I cannot remember how many times I was asked this question by family and friends in between being accepted into USC and accepting the offer. You may currently be a senior still deciding on what college to attend or wondering if you have made the right choice; I know I was both of those things at some point in 2018. Even though indecisive at first, as the weeks passed by in April, my USC choice began to go from blurry to a crisp view.

From the very beginning, while applying to colleges I knew I wanted to come to the West Coast, not because of the West Coast Fever, but because I was born in Baja California, Mexico. I moved to El Paso, TX when I was twelve years old, meaning I still have a lot of memories from here. I have family starting from Fresno, all the way down to San Diego and I knew that being around family – even if only once in a while – was something I was looking forward to.

Furthermore, USC’s Computer Engineering & Computer Science (CECS) major is not offered in most places, and it was something that caught my attention while applying. I had coded for a little over a year before coming to USC so I knew computer science (CS) was something I was highly interested in, but I had not had the opportunity to be immersed in other engineering areas. I had a small fear that there was something other than CS out there for me but if I just followed one path I would never know it existed. CECS solved my dilemma since it is a combination of CS and Electrical Engineering (EE) courses.

After accepting USC’s offer I made a deal with myself, I would finish one year as a CECS major, and then decide if I wanted to become just a CS major, EE major, or stay in the CECS route. After taking a CS and an EE course during my fall semester, it became obvious to me that I wanted to pursue a combination of the two and decided to stay as a CECS student. USC’s flexibility is what allowed me to pursue this plan since if I had decided to change majors it would have been as easy as emailing my advisor to let her know.

In the end, USC became my best choice because it allowed me to feel comfortable in an unknown city while also providing me with space to figure out what I wanted to do. USC’s flexibility in switching majors was a big factor for me since as an 18 year old I did not feel extremely confident on what I wanted my four years of college to look like. USC has created an environment where people can find themselves without being limited by one choice they made their freshman year.

Paul Lepe

Paul Lepe

MAJOR: Computer Engineering & Computer Science YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: El Paso, Texas PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @paullepe On campus I have conducted cybersecurity reseach in the STEEL: Security Research Lab and in the Rossier School of Education. I am also involved in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers as the Vice President of Membership.