I’ve been asked a quite a few times over my college career why I decided to go into my major, Computer Engineering. The question comes from everywhere, friends, family, fellow peers, and even professionals. So I thought it useful to finally sit down and take a moment to reflect on my major and what made me choose it begin with.
My background and experience with Computer Science, or lack thereof, before I came USC was probably one of the most important factors that came into play when I declared my major on my application. Application season was a scary time for me because of all the unknowns; I had no clue what life after high school graduation would like, much less what major I wanted to declare on an application. I really had to sit down and consider the things I liked and those that I didn’t in an effort to narrow my search for the right major.
My strength and my enjoyment for all the maths and sciences I had taken in high school pointed me in the general direction of engineering. Narrowing things down to engineering helped only somewhat; I quickly learned that the field of engineering had both incredible breadth and depth which only led to more and more research.
By the end of a pretty exhaustive search, I still had only vague ideas of cool things I could do with my future depending on my major. The idea of launching humankind into space left me awestruck, designing the newest, fastest car felt looked amazingly challenging, working to build the next best computer system was exciting; all of these were amazing prospects and suddenly I felt more stuck than before. This is where the leap of faith came in.
I wanted to go to college to learn, simple as that. Since I couldn’t pick a major on description alone, I decided to look for the field that would teach me the most. Many of the engineering disciplines I had researched had many of their roots in sciences I had at least some exposure to, all with the exception of the field Computer Science. With no exposure to programming or computer science principles while in high school, the major was completely new and foreign to me. Then I stumbled upon computer engineering, which introduced aspects of electrical engineering (another field that I knew very little about) into the computer science curriculum, and I just knew that I would learn an incredible amount of brand new things by choosing this path.
So, with the exhilarating prospect of learning something completely new and the comfort of easy major switching ensured by many institutions, I declared my major as computer engineering across all my applications and haven’t looked back since. I think my biggest take away from my experience in choosing a major is that it is perfectly okay to choose things for really simple reasons. I wanted to learn the most I could possibly learn while at college so I chose the major that was the most foreign to me. It’s a lesson that I definitely have carried with me and that has greatly improved some of my decision making time.