Hey there! My name is Joses (Joe-ses) Galdamez. I graduated from USC in 2021 with a degree in Computer Engineering and Computer Science at USC. I was a transfer student from College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California and proudly a first-generation college student. I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley along with my younger sister, where both my mom and dad’s families originated from El Salvador. I love listening to music from diverse genres, skateboarding even if I’m subpar at it, and I love to hike when it’s not one thousand degrees outside!
Although the transfer experience is not as common at USC, I feel like I still experienced some form of culture shock immediately walking onto campus. You go from growing up with people looking like you, sounding like you, to a whole world of diverse backgrounds in everything from race, age, wealth, and aspirations. This is not to say every new person I met was inherently bad; in fact, I have found myself surrounded by so many amazing friends and peers who support me and give me the confidence that I need to ensure myself I am doing everything I’m supposed to in order to be the best student I can be. I would say that it wasn’t as easy at first though, since being a first-generation student gave me little to no guidance on how to maneuver educational and social life at the university level, and I struggled to not only keep my grades up my first year, but also to take advantage of the endless opportunities the school offers. Not only this, but also being a transfer student meant that I had to assimilate to the culture at a much faster pace than my first year peers, and I struggled to get the hang of things for a while. If I didn’t push myself into joining amazing clubs and organizations such as 3D4E (3-D For Everyone) and SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), I would have struggled more. In my opinion, integrating yourself in school in any way will always benefit you, because you learn a lot from others and I have yet to ever meet someone who didn’t want to help me grow. I found the value in it especially as I realized how difficult it became living without your parents, especially because I did all my years of life before transferring.
”If I didn’t push myself into joining amazing clubs and organizations such as 3D4E (3-D For Everyone) and SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), I would have struggled more. In my opinion, integrating yourself in school in any way will always benefit you
As I mentioned before, the school offers so many opportunities, ranging from career talks, job fairs, mentorship programs, and I tried to take advantage of it all. It can get incredibly overwhelming however, trying to achieve academically while doing classes, but it helped me learn more about myself and how to interview well for a very unpredictable job market. Because of this, I landed an REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) with the Southern California Earthquake Center and a Back End Developer intern position with IBM. Without the help of the Trojan connection, as well as all my peers pushing me, I wouldn’t have found the value of working harder in an environment I am not familiar with. School prepared me for both research and the industry, mainly because most of the professors and course producers helped me learn the ropes in ways I couldn’t on my own. I say all of these things to stress how important it is to take advantage of what you pay for; school is very expensive, but it is an investment that will benefit you in the long run. This is why I even became SHPE’s Student Transfer Representative, because, even in unprecedented times, I wanted to make sure I was always a point of contact to anyone who was struggling to assimilate, because it wasn’t designed to be easy; it was only designed to be worth it.
I am so incredibly grateful to have been accepted by USC, and to anyone who thinks they are not good enough for the school just because of their background, I need you to know that the school is waiting specifically for you to show yourself off to the world. Go Trojans!