When I first came to USC, I was so clueless about the college experience. Throughout my years at USC, however, I have luckily gained so many amazing mentors and role models to help me along my journey. While there are so many people who have helped me become a successful student at USC, I have chosen just a few to highlight below.
- My Pre-Health Advisor: Being pre-med at any college is daunting to say the least. With so many steps in the sequence like Organic Chemistry, the MCAT, and the medical school application in general, I felt very overwhelmed my first semester. However, my pre-health advisor, Dr. Geller, has really helped me navigate these tough requirements and also solidify my love for medicine. Dr. Geller goes beyond just telling me which classes to take or what MCAT score I need, he has taken the time to discuss what it means to be a physician and if it is a good fit for me. As a retired Otolaryngologist, Dr. Geller is eager to share his love for medicine to help us on our pre-health journeys. This semester, I have had the amazing opportunity to take his class, MDA 210: Contemporary Issues and Cases in Health Care. In this class, he treats us like medical students and gives us a full patient report to write up each week as a team. He challenges us to perform above what is normally expected of undergraduate students and as a result I have gained so many valuable skills that I plan to implement in future schooling. I am so grateful to have an advisor that cares so much about me along with all of his other students.
- My Research Professor: During my first semester of freshman year, I took a crash course in Biomedical Engineering through BME 101 with Dr. Yen. Not only did I meet some of my best friends and study buddies in the class, but I also began to form a longterm relationship with my professor. At the time, I was really unsure of where I saw myself at USC, and luckily Dr. Yen was more than happy to discuss with me my passions and where I would fit in here at Viterbi. I even began conducting research with him the next semester, which has become an amazing learning opportunity for me. Dr. Yen has given me the freedom to work on projects independently but also with his constant support to back me up. Through my research with him, I have learned to persevere and work hard to find potential solutions. In my classes, answers are normally readily apparent after putting in the work; however, in research, I had to become comfortable with the long process of searching for valuable findings. When I become frustrated with the endless improvements and iterations on my simulations or printed circuit board designs, Dr. Yen always reminds me that the process is called “REsearch” and not “search” for a good reason.
- Countless Supplemental Instruction Leaders: At USC Viterbi, I have found so many resources to help me in my studies including extra help from older undergraduate students who work as Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leaders. SI leaders are students who have previously performed very well in the class you are enrolled in and want to help others succeed as well. They re-attend all of the lectures and design reviews each week to help you keep up with the materials. They are a great resource to ask questions from in an informal manner, and I have also found them all to be incredible role models for me. I remember speaking about my goals and pre-medical aspirations with my first SI leader. He helped me find extracurriculars at USC that I was passionate about (like Troy Camp and SC Outfitters!) and also gave me a lot of advice about the MCAT and the medical school application process in general. I have received even more help from each SI leader after him, and I am incredibly grateful for their continual support!
- Older Students: In college, you will take classes with students from all different grade levels and backgrounds. I have formed countless friendships with older students in Biomedical Engineering and USC overall. My older friends are always happy and excited to share their favorite General Education classes, professors, and advice for succeeding in each class. Honestly, these older students have served as informal “guidance counselors” for me and have really helped me tailor my path at USC to fit my needs and interests as best as possible.
There were too many amazing mentors and friends at USC to name them all, but I hope I have shed some light on just a few of the amazing opportunities to get support in college. No matter where your path takes you, I am sure you will find similarly amazing mentors to help you along your way. <3