The decision of where to spend the next four years of my life was daunting as a senior in high school. These four years were going to be a five-hour plane ride from home. They were supposedly the years of the most critical personal growth and identity-building. College was a time to figure out what I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to.
My college decision was based on two questions. By May 1st, I was convinced that USC was the answer to these questions.
“Where am I going to be the happiest?”
When I visited USC in April of my senior year, I was able to talk one-on-one with a couple students. I was impressed with how independent, motivated, and passionate they were. They were engaged in a variety of student organizations, types of research, and internships. They were also so supportive of me as a student contemplating USC as my college choice, which revealed the welcoming and collaborative culture among USC students. I felt like I could relate to and connect with the students I met. I would be happy grabbing dinner in downtown LA, studying chemistry, and going to USC football games with them.
When I was walking around the USC campus during my visit, I loved the energy and the “hustle-and-bustle” feel. Students were walking in all directions, wearing suits, USC sweatshirts, or flowery dresses. Some were weaving through the crowd riding bikes, skateboards, or scooters. Tents were stationed on the side of Trousdale Pkwy with students pitching their organizations. The sun was shining on the red bricks of Doheny Library, and I realized that I wanted to be in this atmosphere every day. I would be happy here.
“Where am I going to find the opportunities I am looking for?”
During my college search, I was looking for a school with a reputable engineering program in tandem with a reputable liberal arts program. As a student who loved the humanities and was not willing to give it up completely, one advantage I saw in coming to Viterbi was the Engineering Plus initiative in which engineering students were encouraged to explore other fields besides engineering. I would be able to minor in history or classics or English at USC.
As a senior in high school, I was passionate about research relating to the advancement of medicine. Thus, I knew I wanted to do this kind of research starting my freshman year in college. USC presented a plethora of research opportunities. There were biomedical engineering faculty doing really cool projects associated with tissue engineering and therapy for cancer. USC made it clear on my visit that faculty accepted freshmen into their laboratories. The brand-new Michelson Center for Convergent Biosciences was opening within the next year. This was a building dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing health challenges. The Keck School of Medicine had sports medicine research specifically on rehabilitation and injury prevention. I knew I would find research suited to my interests at USC.
There you have it. I believed that USC was the place where I would be the happiest and where I could partake in the experiences I was hoping for. Now that I am a student at USC, I can say with confidence that USC did not disappoint.