Choosing a School is Hard
Choosing a school is hard. Spending the next four years somewhere can’t be an easy decision and it wasn’t easy for me. Coming from Chicago, it’s hard deciding where you want to live 24/7 and go through “the best years of your life” at just 18. It was something that felt so overwhelming but then suddenly so clear when I visited USC. If you want the TLDR: it’s the community and balanced approach that I never felt at any other school because Viterbi really focuses on the student body. If you want the long version then here’s a quick story.
Help From Strangers
I was interviewing for scholarship at USC in person (a thing of the past sadly) and I sat in the McCarthy Honors dining hall at 8am in a full suit. Nervous and sweating I was already on edge about my interview 2100 miles from home. Suddenly 3 student approached me and I was for sure thinking the worst would happen. Instead they were friendly. They asked if I was here interviewing (because why would a 17 year old be wearing a suit on Friday at 9am). They then spit the better part of 15 min calming me down and hyping me up about my interview, not to mention they were all Viterbi students ironically. These three random guys had no need to talk to me or help me but they did, and it’s something I remember almost 4 years later.
Perfectly Balanced, As All Things Should Be
As I walked around USC Viterbi, I noticed something I didn’t see at other engineering schools: smiling students. Students smiled as if they actually enjoyed their life, loved their work, and felt like they could be more than just engineers. Campus felt electric and I saw myself joining design teams, becoming a TA, and developing into a great well-rounded person, not just an engineer. At Viterbi the people looked like real people with lives, not just machines that cranked out problem sets and homework assignments. It felt perfectly balanced, as all things should be.
4 Years Later: Still the Right Choice
4 years later, I still feel I made the right choice. As with anything in life, there have been bumps in the road, things I never expected, but Viterbi helped me get through it and now I’m less than 2 months to my graduation. Switching a major, recruiting for 3 different jobs/internships, studying abroad, all this things I never expected to do but ended up getting through Viterbi helped me realize this was the place for me. Not to mention the out of classroom experiences. Game days, trips around LA, social outings, anything non-engineering related was only possible because Viterbi focused on letting me be more than an engineer and stay balanced so at the end of my 4 years I have so much to look back on beyond the work I’ve done.