As you transition from high school to college, you’ll hear about the academics, extracurricular activities, housing, dining, and virtually everything else about your college. One term thrown around a lot is “student life”. An important part of that is your network of friends. Not only can you go to them for academic questions, but you can ask them personal ones as well. These are the types of people you will have late night philosophical discussions with. These are the people you can binge all (yes, all) of the Harry Potter movies with. 

For my first (virtual) year, my “student life” was certainly untraditional and abnormal.

The only USC “friends” I had were tiny squares on zoom or profiles on Instagram. 

Although I appreciated the opportunity to connect with fellow trojans in some form, I’ve found that in-person connections are completely different. In a good way. 

My first semester this year was a lot like what I am told the typical freshman fall semester is like. I came to my dorm eager to connect with as many people as possible — and many of my peers had the same thought! I moved in the week before classes began, and USC scheduled multiple events every day for us to get to know each other, the faculty, and the campus. 

Traditionally there is a freshman pool party that I’ve heard great things about, but we had a massive party across campus that involved sophomores as well. There were food trucks, karaoke, a roller rink, t-shirts, and a ton of other activities and USC swag. I met a ton of other sophomores that night, and I also got to know my virtual friends in real life!

There are also club fairs, athletic fairs, and so many other ways to meet people with similar interests. I’ve found that joining clubs of things that I am interested in (like engineering) has led me to form great friendships and find friend groups. 

If I could give you one piece of advice coming into college, it would be to be open to events that USC facilitates and to take a deep breath. 

You will find your people when you come to college.

If it doesn’t happen right away, it eventually will.

I was originally stressed that I would never find people like my high school friends. Looking back on my experience, I wish I could tell myself that everything would work out. I didn’t meet people like my old friends. I met new types of people and expanded my friend network to people all over the world. From Madagascar to Egypt to Dubai, I never would have met all of these friends if not for USC. I think that’s pretty cool. 

 

Fight On!

Maya Neuenschwander

Maya Neuenschwander

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering YEAR: Class of 2024 HOMETOWN: Hudson, Wisconsin PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @schwanders I'm involved in interdisciplinary research investigating public health inequities along with being an officer for the Society of Women Engineers and a member of Engineers without Borders. Outside of school, I have my own photography business.

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