Coming into USC, I wanted to be pre-dental on top of my Mechanical Engineering degree. Once I started taking classes, however, I realized that I was far more excited about Engineering than I was about general chemistry and biology classes. Beyond that, in high school I had always been interested in film and photography, and I was planning to give that up in college in order to pursue the classes I would need as a pre-dental student. I really struggled after my first semester, because I felt like I was compromising one of my passions in pursuit of something I was less passionate about. If I could go back, I would tell myself not to be afraid to pursue my passions.
I am very thankful that I realized after my first semester that I wanted to be an engineer more than I wanted to be a dentist. I am also very thankful that I added art back into my life in the form of my Cinematic Arts minor. Through that minor, I have been able to take classes in film production, animation, and computer animation, that have helped me solidify my interest in art. Beyond this, these classes have inspired me to use my engineering in a unique way. I now want to combine my passions for engineering and for cinema and create technology for films.
I would not change a thing about my USC experience, but I would tell myself that following my passions, whatever they are, is okay. Interests change in college, and people grow. If I had accepted this fact sooner, I would have had a much easier time allowing myself to drop my pre-dental emphasis. I had always been the type of person who liked to plan ahead and then stick to that plan. Looking back, I realize that sometimes the greatest personal growth comes from not following a plan. I have learned a lot about myself and about other people by learning to go with the flow more, and to listen to myself instead of just following a plan I made years ago.