As an Academy coach for ENGR 102 (read more about one of my favorite involvements on campus!), I send a weekly newsletter to my students with some great tips on USC. If you have been at USC for a while, some of these may be no brainers for you, but I thought that some of these tips are too good not to share with anyone who is just starting at USC or applying to be a Viterbi student. So, here are some of my best pieces of advice that I learned along the way:
1) Take advantage of the involvement fair at the beginning of each semester.
Make sure to put your name on the list of any clubs that interest you. You will get the emails for the clubs, so you can attend their first meetings. Experiment with as many clubs as you want during your first year, then decide which ones you like best at the end of freshman year. Then, try to pursue leadership in one or two clubs or find a research position. As you get older, it’s better to have heavy involvement in one or two clubs than to be a general member in 15 different clubs.
2) Pursue VARC Tutoring during your first year.
The Viterbi Academic Resource Center provides free one-on-one tutoring for many classes like chemistry, math, computer science, and even introductory major classes. These private sessions are taught by upperclassmen who recently took these classes, so you can easily ask honest questions and get a better sense of the course material. You can visit the VARC website to make appointments for tutoring.
3) Put yourself out there.
Many things at USC won’t happen unless you are brave and just go for it. Many of the positions I have today happened because I got over my fear of emailing professors to ask for opportunities. So, if you are looking for research or clubs to join, just ask people! The saying “Trojans help Trojans” is so true; Trojans want each other to be successful, and this continues on when you apply for jobs and enter the real world as well. Work hard to make these opportunities happen!
4) Save all of your documents and papers onto your Google Drive.
You never know when you will need to reuse writing two years later or refer back to an old project, so make sure to keep all of your schoolwork saved into folders on your Google Drive so it never gets lost! You should also save your stuff onto a hard drive periodically in case your computer malfunctions.
5) Add a fun class to spice up your engineering education.
When designing your class schedule each semester, consider adding a fun PE class or dance class. Don’t be afraid to take a dance class–the beginner levels start at the very beginning, and they are so fun. The courses will give you a set time to workout during the week, and you will meet tons of friends from other majors. I will end this post with a cute graphic of suggested 2-unit courses, courtesy of the Kortschak Center!