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Looking Back on USC

Finishing up my senior year at USC, I honestly could not have imagined going to college anywhere else. I have truly loved my experience at this school, and think that it is one of if not the only school in the country that balances my interests so perfectly. 

USC sits at the intersection of cutting-edge academics, a vibrant social scene, hypercompetitive athletics, phenomenal performing arts, and palpable school spirit. There is so much opportunity, and I am so grateful to have been able to take full advantage over the course of the last four years. However, four years ago, I was much less convinced that USC would be the perfect school for me. In fact, USC was barely on my radar at this point in the college selection process. 


My Journey to Los Angeles

Let me backup four years. Growing up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, I was a major Big Ten fan that excelled in math and science and dreamed of studying engineering at Northwestern. A midwest kid through and through, I largely applied to school near home; in fact, USC was the only school west of the Mississippi River that I applied to, and I only sent an application in because I knew that I would be eligible for a Presidential Scholarship due to my status as a National Merit Scholar. 

Over the course of the next three months, my college decisions rolled in, and I was fortunate enough to have been accepted into a number of my top schools… including Northwestern. If I’m being completely honest, the second I saw that acceptance letter, I really thought that I would be staying in Chicago for the next four years. 

However, upon receiving my acceptance letter and scholarship details from USC, I began my due diligence and realized how much the school had to offer. After one info session with Paul, I was enamored with the idea of Engineering+, as I wanted to have the freedom to pursue club athletics and the performing arts while at USC (I ended up taking multiple Songwriting courses and played on the club water polo team for a season). I also loved how easy it was to switch between engineering disciplines, as I was not yet convinced that I had chosen the correct major.

Funnily enough, I was one of the few USC students who did not want to come to sunny Southern California. However, the variety of offerings and the diversity in school focus/curriculum, in addition to my scholarship, ultimately led me to Los Angeles. And looking back as a senior, I would not have had it any other way. 

Lucas Mortenson

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering Major, Songwriting Minor YEAR: Class of 2024 HOMETOWN: Golf, Illinois PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @ l.mortenson11 At USC, I am involved in a number of different academic associations including being a part of IISE, Scholars Leading Scholars, and The Freshman Engineering Academy coaching team. Outside of academics, I am involved in Greek Life, I am on the club Water Polo team, and I actively participate in the arts scene, both through my songwriting minor and other events such as open mic nights.