Regardless of where you go to college, classes are going to be hard. There’s no way to escape challenging classes, and especially as an engineer they are inevitable. Rather than running and hiding from these classes (for me Calculus III), there are plenty of ways to conquer them and come out on top (or as close to it as you can get).
Calculus III (Calc 3 for simplicity) was one of those classes that just never really let up for me. For a lot of people, math comes fairly easily, and for the most part it does for me. But, Calc 3 was a whole new ball game. When it came to double integrals, triple integrals, and complex vector spaces, my brain kind of shuts off. Thankfully, at USC there are more than enough resources that got me through the class.
USC has something called the Math Center that, other than my dorm, became my second home my freshman year. I would go there for homework help, test prep, and if I had questions on quizzes. Led by mostly grad students, the Math Center was not as daunting as going to office hours or meeting with my TA. While USC professors and TAs are incredibly helpful and I don’t want to scare people from going to them because obviously they are an amazing resource, I totally understand that sometimes it can be hard to admit to the professor or TA that you are struggling in a class, that’s why the Math Center is so helpful and easy.
USC also has something called SI sessions. These are usually led by a former student of the class, and I highly, highly, recommend them. They are fun because you can get close to your SI leader, and you actually learn a lot of stuff in them. I found myself, towards the end of the semester, going to SI sessions even if I didn’t really have any questions just because I felt like I was learning so much at them and I enjoyed being taught by my SI leader. (I highly suggest these for any class, they have them for a lot of science and math classes, go to all of them!!)
One final tip I have is to do JEP! JEP, or the Joint Educational Program, is this super awesome program USC does where you get to tutor young kids and sometimes even high schoolers in various subjects. Most of the time the Math professors give you extra credit for doing this, and that extra credit makes a big difference at the end of the semester. JEP is not only fun, but also incredibly rewarding, so even more incentive to do it!
So, I guess the moral of this story is don’t feel like you can’t get through hard classes. I’m living proof that you don’t die from math classes (even though it might feel like it sometimes). I’m forever grateful to USC for having so many resources readily available that helped me succeed even when I didn’t feel like I would. So, shoutout to my SI leaders, math center employees, and my former Calc 3 professor, you guys rock. As always guys, fight on!Meet Clare