As the sound of the referee’s whistle signaled the end of my last high school field hockey game, I felt my eyes swell with tears. I had committed so many years, so many hours, and so much effort into the game, and that whistle ended it all. As I gazed out onto the turf, the stadium lights shining down upon my teammates and me, I was overcome by a feeling of gratefulness. From field hockey, I learned the power of mind over body, to push myself to my suspected limits and then exceed them. I learned how to solve problems quickly, to persevere despite faulty goalie pads and oncoming threats. As a result, I have become a great problem solver with a strong sense of obligation.

Gazing out onto the turf, the stadium lights shining down upon my teammates and me, I cried.

I remembered holding my teammate’s hands during a run, pushing each other to our limits as we fervently tried to beat our time for the mile and a half. I remember the sweat, aches, and pains that came as we broke through our mental limitations to push our bodies to the limit. I understood the combined effort, that led us to that stadium for my final game as a senior. Every indoor game in the depths of winter, every summer league game in the scorching sun, and every bruise that I had earned over my high school career I relished as I absorbed what I thought was going to be the last field hockey game of my career.

I was wrong.

Although it was the last field hockey game of my high school career it marked the start of my chapter of field hockey at USC. As an engineering student, I didn’t think I would have the time to pursue other things that I love in college such as sports and food exploration, but USC challenged and beat that idealogy out of me. At USC Viterbi, not only was I able to be an engineering student– I was also able to continue my love for sports. Viterbi showed me that there was more to engineers than just school and encourages us to find out passions outside of class and pursue them.

Elena Ikeocha

Elena Ikeocha

MAJOR: Chemical Engineering (Petroleum Emphasis) YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Townsend, Delaware PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @Sarpurple On-campus, I am an Executive House Manager for USC's Trojan Events Services and a member of USC's co-ed Professional Engineering Fraternity Theta Tau. I am a member of the club field hockey and golf team. In terms of professional clubs, I am a member of AIChE.