Entering your freshman year here at USC you may find that there is a shift in the work load and level from what you experienced in high school. You’re going to say, “I’m an engineer: this is what I want to do with my life” (okay maybe that’s wishful thinking, but you see where I’m going). I say to you, yes! But, life is always better when work is quick and/or fun! Here are three tips I hope will make your life a little easier, and a lot more enjoyable:

group collaboration

A little communication and collaboration will always be beneficial for you.

Create and Join Groups

“Two minds are better than one,” is 100% how you should approach your homework game. Study groups have numerous benefits in every class you take. Groups allow you to: see different perspectives on topics in GE’s, get a second set of eyes running over your math, allows you to learn how processes work in different terms than the professor explains, and sometimes gives you the opportunity to shine on a topic you feel particularly comfortable with. Keep in mind that you want to understand all the information for yourself and not just when the group is together! Most importantly group work lets you make friends. No major project ever undertaken was made by one person’s hand; so don’t hesitate to study with your peers. You will only make each other better.

Computer lab

Picking a study spot helps develop a solid routine. There are plenty across campus, you’ve just got to find your home.

Study Locations

Equally important to whom you study with is where you study. In high school they start with the basics: find a place with good lighting and few distractions. Luckily, USC’s campus has those wonderful options everywhere. But, there are more of the little things that count; like: solo study, or group work, and the ever-present question “do I need Windows?” For this, I offer my favorite places to do work across campus.

  • WPH Basement Computer Lab: This was my go-to freshman year because it isn’t far from my dorm, New/North. Complete with computers sporting MatLab, and SolidWorks, it also has tables and cubbies with TV’s for individual and group study.
  • SAL Computing Science Center: Another go-to freshman year, SAL is located by Parkside and RTH. SAL’s spot on the engineering campus sets it apart as an engineering study space. It has a similar set up to WPH, but with more computers.
  • RTH 2nd Floor Study Room: Easy to find, this room and adjacent study spaces are great for studying by yourself.
  • USC Libraries: The libraries are designated study spaces, and you will always be able to get work done at them. Keep in mind, if you’re going to work as a group in a library you should reserve a room at : http://www.usc.edu/libraries/about/library_space/ . You can reserve up to two hours a day in your name. Don’t be afraid to look beyond club Leavey, expand your horizons with the many libraries across campus.


Never underestimate the effect a little snack can have on your attitude towards studying. Some cheese and crackers, or a baggie of grapes go a long way to revitalizing yourself after a couple of challenging triple integrals. Snack spots are plentiful at all times of the day. Whether you’re on campus at Trojan Grounds, Ground Zero, and the Tutor Campus Center, or you have the time to swing by CVS or Fresh & Easy, you are never far from a pick me up.

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Studying and homework are core learning components to our education. But they don’t have to be boring, and they most certainly don’t have to be done alone! Pick up a group of your friends, or make completely new ones, pick a spot, and enjoy a snack. I hope this helps you keep the ball rolling! Fight On!



Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2016, Learn more on his profile here!