The photo above was taken by my mom on Move-In Day. I was so excited and eager to start college. I also learned so much for about college, outside of my classes. Just remember that it’s all a learning process and learning takes time! Here’s what I learned through my first year at USC.

1) College is hard. And that’s okay.

I’m going to be completely honest with you when I say that I struggled with my courses, a lot. From math courses to computer science courses, I definitely struggled a lot these first two semesters. And that’s completely okay. I think that every time I was struggling, the same thought popped into my head, “everyone else knows what they’re doing, catch up.” I think that stems from being in a really competitive environment in high school but the one thing I’ve taken away is that most likely, everyone is going through the exact same thing. College is just a bunch of people on the verge of emotional breakdowns, acting like they know what they’re doing. Yes, some of us do and a lot of the times we are happy people but there are just times when you will have so much work and you will feel like you don’t have enough time to comprehend all of this material. And that’s okay.

2) Making time for myself and my interests is important.

I’m going to be completely honest again. As much as I would like to believe that I am a social person, my freshman year wasn’t filled the most social of experiences. Most weekends, I would leave my room to eat in the dining hall or for a quick walk around campus, but I would only use the weekend to get ahead on my work. I never went out. My first semester, it really felt like all I did was study, work, eat, and sleep. My second semester, I branched out into more clubs and organizations, but I really didn’t explore the city. It’s been a year since I’ve lived in Los Angeles and I feel like I barely know the city. This year, my sophomore year, I am going to make sure to carve out some time just for myself. Once a month, I’m going to either eat out or go somewhere in LA.

3) My GPA is not the most important thing about my time at college.

My freshman year was spent studying and worrying about my grades. I was so caught up because I was worried that no one would hire me for an internship or I would never get a job once I graduated. After going to the career office and speaking with some advisers, my approach to grades has changed completely. I know that I am putting in all of my effort into my classes and that’s the most important thing. If you are worried about your GPA in college, there are plenty of other ways to show employers your work ethic and enthusiasm. Get involved with student organizations that have projects where you can showcase your skills, or become a tutor and show your dedication to learning. If you aren’t having fun in your classes and you’re constantly worried about grades rather than the actual material, it’s time to reevaluate your perspective, just as I did.

Mahima Varanasi

Mahima Varanasi

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @mahima On campus I am part of OWN IT, a women's leadership team who plans an annual summit based on amazing women helping each other out. Outside of Viterbi, I am involved in political campaigns.