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Why I chose USC

As the younger sister of a brother interested in engineering, I was taken along on a lot of engineering college tours before I was really interested in looking at colleges myself. But I do remember being at USC and just feeling comfortable walking around. There was no great epiphany or light shining down to tell me this was the school for me, I simply recognized that the campus felt like a space where I fit in and felt comfortable first and foremost. Looking around, most students I saw were waving at friends as they biked past, smiling together as they walked to class, eating lunch in a sunny spot in front of the library, and generally just looked content. I could feel the community and feel that sense of enjoyment from the students around me.

Why I chose Viterbi

For Viterbi in particular, I made my decision after meeting and chatting with current Viterbi students both in person and over the phone. One thing carried through all the interactions I had with them: everyone was very involved outside of engineering and didn’t fit the typical engineering stereotype I was starting to fear I might become. They all still had their various passions and leaned into them alongside a rigorous course of study that they also enjoyed and felt challenged by. I left these talks either wanting to be these students’ friends or be just like them.

Why I’ve stayed at USC & Viterbi

As I am now a senior in my last few weeks of classes, the question remains of why I have stayed at USC and Viterbi in particular, especially after a rocky year of COVID and various other happenings over the years. Personally, I have felt like USC has truly become my second home and has helped me to create my own footing in this crazy city of LA.  This school has made a huge city feel so much smaller and brought me into a collaborative, fun, motivating, comforting, and inspiring community. I have found this connection through Viterbi in particular as I am leaving these four years with a foundation of friends and fellow engineers that I know will be behind me for all the years after this. Not only that, but Viterbi never once boxed me in and forced me to follow a typical path for engineering. I was not only allowed but encouraged to pursue interests outside of my major and develop myself holistically in a way that enabled me to build myself up, find my passions, and determine exactly the kind of future I actually want for myself.

Why I have the best memories here

The answer to this one is simple: the people. I will forever cherish the hilarious, heart-warming, challenging, inspiring, difficult, beautiful times I shared with my fellow students around me. These are the people who lifted me up in difficult moments, helped me find myself when I felt lost, cheered with me at football games, laughed at silly coding mistakes during study sessions, and genuinely cared for me through it all. Leaving with a degree is definitely one of the greatest accomplishments of my college experience, but leaving with lifelong friends and treasured memories is even greater.

Why I could talk about Viterbi for hours 

Viterbi has given so much to me, whether in the form of scholarship, academic and extracurricular opportunities, job options, resources, or personal development, and I am truly grateful to this school for helping shape who I am today. The woman and engineer I have become is thanks in large part to the constant support that Viterbi has provided me over the years as well as the freedom and allowance this school offered me to forge my own path in computer science. The faculty here have given me a solid foundation for continuing on in my area of focus and the school has backed up all my endeavors and pursuits that feel authentic to me and my goals.

Why I’m sad to say goodbye

Closing a chapter is always hard and ending college in a few weeks is no exception. Not living down the street from my closest friends or being able to sit for hours with CS pals in the Doheny library to complain about our finals or lounging in the Village sipping an overpriced matcha or working on my own video game with class partners turned close friends. All the little moments in between of biking underneath the delicate purple flowers in Founder’s park and watching friends perform on stage and sitting in the grass responding to emails. I’ve attached a piece of myself to this school and this city, and I think a little part of myself will always remain here because of how it has become home to me.

Why I’m happy graduating

Through the resources, care, and opportunities provided by USC, I have built a sturdy foundation within myself that will set me off on a strong path for the rest of my life. I was able to develop, dismantle, mold, and truly understand my identity while studying here which allows me to proceed into this next stage of my life with gratitude and confidence. USC has prepared me for the challenges to come and I am not only ready but excited to see what those challenges are and how I can face each one of them down. A true fight-on spirit.

Why I’m grateful for USC & Viterbi

The people- friends, faculty, staff. The resources to explore, academically and personally. A beautiful campus that I felt safe to grow and learn in. The opportunities for careers wide and far. The encouragement to become my best self. The space to discover who I am and want to be as we are in this turbulent time of youth.

Why I’d do it all again

Because these were some beautiful and challenging four years that built me into a woman I am proud to have become and I can’t imagine the kind of person and engineer I would be without USC.

Gianna Beck