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When I was a senior in high school, I was deciding between two schools: USC and one school on the east coast. At the time, I really wanted to go to the east coast, but my parents wanted me to stay closer to home, so they preferred USC. Between this big life changing step, I ranked all the aspects in a college I wanted. I wanted a good social life, nice weather, places to explore, and opportunities to pursue—so I made a chart ranking the programs, clubs, etc. that each school had. At the end of the day, I chose USC because of the following reasons:

  • The flexibility: One big decision for me was changing majors. During my senior year of high school, I was debating about civil or chemical engineering. The school that I was considering on the East Coast did not have chemical engineering, nor was it an easy process to switch to a different major. When I heard Viterbi majors are easy to switch between, this prompted my want to go here. The process involved telling your assigned academic advisor that you wanted to switch, and then you filled out one form and send\t it to be approved. And voila, you’re now a new major.
  • The opportunities: I heard USC provided a lot of opportunities—from internships, to coffee chats, to guest speaks, etc.—there are so many different things to pursue and learn about. In addition, research labs, academic programs, and organizations are opened to allow anyone to join if they have an interest—just advocate for yourself and apply.
  • The chance to explore other interests outside of engineering: If you have a side passion for writing, love playing the piano, or want to participate in a sport for fun, you can—and it’s super easy to get involved! You can get involved in Annenberg Media, you can sign up for a piano class, or you can register for a club/intermural sport as they are opened to anyone to try out.
  • The weather: While I do love aspects of the east coast, USC, located in Los Angeles has the best weather. Sunny, mild wind, and it rarely rains. Weather has a big impact on my mood, so this was a big consideration for me as well.

Every day I do not regret going to USC because I found a community. Once you’re a student, you get to experience so many things the school provides. Here are the reasons why I chose to stay at USC throughout my four years, and did not decide to transfer:

  • The community: When I first came to USC, I did not know what to expect not meeting any of the current students, nor visiting the campus. However, I noticed a lot of USC students are very friendly and willing to talk to you. I remember one day I was just waiting at a stoplight and this other student randomly talked to me about the weather and their day, so people here are very friendly. In addition, there are a lot of activities on campus that give you an opportunity to meet new people, such as tailgates, concerts, farmers markets etc.
  • The alumni network: I never knew how strong the Trojan network was until I started cold emailing companies. For one of my club involvements, I was trying to get professionals to come in to do a panel. I emailed about ten companies, and only heard back from one because the lady who emailed me back went to USC. This goes to show that trojans will help trojans, and this type of connection helps professionally.
  • The school activities/spirit: USC has a lot of school spirit, from football games to volleyball games, the environment is always so lively. Alumni come out, students guard Tommy Trojan, and USC hosts an event called Conquest, where performers come out and sing and a Ferris Wheel is moved onto campus.

As a senior almost graduating, I would say I have had a positive college experience. Looking back to my freshman year, I wish I joined more clubs throughout college because I regret not exploring more of my interests as USC has endless opportunities.

Sydney Fiorentino

MAJOR: Chemical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2024 HOMETOWN: San Francisco, California PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @sfberries I have been involved in conducting research relating to nanoparticles and microfluidics. I'm a member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, AICHE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), and Gen-Zine. Outside of school I enjoy writing and have gotten into blog writing and radio reporting.