Hey everyone! My advice for freshman is to look at the big picture in all of your endeavors. This will help you in several ways…

This is REALLY important in your academics. In high school, you had several classes that didn’t necessarily all relate to each other. You could treat them all as separate disciplines, and tailor your knowledge for each class depending on what your teacher wanted. In college, it’s completely different. Every class you take here is preparation for other classes you will have to take (ever heard of prerequisites?). Your whole degree is preparing you for the real world- a job, grad school, etc. You will learn within your first couple of semesters that it’s not enough to learn a chapter, take the exam, and forget about it. Chances are, you’ll be revisiting the same concepts in a class your next semester. As a freshman, you should look at the big picture. What do you expect to learn in your major classes by the time you graduate? Your introductory engineering classes here will help you answer that question. Then, throughout your academic career here, put everything you learn into context. Why are you learning about that one concept? For example, for me: How is Inventory Management important for Industrial & Systems Engineering? Putting everything in its place relative to everything you expect to learn by the time you graduate, you will understand concepts in other classes better and remember older concepts a lot easier.

This can also help you with networking. You will interact with tons of people while at USC. Professors, advisors, students, industry professionals, and more. These people are not only going to be here for you for 4 years. The Trojan Family lasts a lifetime. Understand others. You might not come from a place as diverse as USC. Be open to new ideas, and accept that not everyone thinks like you do. With this in mind, meet as many people as you can. People of other majors, people older than you, people from different countries, etc. Your professors aren’t just teachers, they are people, too- nice people. By talking to and getting to know people who are different than you, you will learn a lot about the real world that you won’t learn from your class material.

Finally, looking at the big picture can really help you with your career. Always put your current situation into context- what do you want to do when you graduate? Do you want to get a job? Pursue a Master’s degree? Go to medical or law school? It is never too early to start thinking about these things and preparing yourself now. Go to company info sessions, visit the admissions website of the med school you want to go to. Find out now what these places are looking for and network with them.