When I was researching colleges, I loved watching “Day in the Life” videos of students. Unfortunately, I do not have the editing skills (or the aesthetic) to make a good vlog, so I’m writing a blog. This is a a typical(ish) Wednesday for me!
7:00am: Wake up
I know, I know. It’s way too early. Unfortunately, I take a while to get ready in the morning. I have to do my whole skincare routine and change my outfit around 3 times, all while taking time to perform to the music I am listening to. I currently live in the USC Village, so thankfully I only have to walk across the street to get onto campus. In total, it is around a 10 minute walk from when I walk out of my dorm until I reach my class.
8:00am: AME 301: Dynamics
Ah yes, my 8am class. Even though it is very early in the morning, I enjoy Dynamics. In the class we discuss the motion of systems when forces are applied to them. It’s a lot of differential equations and free body diagrams, but builds on ideas from physics. The class meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 50 minutes, so I’m in and out.
Depending on how long it takes for me to get ready, I will sometimes eat breakfast before my 8am class. If I eat before class, I usually get an omelet or oatmeal and fruit from the Village dining hall. However, today I was running late so I ordered a breakfast burrito combo from Literatea, a café on campus. The combo comes with a coffee/water and a piece of fruit. After I grabbed my order, I made my way to one of my favorite study spots on campus, Ronald Tutor Hall (RTH). I usually sit on the balcony on the second floor because it tends to be quiet and not crowded in the morning. There’s also plenty of places inside!
Prospective students always ask me what a typical weekly workload is like, and my answer is always: it depends. It is now midterm season, so I’m spending more time than usual studying. I have a physics midterm this week, so I spent my time until my next class reviewing past midterms.
11:00am: PHYS 153: Optics and Modern Physics Lab
All physics classes at USC have required weekly lab components. We do experiments related to the concepts we learn in class. Since we are learning about optics in class right now, we studied reflection and refraction in this week’s lab using lasers and mirrors. The class is scheduled for 3 hours, but I rarely stay that long, as we can leave when we finish the experiment. Today I left at around 12:30pm.
12:30pm: Lunch at the Farmers’ Market
Every Wednesday, there is a farmers’ market with local vendors in McCarthy Quad, which is the central lawn on campus. Jewelry, fruits and vegetables, juice, as well as hot food are sold at the market. This week, I decided I wanted some tamales, so I got two chicken tamales from a vendor, which were delicious.
After buying them, I ran into my friends who were hammocking on “Hammock Hill”, which is a small hill in the quad which has a lot of trees that are perfect for hammocking. I sadly do not own a hammock, but it was still relaxing and refreshing to eat with my friends as they lounged in their hammocks. It was 85º (in February!), so it was also nice to get some shade from the trees. There are so many unique outdoor study spaces at USC, which definitely makes studying seem less monotonous, and is great with COVID-19 still around.
2:00pm: AME 204 – Strength of Materials
My last class of the day! Honestly, if you asked me before this semester what people learn in Strength of Materials, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. But basically, in Strength of Materials, we study how applied loads impact the structure of systems, particularly taking into account the mechanical properties of the system’s materials. AME 204 is another foundational course for mechanical engineers, as it’s a prerequisite for a lot of the classes I’ll take in the future.
After Strength of Materials, I walked back to my dorm to continue studying and complete some homework.
5:30pm: Networking event with Intel (free food!)
This week was the bi-annual Viterbi Career Fair and Expo, so there were a lot of companies in the Engineering Quad. Intel invited a club I’m in, the National Society of Black Engineers, to a casual dinner at a restaurant across the street from campus. I encourage every college student to take advantage of any free food they can get, and networking events like this are awesome opportunities to meet recruiters and learn about companies.
When I returned to my dorm from the event, I continued to do my work. Along with my physics midterm, I also had some reading for my writing class, and some homework problems for Dynamics and Strength of Materials. Since I love my sleep, I usually go to bed by 11:30pm.
This is what my Wednesday looked like this week, but one thing I love about college is that there’s always something new to do. Sometimes I’ll study with friends, go to a basketball game, work on my undergraduate research, or grab dinner with friends. There’s plenty of ways to make sure the weeks, months, or semesters don’t become monotonous (while still getting all your work done).