With school starting back up in a couple weeks, I wanted to share some advice to all of you incoming members of the Trojan family. USC rocks, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made, but as an incoming freshman, I’m sure you’re worried about regrets. You’ve probably read a ton of buzzfeed articles and watched youtube videos about “trying new things” and “finding yourself” and “going outside your comfort zone,” I know I did before starting college. After my orientation, I was even more nervous, mostly because I met a ton of people that were super smart and put together. I was intimidated, and that’s putting it lightly.
I think one of the most important things to realize when transitioning from high school to college is the idea that no one has their life together. In high school, you live your life in a routine, going to school from 8-3, doing your extracurriculars, hanging out with friends and going to sleep. You know exactly who you are and what you’re supposed to be. In college, you’re suddenly given all this freedom, and there’s 800 clubs to join and research labs to work in and sports to participate in and it’s so SO easy to get overwhelmed. I joined maybe 12 things right off the bat after the initial involvement fair, because I was scared I would be perceived as a hermit or “unspirited” or just not as on top of it as the rest of my peers. I also had this weirdly large ego and pride issue, coming from a competitive high school in the Silicon Valley. Everyone knew what they wanted to do, or at least they appeared to– I was confused about what I was supposed to do and who I was supposed to be and for the first month of school, I thought I was the only one.
THAT IS SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH!!! In the two years of college I’ve experienced, I’ve realized that people’s interests (including my own) change every day, and that’s because you’re in college to LEARN. TO LEARN WHAT IS OUT THERE, WHAT YOU CAN DO, AND HOW YOU, YES YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. And the biggest thing is that EVERYONE is in the same boat. You wouldn’t even believe how many of us on the Viterbi Overseas program this summer had existential crises– they are real, they happen and they happen to literally every single person. That person setting the curve in your chem class, that person who somehow slays every discrete algebra exam and goes hard every weekend, that person who somehow looks like a walking instagram model. Everyone in college is there to find out what they want to do, who they want to be and what they’re “passionate” about; you are not alone in this wacky, crazy journey.
That being said, some (hopefully) non cliché tips for freshman year: be kind. Be open-minded. Take risks in every way– go to new places, go downtown at night (ok do this with buddies pls be safe), pick a new sport, take a chance on people, start conversations in elevators or in line for food. Document everything. I can’t emphasize this enough, take pictures and videos and embarrassing snapchats and write in a journal and tack up cheesy polaroids. Freshman year flies by, and I can tell you for CERTAIN that you will miss it tremendously. Work your ass off. You got into this school because you’re insanely smart, well rounded and pretty freaking rad. Prove it to yourself and to everyone around you. GO TO AT LEAST ONE GAME DAY. You might be “introverted” but I assure you, there’s something in the air those days, Trojan pride is contagious. Pet many, many dogs.
College is hard. But it’s hard for everyone, and you will get what you put into it. I’ll admit, freshman year was pretty rough for me, and I was constantly questioning what I was doing, why I was surrounded by people so vastly superior to me, and why I left the Bay Area at all. I learned so much about myself, and people, and that summer I took an insane risk and spent 7 weeks in China. It was the best decision I could have made, and I can tell you now that I am a completely different person because of it. Take advantage of freshman year, people are so friendly, everyone is trying something for the first time, and you have the ability to be whoever you want. USC will support you in anything you could possibly want to do, so literally go out there and fight on.
That’s all I got for you guys!! If you ever want to talk about college life, need advice or just want to hang out, feel free to reach out, I (obviously) love meeting people. Here to serve you guys :))))