Engineering isn’t easy. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible or terrible at all. A student’s experience as an engineer at USC involves far more than the requisite lectures, labs, and exams. Sure, these provide, reinforce, and test technical knowledge. But being an engineer involves more than just this. And I would argue that some of the most important skills that engineers will gain in school come from things totally unrelated to engineering. But that’s a topic for another time; this time, I’m just going to tell you what I like to do. As you’ll see, there’s quite a bit more to my life than just studying!
I love being outside. I go on distance runs several times a week, which is an amazing experience for me here in the center of Los Angeles. Where I come from, a long run involves a possibly-but-probably-not-paved trail, lots of trees, and occasionally a person whom I pass. One reason I have so much fun running in Los Angeles is the variety of things that there are to see and explore. I can run to the south of USC and look at the Los Angeles Coliseum and Exposition Park, or I can run to the north and head towards downtown. Running amongst skyscrapers is intense, and there are people everywhere (along with lots of streets to cross), so adjusting was a bit tricky at first. But now that I’ve got it down, it’s great fun.
There are also tons of student organizations at USC that provide great experiences and a really fun time. This year, I’m part of my building’s student government, and we plan all sorts of events for our residents throughout the year. We work with RAs to sponsor things, we host movie nights and charity events, and we genuinely have a good time. Part of my responsibility in building government is serving on the Peer Review Board. That hasn’t really gotten started yet, but, when it does, I’ll be able to play an active role in adjudicating student conduct violations on campus.
I’m also involved in hosting an international exchange student, a Dutch girl who is here studying business. Through the USC Marshall IEP Host program (part of the Marshall School of Business), I attend different events doing fun things in the LA area with a group of international students and their hosts. We’ve “invaded” Westwood and UCLA, gone to the beach, and there’s a trip to a Korean BBQ later this week. It’s a fun way to get to know people.
There’s also football games. Even though there may be a concept that engineers are introverted, boring people, I’ve never met one here who wasn’t excited for the next week’s football game, home or away. A ton of engineers I know are going to the weekender at Stanford, and I’m psyched that I managed to get tickets to the UCLA game. (It’s away this year, all the way across town.)
So that’s a little bit about what I do. It’s impossible for me to describe all the experiences that I have here, but engineering doesn’t impede my social life in any way. I hang out with my friends, go to parties, and generally have a really good time. And when it’s time to sit down and do some work, I’m ready and prepared to do it because that’s what everything else gets me set to do.
If you have any questions about any of my activities or anything that I described or left out, just let me know.