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I can honestly say that my experience at USC has been shaped by the friends I have made through the study groups I have formed within my Chemical Engineering major. Before coming to college, I knew that I wanted to study engineering in a supportive environment, and I found that in Viterbi. From doing homework to studying for exams and quizzes, I met groups of amazing people within my courses.

Fact: Working in small groups can enhance your learning and motivation

Advice: if you are stuck on a problem for more than 30-45 mins ask for help, typically start with your peers and if they are confused, go to the TA or professor.

Fact: professors encourage study groups, and just this semester, it was included in my syllabi to work in the groups to complete homework as they can be tasking.

I distinctly remember my first semester sophomore year in which I had started taking more CHE courses. I spent the first time that semester working by myself and struggling for hours on my homework. I didn’t go to office hours and just struggled in silence at this point. This all changed when one of my friends invited me to study for our first midterm with her and some other people in the class. The night of the study group, I remember laughing so hard and completing my study plan for the exam in half the time it usually would have taken me. I realized that having people to bounce ideas off, and at times hold your hand in the explanation of problems allowed me to grasp the material faster and not waste time in frustration.

The group that I met that night became some of my closest friends, and when the pandemic hit, it didn’t change the amount of time we spent supporting and helping each other, as did our work. Being an engineering major is difficult, that is true. But having a support system within engineering and specifically within my major has enhanced my learning and experience as an engineer.

An image of a 12-hour call solely for completing a project for my separations class. It was a very long night, and although it was during the pandemic, it was anything but lonely.

Timothy Harrington