Ever since eighth grade, I had thought that when I went to college I would major in Environmental Engineering. That year I had attended state science fair and received a recommendation to attend the Intel International Science fair for a project that studied different types of biomass and their biogas production. Basically, eighth grade Clare thought her entire life should be based on this one accomplishment.

Really cool 8th Grade Clare collecting samples

Flash forward to my freshman year at USC and there I was in Introduction to Environmental Engineering. While what I was learning was interesting and definitely worthwhile, I just could not see myself being an environmental engineer for the rest of my life. So, after four years of thinking I knew what I wanted to do with my life, there I was panicking and having my mid-life crisis about twenty years too early.

What is so great about USC is that it was totally okay that I changed my mind. I went into the advisement office and within minutes I had changed my major to Biomedical Engineering. Now, I know what you are thinking, how do you make such big and totally unrelated jump? I honestly could not tell you what was running through my head. I think I was so nervous about not liking Environmental Engineering that I went to the next thing that I had heard a lot about. A lot of my friends at the time were Biomedical Engineers and I thought Biomedical Engineering sounded pretty cool. Never make a life changing decision just because it sounds “pretty cool”. After one look at the Biomedical Engineering course load and realizing that I was in way over my head, I found myself right back where I started.

It was after talking to a member of my sorority that I finally came to Industrial and Systems Engineering. She made me realize that I wanted to be an engineer because I wanted to help people. I want to work with people to solve complex problems and change the world, which is what all engineers do! Industrial and Systems Engineering or what I like to call business engineering gives me the opportunity to use my engineering skills in a business setting. And, I can even pick up a minor in Chinese, a language I have been speaking for five years now. While it was a bumpy road to get to where I am today, I could not be happier. I can’t wait to see what the next three years have in store for me and I’m glad I could find my spot in Viterbi. Life is so much better when you love what you study.


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