Narrowing down what USC means to me is certainly difficult, especially to one word. So many things come to mind, but I will do my best to explain why I chose the word “cooperative”. This spirit of teamwork and support exists both within the student community, and between the faculty/staff and students. I have found it to be such a great environment to learn, grow, succeed, and even occasionally make mistakes and figure out what to do next (but maybe not quite in that order).
There is something about finding that solid group of students in your engineering classes, who can crank through a homework assignment or go to a swanky dinner in downtown LA. We know engineering classes are challenging… but at least at USC, I have found that it encourages students to stick together. My study group was at my apartment yesterday to study for our CHE 350 midterm today, and then we all went to the new Sprinkles that opened on 7th! In every Chemical Engineering class that I’ve been in, the professors have encouraged collaboration. Though some classes do have a “curve,” I have always found it to work in my favor and has never fostered any negativity between classmates.
Basically, I have found that cooperation has really played a part in my classes, but even in my extracurriculars. Part of being in a leadership position is learning how to work with others, and I have definitely seen that through my work with Trojan Alliance. I’m pretty grateful for the collaborative environment here, because I had enough of the “competitive” environment in high school, and this is a nice change!
But mostly, I’m grateful for the cooperation between the faculty/staff and the students. Last week, I really needed some advice for the next summer and fall. Basically, the internship offer in Germany that I got for the next summer was also extended through fall semester. Very exciting news, but there are a few complications with simply taking a semester off without any classes.
On Tuesday, I walked into the Viterbi Career Services office, and spoke to an adviser about co-ops and the process for getting credit in Viterbi. Then I went to my CHE 350 professor, and asked for his advice with the co-op versus doing a research program. Later that day, I spoke to my academic adviser in Chemical Engineering about rearranging my classes to still potentially graduate in 4 years. Then on Wednesday, I spoke to Dr. Armani in nanotechnology about switching my emphasis to better accommodate my schedule. I went and talked to Financial Aid about deferring my scholarship another semester in case it takes me 4.5 years to graduate. Then I talked to a PDP adviser to see if I could still get my Masters’ in the fifth year. Finally, I spoke to my Viterbi Student Alumni Mentor (she graduated a few years ago, and was also a VSA!) over Skype to ask for her advice… especially since she studied abroad in Ireland the fall semester of her senior year. I didn’t mean to give the details to bore you, but just to show how accessible and cooperative everyone here is! Within the span of two days, I was able to talk to so many people, just with a quick email beforehand.
So this is what USC means to me. There is this spirit of cooperation is within the student body, and between the students and staff. You’ll be surprised how much this affects your college experience. Good luck with your acceptances, and don’t forget to come visit later this spring!