Sometimes as an engineering student, it can be difficult to find times to relax. That’s what I’m experiencing a bit of this year; between adjusting to being back in person for school and taking some of my most time-consuming classes yet, this semester has been a whirlwind so far to say the least. It’s at times like these that I’m grateful to have developed intense time management and organization skills. Without these—and the reminders app—I would be utterly lost. At this point in my academic career, especially as I’m pursuing my master’s, previous semesters feel almost like they were a trial run. It’s not that my previous semesters were particularly easy (they weren’t), but I now feel a palpable difference in what’s expected of me as a senior undergrad/master’s student. I think some of the most important things you take away from college are these time management skills. Going from highly structured high school life to college throws you into the fire of independence and deciding what you must do with each of your days. I find that I now do this naturally—I create to-do lists at the start of each day of what I want to have accomplished before the day is over, and then I execute on it. It’s a cliché, but it’s also now second-nature of me to start my assignments almost ridiculously early, because you don’t want to find yourself in the situation of not knowing how to finish something the night before it’s due.


Now, because of this, even as I’m looking toward midterm season over the next few weeks, I feel a strange sense of calm. I’m on top of my schoolwork (for the most part), and managing my personal life (for the most part). I’m constantly recognizing that there’s room for improvement in all things, but in general I’m very satisfied where I am. And I’m glad to have friends to share that with in the times where I don’t have to be huddled at my desk working. This weekend, I’m going to see one of my favorite artists at LA State Historic Park about 20 minutes from USC, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Derek Jones

Derek Jones

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Los Gatos, California PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @dmannjones On campus I have conducted environmental engineering research on water distillation methods, and you can currently find me serving as Vice President of my social fraternity and playing on the club volleyball team.

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