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One of my favorite questions to get asked at information sessions is, “Why did you choose USC?” It takes me back to being a senior in high school and nervously evaluating (with massive pro and cons comparative lists) where I wanted to spend the next four years, and three years later I am still so happy I chose USC. As many of you enter this exciting chapter in your life, where you get to decide what college to attend, let me shed some light on what weighed into my decision to come to USC.

The People

First up is the people; when I was on USC’s campus and talking to different students, everyone seemed so happy and excited to talk with me, and I could feel a genuine love for USC from them. The USC student body seemed like a group of people that I wanted to be a part of. I saw a group of people who I could see myself studying with, grabbing lunch with, exploring LA with, and making meaningful connections with. 

The School Spirit

One thing I knew I wanted in college was the experience of attending a school with big school spirit, and big sports teams. One of my favorite aspects of USC was the ability to have these big school benefits that seemed very fun to me, but also the benefits of a small university due to the small size of the engineering school. I absolutely love going to all the football games and as many different sports games as I can attend throughout the year. You can feel the Trojan spirit in the air on game days, and it is so fun to be a part of that. Being able to have all of this coupled with the small class sizes offered within the engineering school was a huge draw for me. I have been able to form personal relationships with my professors within Viterbi which has been very beneficial throughout my college education thus far.

The Location

I grew up in southern california about an hour and a half north of USC. Being close to home was never a factor that was very high up on my deciding factors list, because I knew even if I went to school far away I would get the experience of living in a whole new state and that excited me. But looking back, I am so happy that I chose to go to school close to home. I have been able to drive home and surprise my mom for her birthday, and I am actually currently writing this blog from my childhood bedroom as I went home to spend some time with my family this weekend. It has been great to be close to home to see my family often, while also exploring a city that was very new to me when I started as a freshman. It has been so great to explore LA the past 3 years because I never visited LA often growing up, so there has still been so much to do and see here! 

The Culture of Viterbi

Studying engineering is extremely challenging and an often high stress environment. I knew this as a senior in high school, and it was important to me that the college I selected had a collaborative and encouraging environment. Talking with students during my on campus visits I definitely felt that USC Viterbi fostered this environment, and as a junior I can confirm it does. In my classes I have worked on many team based projects, and we are oftentimes encouraged to work together and learn from one another. The professors work extremely hard to ensure we are successful and I have had many professors hold office hours past their normally scheduled ones to ensure we all feel prepared and that we understand the material. Although studying engineering is difficult, the professors work hard to create an environment where we feel comfortable, encouraged, and successful. 

The Opportunities

When exploring USC one thing that stood out to me were the incredible depth and breadth of opportunities that could be found at USC. Throughout my three years at USC I have been involved in a plethora of clubs that have strengthened both my engineering skills, professional networking skills, and just been pure fun. I was able to compete in the Boeing Freshman Design Challenge my first year, which my team won; I had the opportunity to learn from and engage with Boeing engineers during my first semester here! I have gotten to compete in an entrepreneurial competition through USC, attended a national conference through the Society of Women in Engineering, had 3 great internship opportunities (one of which will be this upcoming summer), and hiked to the top of mount baldy just to name a few. 

Reflecting on these reasons I initially chose USC, they continue to be reasons that make me so happy to call myself a USC Trojan. I have grown so much as a person and engineer the last three years and I am so grateful that I chose USC on that april day three years ago. If you are reading this as a high school senior, I wish you the best of luck in your decision process. My advice would be to take the time to reflect on where you see yourself being the most happy and trust your gut, you will end up where you are meant to be. #FightOn

Peyton Erickson

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2024 HOMETOWN: Ventura, California I am involved with the W.V.T Rusch Honors Program, the Society of Women Engineers as a member of the Corporate Officer Council, I am a project manager for the design club USC Makers, I am on the women's club soccer team, and I am also on the USC Ski & Snowboard team.