I arrived to USC thinking I had the world in my palm. I was used to feeling like Einstein at my high school but when I got to USC that definitely became a foreign feeling during my first semester. Coming from an at-risk community in the outskirts of Los Angeles, my city was more than 90% Hispanic and my high school was 99% Hispanic. The majority of the families were lower-middle class and most students at my high school were first generation. Fact was that there was not competitiveness there and with a 50% drop out rate, our teachers were afraid to further challenge us. I am grateful for the education I was given and where it got me but these facts became far too evident upon arriving to USC.

I thought that the difficult part was getting here, but I soon realized that the real challenge was getting out of USC with a diploma and good standing. I was here, I made it. I was at par with the most intelligent people I had ever met with as much the opportunity to do well as they had. My preparation, or lack of, and every other accomplishment I made in high school did not matter anymore. I found that I had to study far more than many of my peers and go to tutoring when they did not. What hurt about that was that they were still doing slightly better than I was.

Did this mean that performing as well as they did was impossible because of my past circumstances?
Of course not, it only meant that I had to modify my study habits and put in far more effort.

How did I go about modifying my study habits?
I talked to upper classmen and the students that were doing best. I learned from them and, most importantly, I learned there is nothing wrong with asking for help. We need to take advantage of the resources that others take for granted. You will find that you win when you put in the effort.

As this semester dwindles down I realize that nobody is Super Man and has an extremely competitive advantage. It’s the will to want to be Super Man that distinguishes some from others. Anyone and everyone can excel if the drive and effort is there. I want to be Super Man, and I will continue to work and learn from my mistakes as I get closer and closer to becoming a professional.

Pedro Lepe

Pedro Lepe

MAJOR: Electrical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2015