I had a lot of expectations for college in high school. As I researched colleges to write supplements, perform well in interviews, and ultimately decide where I wanted to attend, I imagined what clubs I would be a part of, what classes I would take, my dorm rooms, what I would eat for breakfast at the dining hall, and more. For USC specifically, I planned out what minor I wanted to have, general education classes I was interested in taking, the research lab I wanted to join, my four-person suite in McCarthy Residential College, and then, I didn’t even end up going to campus my freshman year.
Although most people will probably not have an experience as dramatic as mine, I do think a lot of people find that their interests and involvements change throughout college. There were a lot of things that I planned to do that I tried and decided were not for me or I decided weren’t top priorities for me.
For example, I wanted to add a minor from the Iovine and Young Academy when I first started. However, after seeing my four year course plan for my major, I decided that I would rather take a bunch of different courses that interested me instead of a single minor. I’ve still been able to take courses in the school that I’ve really enjoyed, like a design general education course I took last year.
However, there are also organizations and opportunities that I had no idea about that have been some of my favorite and most rewarding experiences. Last year, I joined USC Makers, which is a team-based electronics club that works on year-long technical projects. I’ve gotten to expand on knowledge I’ve learned in class, learn new things, and meet amazing people. After I couldn’t join the lab I researched while applying, I joined a different one I found from an email and I love what I’m working on.
As I’m sure any high school student will learn, engineering, and college in general, is challenging and time-consuming. You probably won’t have time to do absolutely everything you want to. Prioritizing my interests and activities, along with being flexible and having an open-mind have allowed me to maximize my experience here. I think one of the most special things about USC and Viterbi is the amount of resources and opportunities available. There is no need to be upset if you go to college and find out things you were excited about don’t work for you. There will always be other opportunities to try.