It’s May 11, and I’m halfway through finals week of my junior year spring semester. Though I’ve been taking engineering classes since first semester freshman year, it’s clear that the classes I’m taking now are more specific, and definitely harder. But one question that has been on my mind from the moment I decided I wanted to major in engineering to now, as I look forward to my senior year design classes is— how hard are engineering classes?
Engineering is a difficult major. There’s no way around it. No matter how good at test taking or studying for classes you are, engineering is difficult. The good thing is, though, that engineering is never impossible. With the right perspective, set of tools, and help along the way, studying engineering can be interesting, engaging, and a very valuable experience.
Though I’m able to recognize that studying engineering is difficult, I’m happy to say that it’s been a mostly positive experience for me. I haven’t been in any ‘weeder’ classes or cutthroat competitions for the best grade, or seen any professors boasting how few people pass their classes. Sure, some classes are more difficult than others, but the professors are always kind and helpful, and offer their help outside of class to any student who feels like they’re struggling. Especially through office hours and extra study sessions outside of class, I’ve gotten to know so many of my professors and have gotten the extra help I needed to truly understand a hard topic (and learn to do things like build this car for a competition in a freshman year class!).
Study groups have also been critical to my experience studying engineering in Viterbi. Rather than being in competition with my peers, I feel like we’re all working together, helping each other learn difficult materials and understand how to solve difficult homework problems. In a small major like environmental engineering especially, my peers in my major have been instrumental in my success and great experience at USC. The environment of collaboration and camaraderie has made it so that, yes, though engineering classes are hard, they’re not impossible.
My advice when approaching engineering classes at USC would be to never underestimate how much work they’ll be, but know that you can learn a lot, do well, and enjoy many of your engineering classes in ways you would never expect. Talk to upperclassmen in your major to learn more about specific classes, and don’t be afraid to check out an interesting topic, no matter how challenging it seems. Good luck in finals week, and fight on!