One thing I wish I did more in my freshman and sophomore years at USC is take more elective classes. USC has so much to offer, and as I enter my final 2 years here, I want to make sure I take advantage of everything.
As a Viterbi student, some majors have technical electives as part of their course plan. These electives give students the option to take upper division Viterbi classes, both within and outside of their major, for major credit. This semester, I am taking a class from USC’s Information Technology Program, which offers minors and specializations that give students coursework in applied technology. The class is ITP348: Making Smart Devices: Introduction to Electronics/Wearables. When I was applying to USC, I was unsure of what major I wanted to apply to. I was between Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. Although I ultimately chose Mechanical, I still wanted to explore my interest in electronics. Taking this class as my technical elective allowed me to do that and fulfill requirements for my major.
ITP348 is a project-based course, where all of our assignments are to wire circuits and code microcontrollers. For this class, I’ve controlled LEDs, read data from sensors, and programmed OLEDs. It’s been a great way for me to expand my coding and circuitry knowledge. For our final project, we build our own smart device. I have no idea what I am going to create yet, but I’m excited. We received a kit from the ITP department that included a microcontroller, LEDS, and a couple of different sensors. We also had to purchase a kit with more sensors and electronics we can utilize throughout the semester.
Another elective I’m taking this semester is PHED 122: Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. Kundalini is a fast-paced version of yoga that incorporates mantras and different breathing techniques.I had never heard about Kundalini yoga before I registered for this class, I just knew I wanted to work on mindfulness this semester. The class is two hours and meets once a week, but we have the option to attend other classes throughout the week. We also have homework to incorporate yoga practice into our daily lives. I definitely feel more relaxed when I leave class and I think the daily practice has been helpful as well.
Taking courses outside of my major has made me a more well-rounded student. I’m grateful I have the opportunity to explore and expand my knowledge. I’m already planning what electives I’m taking next semester!