Its August, which means it’s about that time where recently graduated seniors are slowly packing up their rooms and getting ready to start their new chapters, and for some that means becoming a Trojan! I’ll be starting this fall as a junior (oh how time flies), but I still remember coming in as a freshman not knowing much, and desperately wishing there was a “how-to” guide to help me figure things out. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to write my “How-To: College” guide yet, but I jotted down 5 things that I plan to include:

1. No one expects you to know everything
Don’t worry about not knowing everything that’s going on within the first week, month, or even semester (I’m a junior now and still learning and figuring things out myself). That just causes unnecessary stress and anxiety, and you’ll be sure to get your fill of that once midterms roll around. Don’t be afraid to stop and ask someone a question on campus if you need help, we’ve all been there and promise not to bite! It takes time to get the hang of college, and if you feel that you need more help, there are plenty of resources on campus that are there for you.

2. Welcome Week
Welcome week is basically two weeks of nonstop events for new and returning students. The first week is geared to new students and includes cultural, social, and athletic events, amongst others. It may seem overwhelming at first with so many events, but no one is expecting you to attend all of them. I would suggest picking out a few events that you want check out early on, and then adding to your list as the weeks go on. A few of the events that I really enjoyed attending myself were the Viterbi New Student Luau, Welcome Back Carnival and Concert, and Black and Latino/a New Student Symposium.

3. “Treat Yo Self”
Make time for yourself. It doesn’t seem like something you would have to worry about, but trust me, you will. Once assignments start piling up along with extracurriculars and hanging out with friends, you’ll quickly find that there’s not much time for you to just have some “me” time. Spend this time doing whatever you enjoy to stay relaxed and stress free. This could be anything from getting a good workout in, to binge watching a series on netflix, or laying out on the beach. Remember, getting good grades is just as important as taking care of yourself!

4. Office Hours are Your Friend.
Your courses may pose more challenges than you originally thought, and sometimes you may need a little more assistance. But don’t worry, that’s why professors have office hours. It may seem intimidating going to speak to your professors at first, but remember, they are there to help you. Every one of the professors have your best interest at heart and will do as much as they can to help you understand whatever concepts you’re struggling with. And if that’s still not enough, you can always hit up a Teaching Assistant or make an appointment with a tutor through the Viterbi Academic Resource Center.

5. Get involved!
USC literally has something for everybody, with 100+ student organizations to prove it. All of the orgs are showcased during the 2-day Involvement Fair held during the beginning of each semester down Trousdale. Try to attend as many info sessions for the orgs you are interested, but don’t feel obligated to join any of them. Info sessions are held to give potential members, like you, a better idea of what the org does, and for potential members to see if that is something they would like to be a part of. If you don’t think it’s a right fit for you, don’t feel obligated to continue going to meetings or join the org. If students orgs aren’t your thing, there are many other ways to get involved on campus, like joining Residential or Undergraduate Student Government, or the Concerts Committee!

It definitely would have been nice to know some of these things before I stepped onto campus for the first time as a Trojan, but of course, everyone is different. My experiences will surely differ from everyone else’s, but I hope that regardless, some of what I said will help make a student’s transition to USC a little easier. I am excited for this school year and can’t wait to see all of the new Trojan faces on campus!

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