It’s scary to think that my freshman year is already coming to a close; the novelty of having my giant Trojan family with both professors and students hasn’t even begun to wear off and yet I’m forced to admit that I’m done with almost a quarter of my time here. On that note, I felt it was a good time to reflect on my year to help you future Trojans have a fantastic freshman year and make the most of it!

Now, I’m a computer programmer, so I’ll put this in the best way I know how: code.

bool Student::handleEvent( event *e ) {

if( freeTime == true ) {

return true;


else {

return false;



In other words, if you don’t have free time, you can’t go to every fun event that pops up! If I’ve learned one thing about college, it’s that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with work and miss out on the event of the week, whether it be a career fair, a free seminar, or even just a movie night.

Let’s just get this out of the way. Despite what you may think, play is just as important as work! If you work too much without a break, your quality of work will suffer as will your own mental health. Study breaks and stress relief are essential, and fun! In the words of The Shining’s Jack Nicholson: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Don’t be a dull boy!

But where does this free time come from that lets you take a breath of fresh air? First and foremost, in Viterbi the classes are built around learning and not “busy-work,” and so the workload is very manageable if the right steps are taken.

So here’s my lesson: Get Ahead.

I’ve found that many of my classmates procrastinate with the various distractions around them: Facebook, video games, people in their hall, etc. These traps are easy to fall in and I’m guilty of them too. What I try to do, and I suggest you should too, is to look ahead on the schedule and finish homework and projects when they’re assigned. Rather than waiting until the last two days before they’re due, I start working on my projects the day that they are assigned and take breaks when I need to. That way, by the time the last couple days arrive, I’ve already finished!

One of the things that has helped me the most with being proactive with my work is a piece of advice that my high school AP Literature teacher told us just before graduation. He said that someday we would probably all be working 9-5 jobs, and there’s a reason that it’s called a 9-5 and not a 8-10, 1-3:30, and 6-7. By setting aside the time between 9am and 5pm for work – whether it be class, projects, or homework – people are generally more productive as we can stay in the right mindset. That’s what I do. I go to my first class, and then during breaks I work. By the time the day is winding down and classes are over, I’ve finished most of my work for the day and sometimes even have time to do projects ahead of time! I don’t feel stressed out about my work unless I procrastinate and fall behind.

So, the moral of my story is to get ahead. Set aside time for work and time for play and stick to it! That way, you’ll never have to miss out on the free cupcakes by Tommy Trojan or the festival on McCarthy Quad!

P.S.: To all upcoming freshmen reading this post, best of luck with your Freshman year! It goes by quick; enjoy every minute of it!



Computer Science/Business Administration, Class of 2016, Learn more on his profile here!