huge lecture halls. I’ve been able to get to know many of my professors through going to their office hours, and am always able to get help on assignments or difficult concepts when I need it.
There’s also a lot of flexibility within engineering at USC. I’ve changed my major twice since being here, from Mechanical to Industrial Engineering on my second day of classes freshman year, then last semester from Industrial back to Mechanical Engineering. This wouldn’t have been possible at many other schools, and is in many ways due to the ability I had to easily access my advisor and the fact that if you’re admitted to Viterbi, you’re admitted to every engineering major.
Being an engineer here also doesn’t mean I take only engineering classes. While there were opportunities to take classes outside of engineering at Georgia Tech, USC’s offerings had much more depth and breadth, and the engineering program here was set up to allow me to explore areas outside engineering. The emphasis on engineering plus was an important facet in making my decision. I know that I wouldn’t be in a program like Thematic Option (see my past blogs for more information about this incredible GE-honors program!) or have been able to take classes like MUSC 200: Diversity and the Broadway Musical!
Last, but certainly not least, Los Angeles itself was a key reason I chose to attend USC. From a professional standpoint, LA is at the heart of the aerospace and defense industry, which I want to work in after graduation, and is the home of countless other corporations and startups which are looking to hire USC students. Beyond this, though, LA is a diverse city with tons of opportunities to explore, whether you’re spending a Sunday at The Broad Museum, taking a morning to hike in Malibu, or going out to karaoke in Koreatown. This year, I’ve had so many new experiences in and around LA. One of the most memorable was a camping trip I took with an awesome student organization, Peaks and Professors, to Anza Borrego Desert State Park to hike through canyons, see the beauty of the desert, and take in the magnificent springtime bloom of wildflowers.
There are so many reasons I chose to attend USC, but what’s most important is finding a school which is a great fit for you! Check out my other blog posts for more about my life at USC, and as always, fight on!