Transitioning from high school to college could be… challenging. It’s a huge change to say the least! Even though I stayed at home last semester, I definitely struggled to adjust to the college life at USC as a 1st year engineering student. Reflecting back on my experience, it was full of trial and error, but through those challenges, I learned some lessons that I think are worth sharing.
Lesson 1: If you’re interested in something, try it out!
My biggest regret after the first semester was that I did not apply to many of the clubs and positions that I was interested in. I was afraid that I was not qualified enough for them, and decided not to apply. What I didn’t understand was that a lot of organizations on campus realize that you may not have many skills related to engineering and are willing to teach you. If you’re interested in something, it’s important to at least give it a try. It doesn’t hurt to shoot your shot. Even if you don’t get the position, they are more likely to remember you for the next year / semester.
Lesson 2: Time-management is important- and essential.
Unlike high school where you have the same schedule every day, all of the college days look different. On top of classes that start at different times, you have career events, academic meetings, and information sessions to attend. It could also be hard to keep track of all the assignments and deadlines. One simple tip I received from many upperclassmen in Viterbi was to use Google calendar and set up reminders for anything I may forget. I have been scheduling all of my classes and creating reminders so that the alarm goes off 10 minutes before every one of my classes.
Lesson 3: You’re definitely going to fail at some point… but that’s okay
Last semester, whenever I didn’t do well in my class or on my interviews, I felt like I was not good enough as a student. When those things happened, I thought of myself as a disappointment or failure. If you ever thought about yourself that way, you know the feeling. But what I learned was that those failures were necessary for me. It may be a cliche, but those failures helped me realize what I needed to work on and eventually helped grow as a person. It’s natural to trip over things when you’re trying something new. If you ever get into a situation like mine… don’t doubt yourself!
As a second semester freshman, I can confidently say now that I am glad to have faced those challenges. Like I said earlier, I became a better version of myself as a result. If you are an incoming freshman reading this article, I hope those lessons will help you adjust to the college life!