For the first time in my life as an engineering student at USC, I don’t have class on Fridays. It’s an exhilarating feeling, that powerful surge of freedom that still surprises me every Thursday, at exactly 5:00 PM, as I step out of my Mechoptronics laboratory and realize it’s officially the Weekend. Capital W intended.

As much as I love to brag about my established three-day weekend (I mean, it’s pretty awesome…), I always spend more time than expected on homework–especially because of that same lab that, every Thursday at 5 o’clock, I practically sprint out of. AME 341a – Mechoptronics, or “Mechop” for short, isn’t just my toughest class because it’s the last thing standing between me and the Weekend… It’s also tough because it’s strict! On the first day of class, I walked in at 2:02PM—and class had officially started two minutes ago. I was (technically) late, but never had I felt so guilty interrupting to find the last available seat. It even took me a while to find—an awkward chair tightly wedged against the wall, a struggle to get to, and well, I haven’t been late since!!

Going into junior year, I had been warned about Mechop and knew it wasn’t for slackers. Lab reports must be turned in by 1:59PM or you may as well wait until tomorrow. Sorry kids, no broken printer excuses this year!

What's wrong with this picture?

Mechoptronics is a complicated word (it’s a combination of MECHanics, OPtics, and elecTRONICS), so it almost makes sense that it’s a hard class. A mere two labs into the semester and I’ve already learned how to use a Waveform Generator, a Digital Multi-meter, and an Oscilloscope. I now know the difference between “uncertainty” and “error.” Jealous?!? I would be…

An oscilloscope. Pretty cool, right? ...Sort of?

So here’s the catch: this often crazy, occasionally stressful, initially embarrassing, and unexpectedly exhilarating class is actually my favorite one this semester so far. As long as it doesn’t interfere with my Weekend plans tooo much!



Another reason why Mechop isn't so bad: This photo represents all the text books we had to buy. AKA None!!