Being a high schooler, you get sold this idea of buying into four years of learning, freedom, opportunities, and experiences. However, it is impossible to have a perfect understanding of what awaits you until you get to live it for yourself. As much as people want to say that you should pick a college based on the research opportunities it offers, how many clubs and organizations it has, or even the college’s amazing location and weather, it really comes down to being a shot in the dark for the most part.


It’s 4am on a Tuesday and you’re at the library. You are a first semester freshman and you are finishing up a paper you procrastinated writing. Those are the moments you will realize if you made the right call or not. Even in moments when all you want to do is give up, call it a night and go to sleep, you realize you still would much rather be at the library then back in your hometown, or anywhere else (other than your bed) for that matter. 

Situations like that helped me realize that I couldn’t see myself anywhere else other than USC, because even during trying times I knew there wasn’t anywhere else I would rather be and no other people I would rather be with. College will give you your people and a sense of belonging that is hard to find. Now that I am a rising senior, I can tell you why I found USC to be that place for me, and why that love didn’t fade away even while I pulled an all-nighter to write a chemistry laboratory report. 


  1. The people – Although I went to USC to study chemical engineering and how to properly design chemical reactors and the functionality of heat and mass transfer for industrial purposes, I can without a doubt say that the situations in which I gained the most knowledge were the ones when I got to interact with other students. Every person at USC has something unique that makes them special; as I interacted with different people and got to further my understanding on their backgrounds, I have grown into an engineer with enhanced critical thinking skills that understands how people’s perspectives will affect their work process and how they can potentially tackle problems in a different way than I would.

  1. Flexibility – USC’s emphasis on interdisciplinary learning had me sold. As an engineering student, I have had the opportunity to take classes that diverge from the STEM spectrum, such as Intro to Gender and Sexuality, Dance and New Media, and Makeup for Motion Pictures. All of these experiences have shaped me into the student and professional that I am today, as those classes forced me to work on my critical thinking and creative skills.


  1. Big school experience, small school feel – Going to a big school like USC comes with the privilege of countless professional, research, and extracurricular involvement opportunities. However, I was really scared of going to a big school and feeling like I did not matter. USC was the perfect place for me to realize that I could matter as much as I wanted to. I have joined multiple organizations (engineering related or not), through which I have been able to experience multiple different USCs.


  1. Spirit – School spirit was a big thing I considered when applying to college, and I am glad I can confidently say that I am in the best school for that. There is nothing like the Trojan Family, and I have had multiple people yell “Fight On” to me when I was wearing USC gear in different states, such as Texas and Florida, and even in Brazil.

  1. Trojans Help Trojans – A lot of people talk about USC’s network and how ”Trojans Hire Trojans”, but I have found that the slogan goes far beyond job opportunities. I have found an amazing collaborative community within USC, and have been amazed to see how people here just want others to succeed as much as they want to succeed themselves. 


And as always, Fight On, and Fight On Forever!

Gus Lanser

Gus Lanser

MAJOR: Chemical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Florianópolis, Brazil PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @guslanser I am involved in community outreach through USC's American Institute of Chemical Engineer's K-12 Outreach initiative and the Engineers Without Borders international project in Bolivia. Beyond Viterbi, I am the President of the Brazilian Student Association, a Supplemental Instructor for MATH 226, and a Resident Assistant @ McCarthy Honors College.