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The first year of college comes with a mixture of feelings: anxiety, excitement, and joy. It’s even more striking when you realize the future you were planning for all those years ago throughout high school with your family, friends, and teachers is finally happening. What comes next?

I thought exactly that as I began my freshman year of college on the East Coast. As a native Texan, I knew I wanted a change of scenery and to try something different and the east coast felt like the perfect place for that. I was really looking forward to my experience in environmental engineering.

My fundamental engineering courses provided me with a good opportunity to augment my understanding of calculus, chemistry, and physics, but my interests went beyond what was offered in the environmental engineering program. Fascinated by the ideas of smart cities and sustainable infrastructure, I knew I wanted to pursue a track that combined both civil and environmental engineering principles and principles of architecture. I was unable to find alternate majors or classes that incorporated these disciplines. I thought to myself what my next step would be. Would I have to create these opportunities for myself through personal engineering projects and research or was this an obvious indicator that maybe where I was, did not have the right engineering program for me?

I started to research other universities’ engineering programs because I wanted to believe that what I wanted was out there, I just needed to find it first. This led me to consider USC’s Civil Engineering Building Science major, where I could pursue my engineering interests in designing climate-resilient infrastructure and my interest in architecture. From then on, I was pretty much sold. I was also surprised to find that out of all the universities I had researched, USC was the only school that had a Build Science-type program. I remember applying, having no idea what would happen after hitting the submit button. I never would have thought that after going through the college process the year before, that I would be doing it all over again a year later.

I especially remember looking into USC’s clubs and organizations while I was working on my application and being excited when I imagined myself being a part of them and being a trojan. I knew that USC had everything I wanted to have when I imagined a positive college experience. After I applied, I continued on with my course work completely focused on the stress of final exams and assignments, when I was greatly surprised over the summer with my admission letter. I believe that to anyone out there who is doubting whether or not they should transfer, applying is the best thing you can do since you never know what will happen. Attending USC is something I never would have imagined, and I am grateful that I was able to find my major, which makes all the long hours of work I do feel worth it because I am doing something I truly feel is my passion and in my purpose.

Salma Mohamed

MAJOR: Civil Engineering (Building Science) YEAR: Class of 2025 HOMETOWN: Austin,Texas PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: I am currently involved in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) as a Student Transfer Representative. SHPE is an organization that empowers engineering students that identify as Hispanic to develop networking skills and leadership. Outside of SHPE, I am a part time intern for SoCal Gas in the Pipeline Engineering Design team.