This week marks the official midpoint of the semester! As a senior in environmental engineering taking both undergraduate and graduate courses at USC, my 14 week semester is half completed, and I’ve taken enough midterms and submitted enough assignments at this point to prove it. Though this semester isn’t at all what I thought it would be like, there’s something unique about having this shared experience with everyone else attending colleges (especially USC) this year.

So, how’s my semester been going? Honestly, it hasn’t been half bad. The beginning was bumpy—with figuring out the ideal set up and schedule for this virtual semester—but after 7 weeks, I have a strong footing on how to stay on top of classes, stay engaged with organizations and activities, and complete my tasks for my part-time internship this semester.

The best way I’ve kept myself accountable for not falling behind this semester is through talking with my peers. Just today, a friend and I got on a Zoom call for 2 hours to complete a homework assignment for our Water Treatment Design class. With the help of my friend, we finished the assignment and were able to submit, and are back on track with the course content.

Another tip I’ve found useful is setting aside time for tasks. Focusing on one task at a time—especially when my living space has become my classroom, office, and home all at once—has become difficult, but by forcing myself not to multitask, I’ve been able to produce more meaningful work.

These are all ways I’ve been getting through this semester, but there’s still a lot of things I miss. I wish I was on campus, seeing my friends and having fun with my peers. Living around the USC campus, too, it’s been difficult feeling safe when I can hear my neighbors partying every other night and see students walking around without masks. It’s a tough time right now, but there’s comfort in knowing that everyone’s going through it together.

7 weeks (almost) down, and 7 weeks left to go! By the end of this semester, I’m sure I’ll learn more useful skills about communication, time management, and engineering through my classes and virtual interactions with others. Until then, I hope everyone stays safe and takes care of themselves and others.

Fight on!

Christina Najm

Christina Najm

MAJOR: Environmental Engineering YEAR: Class of 2021 HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, California PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @tina.najm On campus I conducted undergraduate research in wastewater treatment technology through the environmental engineering department and am involved in Alpha Omega Epsilon (a social and professional sorority for women in STEM), the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, and the Society of Women Engineers.

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