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Working on campus is open to more than just work-study students, and there are also options for everyone beyond just sitting in a library. Having an on-campus job can be a great way to gain experience in a certain role you want to try out or just a side gig to cover some of your living expenses as a college student.

So far, I’ve already worked four different jobs on campus. Some of them have been pretty unique, and it’s been great to get to try different things while getting compensated well for my work!

Writing for CS

My first job was for the CS department, where I wrote articles on research, events, and accomplishments happening in the department! This was the first job I got during fall semester of freshman year, and one of the best parts is that I have super flexible hours. This role is a combination of my two biggest passions: technology and writing. It’s a pretty sweet gig, especially since I can use my CS background to better understand the technical aspects of the research we produce here and the events we host. My job is to “translate” all the jargon into commonplace words that everyone can understand.

Previously, I’ve covered some cool human-robot interaction research and AthenaHacks, the women-centric hackathon on campus! I’ve considered going into tech journalism before, so being able to gain relevant experience as early as freshman year has been phenomenal.

I’ve also done some work on the @csatusc Instagram account before — like this day-in-the-life reel that’s gotten over 8k views!


Newsroom dreams

During the pandemic, I was quite dead set on pursuing something journalism-adjacent, but I still wanted to do engineering in college. Since USC has a very strong journalism program, I looked into double majoring or minoring in journalism — both turned out to be infeasible with the other plans I had, but another outlet presented itself.

Spring semester my freshman year, I joined Annenberg Media, our super cool newsroom, as their copy editing lead. My team and I reviewed every published article for grammar and Associated Press (AP) style to make sure that the newsroom’s style is cohesive — I always joke that it’s like quality assurance engineering, but for journalism. While my work isn’t that noticeable unless you hear me talking about it, I’ve made edits to nearly every article I’ve ever reviewed to ensure clarity in writing. As an engineer, I’ve been trained in my classes to have great attention to detail, and it’s been cool to see how that translates to other fields.

I worked this job throughout the summer as part of the newsroom’s summer team, and I even got to write a brief on former President Trump’s indictment! I’ve been mentored by journalists that worked at ABC, Buzzfeed, LA Times, and others. I’m not even a journalism major!

While I won’t necessarily make a whole career out of copy editing, it’s a cool job to have to break up the monotony of studying. And the newsroom is really, really cool!

Teaching programming fundamentals

Starting this fall, I also work as a course producer (CP) for the CS department. While the name is a bit odd, CPs are just undergraduate teaching assistants. We form a sort of army to help students in a specific class — from Monday to Friday, there are office hours for each class between 8 am to 8 pm pretty much continuously. We also run labs and do grading for homework and exams.

This semester, I’m a CP for CSCI 102: Fundamentals of Computing. Since high school, I’ve been super passionate about helping students who are just starting their journey into CS see what is so awesome about it. 102 is the first course in the entire CS sequence at USC, so it’s been really valuable seeing all of the lightbulb moments students have had all semester. Next semester, I’ll be a CP for CSCI 103: Introduction to Programming, where I get to build on the knowledge I’ve taught in 102.

CPing is also a great way to keep my fundamental programming skills in practice, especially as I move on to other programming languages beyond C++. It’s also a great way to practice explaining computer science concepts and program designs, which is a fantastic skill to have during interviews!

Sharing my story

I also create content for VSA (which is what I’m doing right now!) and answer questions at Viterbi information sessions throughout the year. I joined VSA towards the end of spring semester, where now I get to meet cool prospective students and their families, like yourself! I talk a lot about how much I love USC and engineering. The whole reason why I ended up choosing USC was because of Explore USC — an event for admitted students — where I met a super cool VSA (shoutout to Silas!!!!!!!!).

Other options

I’ve heard of a variety of other jobs that students take on, be it working at the bookstore (you get a discount!) or doing research in a lab. Explore to your heart’s content, and take advantage of whatever opportunities you’re interested in! You don’t know till you go.

Anna Hsu

MAJOR: Computer Engineering and Computer Science YEAR: Class of 2026 HOMETOWN: Vienna, virginia PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @annaa.hsu At USC, I'm a part of HackSC, the flagship hackathon on campus, and I write stories about research, accomplishments, and events occurring in the Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science. I also lead copy editing efforts for College Brief, a nonprofit dedicated to instilling greater news engagement in college-aged audiences. In my spare time, you can find me listening to Mandopop, eating good food in LA + beyond, and going on runs!