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There are 74 days left until I graduate from USC with a degree in mechanical engineering; as I think about that statistic I am filled with the excitement surrounding the completion of such a big milestone coupled with the sadness of moving away from friends and our home for the last four years. USC has been the perfect place for me the last four years and culminated in incredible career opportunities, educational growth, personal growth, life long friendships, and more; so I wanted to take the chance to talk about why I chose usc, and why that was one of the best decisions of my life. Many different factors weighed into my decision to attend USC, but I wanted to touch on the three major factors: the people, the connections & opportunities, the size of Viterbi within the size of USC. So let’s get into it!

The People

I visited campus for the first time in the fall of my junior year of highschool for “Discover USC”. I took a tour of the campus and I will never forget my tour guide having at least 20 different students say “Fight On!” to them as we walked around campus. Everyone was smiling and soaking up the California sunshine and seemed genuinely happy and excited as they went about their days. I then attended a Viterbi information session and got to speak with current students and saw their genuine love of their school, the organizations they were involved in, and their camaraderie with one another. As I sat in that room I realized I wanted to make friends like them in college and be engaged in such an environment as they were at USC. They seemed like a group of passionate people I wanted to work alongside with, learn from, and make memories with over the next four years. I get asked often what my favorite part about USC is, and one of the top reasons I consistently answer that question with is the people. It has been truly special to be surrounded by such a passionate group of individuals who accomplish immense things throughout their time here, and share that knowledge with others. I have made some of my best friends over the last four years here, and I feel very fortunate to have such a strong cohort of friends within my AME department. I can’t wait to see all that they go on to accomplish in their life, and feel so fortunate to get to share in that journey with them. 

The Connections & Opportunities

 The Trojan Network is very real, and very valuable. The career connections and possibilities presented within this university and its alumni are immensely helpful; whether that be reaching out to an Alumni who has a role you’re interested in to learn more about what they do, or speaking with classmates about roles they’ve had that interest you. USC also has so many valuable opportunities to become engaged in research, start-ups, to attend conferences, hack-a-thons, etc. Over the past four years I have had the privilege of attending 3 SWE conferences, which have provided valuable networking opportunities; I have participated and placed in an entrepreneurial pitch competition through USC; and I am attending a senior design conference competition in March, just to name a few. These have all elevated my educational and career growth immensely.

The Size of Viterbi within the Size of USC

Lastly, I was really drawn to the intimate size of Viterbi within USC as a whole. There are just under 100 in my graduating class of mechanical engineering, so this has resulted in a cohort type environment as we all take classes together. Most of my mechanical engineering courses have around 35 students in them, which allows me to get to know my professors and my fellow classmates well which was very important to me when making my college decision. This dichotomy of a small intimate educational environment within a big school like USC has been incredible. As I can engage with the larger student body and get involved in lots of activities outside of engineering as well like the USC club soccer team and the ski and snowboard team. USC also has big school sporting events and lots of school spirit which was definitely very important to me as I was deciding what school to attend. I have been able to experience the perfect blend of small class sizes within a large sports school!

If you are a prospective student reading this, I hope this provides some insight into why I chose USC and have continued to chose USC the past four years. Good luck in your decision process, and Fight On!!

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.