Entering college, I was told time and time again my first year would fly by. I thought they were all exaggerating. Well, they weren’t. And the scary thing is that sophomore year flies by even faster. I still can’t believe that I am almost halfway done with my time as an undergrad at USC. During that first year, days blurred into weeks and weeks blurred into ¼ of my college career completed. Over these past two years, I’ve learned a lot about myself, mostly through the things I got involved with freshman year.
I want to urge you to take this first year to get involved. Join an organization similar to one you were a part of in high school, one related to your major, a sports team, Greek life, or even try something new! It’s easy to get wrapped up in studying, but even us engineers need to step away from the books sometimes. My time spent these past two years with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and my sorority have allowed me to form amazing friendships with people both in my major and in every other USC school, and these experiences have been as important a part of my first year as my classes. Although I didn’t my freshman year, I encourage you to look into doing research under a professor. I got involved with a research project in a combustion lab this year, and I really wish I had gotten involved with it sooner. USC is phenomenal in the fact that it encourages undergraduates to get involved in research starting their freshman year. Just reach out to your professors!
In addition to getting involved, learn to utilize your resources. If you find yourself struggling with a difficult concept in one of your classes, go and get help right away rather than waiting to try and understand it the night before the midterm. USC and Viterbi provide plenty of resources available to help students with a wide variety of subjects. You will most likely take Writing 140 at some point during your first year. The Writing Center is a fantastic resource for this class, and will help you with each phase of your papers. If you find yourself stuck on trig substitution or triple integrals in Calculus, the math center always has at least one TA on duty for each math class ready to help clarify things. In addition, Viterbi offers the Viterbi Academic Resource Center (lovingly referred to as VARC) which offers 1-on-1 or group tutoring for a variety of major related classes that engineers have to take.
I know the first year of college can be overwhelming, but as long as you get involved, utilize your resources, and just keep swimming when things get tough, a fantastic year lies ahead of you!
Oh, and one last thing—NEVER EVER MISS A FOOTBALL GAME!