When I was a freshman here at USC, I received a lot of advice from parents and upperclassmen encouraging me to get involved and seek out new experiences in college. I definitely took this advice to heart and threw myself into all types of experiences in college. During my first semester at USC, I got involved in research, a cappella, theatre, the Joint Educational Project, and numerous other student organizations. And while I may have overbooked myself a bit in terms of commitments, these experiences helped me determine what I liked and what I didn’t like so I could figure out what sort of balance of student involvement I wanted in college.
One thing I wish I had taken better advantage of early on are the resources available within the engineering school. Viterbi offers a variety of resources to help students figure out what field of engineering interests them and how to get jobs and internships in that area. Each semester, Viterbi holds a number of spotlight series that feature a certain field of engineering. This is a great way to get exposure to different fields of engineering and figure out what interests you. As a freshman I thought I was most interested in Chemical Engineering. But by my junior year, I realized I was a little more interested in sustainable building design, which relates more to Civil and Environmental Engineering. For this reason, I declared the environmental emphasis within Chemical Engineering. But the spotlight series would have been a great way to learn about the different fields of engineering early on in my college career.
I also would encourage freshmen to take advantage of the career resources available within the Viterbi School of Engineering. I didn’t begin to seek out career advice until my junior and senior year. But attending events like the Viterbi Career Expo and the Viterbi Career Conference early on would have helped me gain contacts in industry that could have been very useful in my job and internship search. Luckily for me, I was successful in obtaining a full-time position for next year due to help from the USC Career Center. This fall, I’ll be headed to New York City to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers as a Technology Consultant!
My last piece of advice for incoming freshmen is that it’s never too late to get involved. I’ve gotten more involved during my final year in college than I ever have before by joining Mortar Board and starting the USC Trojan Alliance. I’ve really enjoyed my time with these organizations and it proves that it’s truly never too late to get involved in something new!
Good luck with you college decision and fight on!