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My team with students from USC, PKU, and KAIST

Starting Summer with some Travel!

So far this summer, I have had the opportunity to do some travel abroad and nearby.  I spent the first two weeks of summer in South Korea with the Viterbi iPodia program.  This experience was really amazing; part of the class was getting to know students from China, Korea, Israel, and Germany, and it was awesome working with these students all semester and then finally getting to meet them!  My team had students from PKU in Beijing and KAIST in Daejon.  We also got to explore a lot of the Korean culture.  Naturally there was a ton of Korean BBQ, but we also got to learn how to make the traditional meal of bibimbop.  We also spent a day at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea which was particularly interesting- we were only 600 ft. from the border! One of my favorite parts was spending the night in a Buddhist temple.  Even though we had to get up at 4:30 am to do 108 bows to Buddha, it was a really immersive experience to learn about the culture.  It was such an amazing trip!

Once I got back to the states, I had an adventure a little closer to home.  I spent a weekend in the mountains and got to experience the beautiful scenery that the California Sierras have to offer.  It’s amazing the different types of scenery you can find in California, and that you can be at the beach in the morning and drive just a few short hours to the beautiful mountains.   It was great to have a peaceful weekend watching stars and going on hikes.

I have a few more short trips to the mountains planned for the summer, and I’m also very excited about my internship at a nanotechnology company in Orange County, which I started a few weeks ago and will definitely blog about soon!

 

My brothers and I at my cousins wedding!!

Family First

Freshman year was easily one of the most exciting years of my life. However, it was also the longest time I’ve ever spent away from my family.  Living 2,000 miles away from our home in Chicago, I only got to see them over a few major holidays.  My two brothers, Aaron and Elliott, have always been my best friends and we are all super close with my parents.  We definitely talked on the phone and skyped as much as we could, but there is nothing like spending quality time together.

This summer we were fortunate to have our entire family living together back in Chicago. My first priority for the next few months is spending as much time as possible with the Arnold crew.  While I thought of going for a more serious internship to pursue my engineering goals, I figured I have three more summers to gain experience.  I settled on lifeguarding again at a local pool and focus more on spending time with the people I love before my brothers start moving out and my major picks up.

Chicago is a lively and beautiful city, especially in the summer.  The first week I was home, my younger brother Elliott and I bonded over one of our favorite bands, Of Monsters and Men.  We spent the night in the city and saw them live at the Argon Ballroom.  When we’re both off work we’ll spend hours long boarding in a forest preserve near our house.  Feeling the wind through our hair, zooming past huge green trees and creeks, all the while having deep chats with Elliott is something I’ve missed.

Simple activities like working out together, watching the Blackhawks game, and going out with friends are things my older brother Aaron and I bond over.  Even though it’s been a while since I’ve been with them, it’s great to see how absolutely nothing has changed between us.  This weekend our entire family is looking forward to a huge pig roast at my cousin’s house.  These events that bring everyone together is what I cherish most throughout the summer.

Yes I am really close with my family, however, I couldn’t be happier living on the West Coast.  It was a tough transition, but if I hadn’t stepped outside of my comfort zone, there is so much I would’ve missed out on at USC.  Don’t be afraid to make a big move. After just a few weeks of summer, I finally understand that no matter how far away I am or where my future takes me, I will always have my family and nothing can get between us.

 

Boat ride downtown Chicago (:

Boat ride downtown Chicago (:

My brothers and I at my cousins wedding!!

My favorite boys at our cousins wedding

Long boarding with Elliott downtown!

Shredding in the Chi with Elliott

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Summer Escapades!

It seems like just yesterday that I was getting ready to go to the Kansas Cosmosphere to work as a space camp counselor for the summer after my freshman year. Now, I am studying for my last set of undergraduate finals and getting ready for post college life. And, while it is an anxiety ridden time, it is also a very exciting one, especially because this summer is going to be an eventful one.

After commencement next week, I will be traveling to South Korea for 2 weeks with the iPodia class that I am TA-ing. There, we will get to meet, in person, the students from Israel, Germany, South Korea, and China who are also a part of the class. We will get to explore a lot of the area around KAIST and even Seoul, the country’s capital. Oh, AND we get to go to a day of the USC Globalization Conference that will be hosted in Seoul. (I hear the Governator is going to be there too and I’m secretly hoping we’ll get to meet him.)

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My iPodia trip to Taiwan last year! All of us Midwesterners in front of a temple

 

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Enjoying Taiwanese street food!

After South Korea, I am coming back to Los Angeles for a couple days to pack up my room, store away some of it, and then drive down with the rest to Waco, Texas for my summer internship at SpaceX’s Test Facility. I’ll be there from June to the end of August and am VERY excited to get to work there (I mean, who wouldn’t be excited to see rocket engines get fired almost every day?). Once I’m done in August, things start to get a little hazey. But, I am excited to see what happens and where this next phase of life takes me!

Since this is my last blog post as a VSA, I wanted to wish all of you that are about to start your undergraduate careers the very best of luck. These next four years will undoubtedly bring a roller coaster of experiences and emotions, so prepare yourself, and, most importantly, remember to enjoy the entire ride!

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Summer 2013: European Edition

Hello Friends!

I just finished my last class for the semester. It’s kind of strange! As cliche as it sounds, junior year quite literally flew past me. Some moments seem so far away, but others like they were merely minutes ago. 2 weeks from now, I will be done with finals and officially be a senior Trojan. I don’t really know how this is real life, but I will go with it! I’ve had a fantastic three years, and I know my last one will be no exception.

This semester was truly fantastic. I can honestly say I feel like every class I took gave me some useful skills that I didn’t have before. Whether it was legitimate analog circuit design in EE348, learning C++ and coding up mazes, puzzle games, and even a Verilog file simulator in my EE355 class (weird concept, I know), building a MATLAB GUI and real-time data analysis/writing a technical report based around a sensor stick and pitching a potential product to sell to wind farms and power companies in EE337, or learning about every type of contract law, trusts, wills, and white collar crime in my business law class, I truly felt like I expanded my mind this semester. I have come away with a true understanding of how to be efficient, how to push myself, and how to apply a plethora of new skills.

Now, for the exciting part. After the fantastic semester I’ve had (and granted I survive the toughest round of finals I will probably have as a student here), I will be headed to Dresden, Germany to work for GLOBALFOUNDRIES as a yield engineering intern! I am incredibly excited, nervous, and terribly frightened at the same time. The beauty of human emotions, huh? We’re such complex beings:p But really, I am so excited more than anything for this opportunity. You can read about GLOBALFOUNDRIES on their website, but basically they are a fab that opened in 2009 and they make wafers to sell to companies like Qualcomm (where I have worked the past two summers), who then use them for their products which go into devices made by OEMs (phones, tablets, etc). So this summer will help me take a step back in the supply chain process of the semiconductor industry, and fully see how everything works from start to finish. I had a feeling when I started at Viterbi, my path in EE would be related to semiconductors (this is what my dad does, so I wanted to believe I might fall for something else and pave my own path. Alas, like father like daughter). Now, going into senior year, I’ve officially decided to specialize in integrated circuits (exactly what semiconductors are), and follow in my daddy’s footsteps (at least for now. I have much different plans for my career as a whole!). It will be so cool to actually be working with these wafers and conducting failure analyses/interacting with some of GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ customers, and then come back to school and put some of my newly found knowledge to test in the classroom with my MOS VLSI design class, EE477. Then the following semester, I will be in EE438, which is a continuation of EE338 (introduction to semiconductor devices), in which I will actually get to go into the clean room in my  bunny suit and make a wafer design!


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A cleanroom at GLOBALFOUNDRIES

 

Recently, I’ve been looking for housing for my internship, and I finally got assigned to a student dorm! It’s gorgeous, and I could not be more thrilled  It will be in the heart of Dresden, which is not very close to my work (my company is in an industrial area, with not very many temporary housing options). However, I’ve heard Dresden has excellent public transportation. I’ve already looked up which buses/trams/the train I need to get to work. It will take me about 45 minutes each way. But I don’t mind! That will be a great time to screenwrite, people watch, and watch LSAT vids for my online course (I will be retaking the test in the fall to improve my score, and get it out of the way once and for all!).

Where I will be living in Dresden this summer!

Where I will be living in Dresden this summer!

 

A student dorm for the Technical University in Dresden

A student dorm for the Technical University in Dresden

Looks so colorful. Will update on how this place looks in real life soon enough...

Looks so colorful. Will update on how this place looks in real life soon enough…

 

Did I mention I don’t speak a word of Germany btw? Because I most certainly do not. So from a cultural and linguistic perspective, this will be quite the adventure and learning experience. I hope to pick up a great deal of German, and learn a lot of German culture. I think this will be a fantastic growing experience for me on so many levels. Not to mention hilarious source material:P

Any way, onward to finals! Here’s to finishing up the year strongly. Look out for a blog about my friend group’s second annual trip to San Diego (my hometown soon), Waiting for pictures to process, and then I’ll end the year with that one. Also, since yesterday was commit day, I’d like to officially welcome all new members of the Trojan family. Prepare for the best 4, or 2 years of your life. Appreciate every minute! I am realizing now how quickly it can pass by.

Until next time friends, Fight On!

 

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Looking Back on Spring ’13 and My Summer Plans

I have had an amazing Spring semester of my junior year. Here are some of my favorite events:

  • Going to SWE Regional Conference in Salt Lake City with Emily and Caitlin and going skiing after the conference
  • Going to Santa Barbara (twice!) with my lacrosse team and taking 3rd place in our conference.
  • Going to Six Flags Magic Mountain with my favorite Viterbi Student Ambassadors (aka all of them)
  • Getting dressed up with my fellow engineers for the Viterbi Ball
  • Having fun with my sorority sisters at various social and philanthropy events
  • Getting accepted to the Progressive Degree Program in Green Technologies!
  • Receiving an internship offer to work at Boeing this summer!
  • Becoming a LEED accredited Green Associate!

This summer I am excited to be interning at Boeing. I will be working in El Segundo, which means I get to spend my first summer in LA! I’m working in the mechanisms area, learning about the various mechanical parts on satellites. I have a lot of friends that will be working at Boeing this summer, and got to meet more of the summer interns/ full time hires just this past week at a Boeing luncheon on campus! This is actually my first internship in college so I am very excited to start working. While it will be hard to beat my last summer studying abroad in Madrid, I’m hoping to learn a lot from my internship about Boeing, engineering, and what I want to do for a career, and have fun exploring LA! Stay tuned for more updates on my internship throughout the summer!

For now, it’s back to studying and working on group projects! This is our last week of classes, followed by two weeks of finals and then graduation. I’m so excited to stay for the graduation this year and see all of my friends graduate and head off into the real world. After a couple weeks at home in San Diego, I will be back to work in LA for the summer.

@natralvarez and I are officially LEED accredited Green Associates #ViterbiSwag

Will and I both passed the LEED GA exam!

 

 

The Ferris Wheel at Santa Monica

My Favorite Places in Los Angeles

Hey everyone!

This weekend I was home celebrating my dad’s birthday, and I realized how nice it is to get off campus for a bit.  I’m usually really busy, so getting off campus is a nice break from all the hard work I put into my studies.  I’ve decided to make a list of some of my favorite places to go (excluding food- I tend to blog about food a lot) when I need a nice stress reliever and just to get away for a bit.

Shopping

Los Angeles is famous for its shopping, especially Rodeo Drive and Robertson Blvd., but realistically that’s not affordable to a college student.  My favorite two places to shop nearby are the Grove and on Melrose Avenue.  The Grove has a lot of generic stores like Forever 21, Bath and Body Works, Nordstrom, etc.  It’s a great place to get some generic shopping out of the way and enjoy great weather.  Melrose Avenue is a little more trendy, with a lot of boutiques and vintage stores.  This is where I go to find the interesting pieces.  Finally, I love shopping in the fashion district.  Only about 10 minutes away from school, this is a great place to find anything (dresses, tops, pants, SHOES, costume pieces) for very cheap and I love perusing all the shops!

Beaches

Another iconic part of being in LA is going to the beach!! There are tons of beautiful beaches, but the two near school I tend to go to are Santa Monica and Malibu.  Santa Monica is the closest beach to USC, and it also has tons of entertaining people plus the well known pier with the ferris wheel.  It’s certainly a tourist destination, but a very fun one!  Malibu is generally a little more secluded and local, but also a little farther.  A ton of students love to adventure to the beach on hot weekends!

Art Museums

Being an art history minor, I can’t get enough of the local art museums.  Los Angeles contains a ton of culture, and I love to take advantage of all the beautiful pieces that can be found nearby.  LACMA, the Norton Simon Museum, the Getty, and the Getty Villa have become familiar places for me, and my next adventure is the Huntington LIbrary and Gardens in Pasadena.

Of course this isn’t all that LA has to offer, but these are three of my favorite things to experience when I need a couple of hours away from school!

Celebrating birthdays, and staying up late for no reason

Radhika’s Guide to Freshman Year: Pro-Tips

Hello everyone! Let me start off by saying that I am so relieved to finally be done with midterms. I have never appreciated homework so much. This week was a great breather from the stress of exams. Definitely still a lot going on, but also time to do things I love like workout, hit up office hours, and see Seth Meyers perform standup comedy. Anyway, given my fantastic mood right now, I want to take this time to holla’ at all the freshmen considering coming to USC this fall, or anyone already committed to joining the Trojan family. I think no matter what you do your first year, you are going to have a good time. That being said, there are some key things you can do to heighten/maximize your experience. Many of these things involve laying a foundation for an excellent overall college experience. Some of these things are for your sanity, others for academic performance, and others just for fun. Given that I still find myself reminiscing back to freshman year on a weekly basis, and that I have all the same friends (and many more), I consider myself a bit of an expert on how to have a phenomenal freshman year. Without further adieu, here are some of my essentials for how you do it right, and do it big as a (Viterbi) freshman.

 

Step 1: Find the curve setters, leaders, and hardest workers in your Intro to _____________ Engineering Class.

Make friends with them first, and then slowly begin making friends with everyone else in your major. There are a lot of amazing things to be done in college, and a lot of objectives that you want to leave having achieved. If you’re like most freshmen, however, academic success is probably one of those objectives. It’s kind of hard to enjoy everything else that’s going on if that isn’t going right. So my first few tips are going to focus on locking that down, along with a social life within your major at the same time. It’s gEEnius (muahaha, get it? Ok, I’ll stop)! So basically, my freshman year, I made it a point to surround myself with the smartest people possible. Not only are smart people genuinely awesome and typically passionate about what they’re doing, but they are great friends to have once the going gets tough. Lucky for you, a place like USC has so many talented individuals (including yourself). So make it a point to surround yourself with intelligent, motivated people who inspire you to want to do more. While it can be hard to get this sense about a person without already knowing them well, chances are the hardest working people are among the most motivated. So seek them out! Introduce yourself to everyone. Form a study group and hit the ground running. This will put you ahead of the curve (in multiple ways). While classes freshmen year might not yet be so difficult to the point where work absolutely necessitates a group dynamic, trust me, it will! So by starting to work in teams with the right kind of people, you are getting a step ahead of the game. I made it a point to be kind of the glue among the EEs in my year. It’s nice knowing everyone, because not only are all my peers awesome, but I have this network of amazingly talented individuals that I can call upon for support whenever I need it. Plus, don’t we all on some level want to feel popular and well liked? It’s nice now as a junior being able to walk into class and hi-five/”Whaddup!” basically everyone.

Some of my best friends now. Two of them were curve setters in my 105 class. Friends who study together stay together:)

Some of my best friends now. Two of them were curve setters in my 105 class. Friends who study together stay together:)

Step 2: Sign up for absolutely everything that interests you at the involvement fair, try an event for each of them, and slowly identify the few that absolutely make your heart sing

I think USC is such a vibrant community full of individuals who are so spirited and passionate about what they do. Getting involved in some aspect of student life outside of the classroom will be invaluable to you. Whether it’s a design team applying classroom knowledge in a hands on setting, or a community impact group you can’t get enough of, or a professional, athletic, or religious society that allows you to reach out to more people with common interests, this aspect of college will be invaluable. Not only will it provide you with some of your fondest memories, but it can be a great talking point to land that kickass internship before you have other work experience to talk about in an interview, or at a sweet networking sesh. Plus, getting involved early gives you the best chance to take on a leadership role. This will be incredibly fulfilling, useful, and applicable later on in college and in life.

 Some of my friends and I at relay for life Freshman Year! I wasn't a member of Colleges Against Cancer, but I love this event they put on every year

Some of my friends and I at relay for life Freshman Year! I wasn’t a member of Colleges Against Cancer, but I love this event they put on every year

Step 3: Make it a point to talk to at least one of your professors in their office hours!

And keep doing it every semester thereafter. Professors are, generally speaking, friendly people who want to help you learn. Even if you don’t need help with his/her class (if you do, this is a perfect time to get it), going to talk to a professor about something will help them remember you and get to know you better. Ask about their research and their background if there’s nothing else that you have in mind. That usually tends to be really cool stuff to hear about, and you might be so interested that you think about joining them. If not, just taking the initiative to hear about what they do and hold a conversation about it can make it easier for that professor to write a letter of rec for you should you need one. It’s often difficult as a freshman to get letters of rec when you need them, because there might not be professors you know well enough or feel comfortable enough to ask. Avoid this by getting to know a few, so they have something more to say about you than just “He/She received an A in my class.” As a follow up to this, get into the habit of talking to people just for the sake of talking to them. If there’s one things Trojans pride ourselves on, it’s our networking abilities! This can start in the classroom, and extend well beyond that. You never know when you’re going to encounter a stranger that can change your life. Start by approaching your faculty, as many of them are well connected in industry. Don’t stop thereafter.

Once you have your basic USC involvement, academics, and an academic social life set up for success, get back to basics by

4. Taking care of yourself!

I won’t elaborate too much on this, because it means something different to everyone. But take whatever steps are necessary for you to make sure you feel wonderful. Freshman year is great time filled with meeting new people and learning new things. You want to look and feel your best for these experiences. Make time early on in your week for whatever activities and extra efforts you need to achieve that sentiment:)

5. Having fun

Lock it up in the classroom, but take plenty of time to go explore Los Angeles before school gets really crazy! Take advantage of all the awesome things right around the surrounding area (local eateries, USC sporting events, on campus concerts and events etc.), and in the greater los angeles area. Along these same lines, do your best to find a friend with a car! It’s always useful to know someone with a set of wheels, whether it be for exploring or emergency purposes! You never know when you might just need a ride. I know for me, it was the time I was coming back from San Diego for preview weekend at my internship. I took the train home, got to Union Station, and realized the inter-campus shuttle between Health Sciences Campus/Union Station and the regular campus didn’t operate on weekends. Thankfully, I had a friend to call to come get me.

Now, my list of specific things you shouldn’t miss out on as a freshman as USC (or really any other year).

1. Football/athletics games. Even if you think you don’t like/know about sports, give it a chance. If you don’t change your mind, you don’t have to get a season ticket the following year.  And if you really aren’t a football person, some of our other teams are so fun to watch and cheer on. My person favorite after football and basketball is definitely volleyball. We even have a new sand volleyball team!

2. Conquest. Because who doesn’t want to witness fireworks, an awesome concert, a giant ferris wheel, and the whole USC community rallying together in a bout of school spirit.

Third Eye Blind performing my freshman year

Third Eye Blind performing my freshman year

3. Festival of Books. You should google it. It’s on our campus, and it’s awesome. Over the past few years, I’ve had books signed by Kareem Abdul Jabar, Laura Numeroff (If you Give a Mouse a Cookie), Marc Brown (the Arthur series), and I’ve seen readings by Julie Andrews, Judy Blume, Demetri Martin, Jamie Lee Curtis, R.L. Stine, and many more. It is so much fun to roam around the stages, hearing various authors, and to roam around the various tents browsing and shopping for books. It will make you want to start reading for pleasure again (if you were ever into that). At the very least, go for the freebies.

Oh Hey Kareem!

Oh Hey Kareem!

4. Surprising at least one of your friends at midnight on their birthday with some dessert and a signing of happy birthday with many people. It will start a tradition on your floor/in your suite etc. It makes everyone feel more loved their first year away from home.

Celebrating birthdays, and staying up late for no reason

Celebrating birthdays, and staying up late for no reason

 

5. Going to the California Science Center. It’s free, it’s right across the street, and they have a bunch of cool stuff to nerd out about/appreciate.

6. Getting onto the school of cinematic arts mailing list. Get subscribed or just troll their events page so you know when to RSVP for advance movie screenings/panels/all their amazing events. You will make all your friends at other schools jealous, and have a fabulous time doing so, while also learning so much! What more could you ask for? You will be set for four years.

7. Staying up really late some nights just because. This is how you build relationships. If you have a few nights over the course of the year, where you and some of your friends (or someone you are just getting to know) find yourselves staying up late simply talking, despite being done with work, don’t immediately cut out early. Listen to people’s stories, hear about their pasts, and learn about what they want from their futures. This is truly the best way to get to know people, and there won’t necessarily always be time for these things to happen. Sleep is important, but so is friendship. So every once in a while, let that 4 hour long conversation that goes until the crack of dawn just happen. You’ll be happy you did.

8. Taking a lot of pictures and video footage. They will be priceless to look back on by the time you are a senior.

Exhibit A: EE 105 curve setter, and bestie Alden during freshman year

Exhibit A: EE 105 curve setter, and bestie Alden during freshman year

Exhibit B: Alden now. Casual male model, junior year

Exhibit B: Alden now. Casual male model, junior year

 

 

 

 

My study group in Vegas :)

My Advice to Freshmen: Find a Niche

Upon entering college, you will be going from being a big fish in a small pond to being a small fish in a big pond. It was very exciting, but it can also be somewhat overwhelming. It was not until the end of my freshmen year that I really found a good group of people that I felt comfortable around and an environment which felt small and close. However, if I had to go back and do freshmen year over again, I would have been able to find that niche sooner.

For most of you, you are coming to a university away from home and leaving the people you know behind. i was terrified, but also very excited to be starting a new chapter of my life. It can be nerve-wracking, however, to move in with someone you have never met. My first piece of advice therefore, is to really take the time to find a good roommate. On the housing website, every freshmen fills out an application and part of it is a personality survey. I strongly suggest that you be honest with yourself about your habits and likes/dislikes. The website will then match you with people who have similar answers. I spent a good amount of time learning more about my “top matches”, and trying to find someone I could see myself getting along with. I have to say that I am really happy that I ended up finding such a great roommate freshmen year, and it really helped make my freshmen year amazing. Instead of having to feel frustrated or irritated with each other, we kept an open line of communication, and we were both similar people, so we meshed well together and had a lot of fun. We are still friends and enjoy reminiscing about freshmen year.

Once getting to USC, there will be an Involvement Fair the first week of classes. For this fair, hundreds of student organizations set up booths and try to get you to join their club. My freshmen year, I signed up for 5 clubs. After the fair, i only stayed in contact with one of them. If you enjoy getting involved like me, then you will also probably sign up for every club that looks cool. However, even though it might sound fun to be a member of multiple clubs, college is difficult and that level of extra-curricular involvement might prove overwhelming and stressful. Therefore, my second piece of advice is to take the time to find one or two organizations you really enjoy and dedicate your free time to it. There are so many people at USC, and joining a club reduces that big pond to small community. Being in organizations is where you develop friendships and make lifelong memories. Getting settled into an organization can help you in finding a niche.

Finally, as an engineer, you will work hard at USC. You have chosen this major because you are very intelligent and enjoy challenging yourself. However, you will not be able to get your college degree without some help along the way. When I was a freshmen, upperclassmen were always telling me how much I needed to find friends in my major and find a group to study with. I am somewhat of a shy person, and going up and introducing myself to complete strangers did not sound particularly appealing. However, finding a group of friends and developing a study group sooner rather than later can be incredibly advantageous for you, as you progress through your college career and the difficulty of your engineering classes increase. My third, and final piece of advice, is to be brave and meet people within your major during your freshmen year. I am so glad that I have the group of friends I have. These people all think like me, and we enjoy each others company. Whether we are working on homework or going out to see a movie, we enjoy hanging out, and I attribute a majority of my success in my classes to this study group of friends. I know that I could not have gotten through thermodynamics without having study sessions that went late into the night where 6 of us are buckling away through the problem set. In this case, 6 is better than 1.

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My Advice to Freshman: Just Do It

I once received some very good advice as a sophomore from a professor when I was unsure about my summer internship. He said, do the internship, even if you’re unsure if you’ll like it, because after you’re done with it you’ll know exactly what you liked about it and what you didn’t. Then, moving forward, you’ve discovered what type of jobs/projects/career path too look for and what to avoid. The advice that I would give to any freshman is very similar to this philosophy.

As freshman, there are going to be a lot of questions on your mind as to what the next four years will hold. Do I really want to be this major? What if I’m not good at doing this? Should I join this student organization? Should I go talk to that person? Having these questions is fine and very normal, but you need to make sure act and do something. By not doing anything, you will never get anywhere. So my advice is to just go for it. You’re a freshman: if you do something and don’t like it, you have plenty of time to try something else. And besides, you’ll now know what things you don’t like to do and you can avoid them!  If you meet someone and embarrass yourself or don’t like them, well, you’ve got over 15,000 more people to meet. Or, even better, you may find that you end up loving something you had no idea you would even like or connecting with a person you thought was very different from you!

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Some of my friends from freshman year!

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Gamma Phi Beta

Advice to Freshmen: Try New Things

I think my advice to freshman would be to try new things in college but to also stay with some your favorite involvements from high school. As a new freshman at USC I wanted to do everything I did in high school – lacrosse, dance, some student orgs, etc. I was constantly busy in high school, and I wanted to have free time in college to do fun, spontaneous things from time to time. I think USC is the perfect school to try all sorts of new things – there are so many student organizations that do so many cool activities, its hard not to be excited about all of them. I think the secret to having fun in college while doing well is to have good time management, be involved, and try new things.

So I decided to try new things and started out college with all new organizations. But then I realized after a while that I missed some things that I did in high school. That’s when I figured out that you need to have a balance. For me, that’s when I joined the club lacrosse team. I’ve learned that all these different activities not only give you a whole new group of friends and fun things to do in your spare time, but also a valuable support network. If I was ever having a tough day, I knew that I could count on one of my friends from whatever meeting I was attending that night to cheer me up. The friends that I’ve made at USC are like my family here, and I’ve accumulated many families, from my involvement with VSA, SWE, my sorority, and my lacrosse team.

I’ve learned though that to stay involved and do well in classes, you need to narrow down your involvements so you have time for classwork, and time for spontaneity or whatever curve gets thrown into your daily routine. I’ve dropped some of the organizations I joined my freshman and sophomore years, but I think that is a valuable lesson to learn in college – you can’t do everything.

Looking forward to my senior year, and learning from my past three years, I think I’ve finally nailed the recipe for success in college. You need to first do well in your classes and have fun with your student organizations, which is all about time management. The friends that you make in your classes and orgs will be your friends for many years to come, so choose wisely! And the memories you’ll have from your college experiences, whether its from student org activities or spontaneous trips around LA, will certainly last a lifetime. Oh yeah and definitely study abroad! My time in Madrid was the best summer of my life. So enjoy your next four years in college! I’m jealous.

 

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