Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Epilogue of My Undergraduate Career

My bachelor diploma arrived in the mail this week and I have been brandishing it around like an 8.5 x 11 inch trophy. The piece of paper represents the culmination of my undergraduate experiences. Much like an epilogue of a novel, it ties together my last four years and places an authoritative stamp of finality - "You've graduated and will be moving on to bigger things. Finis."
I look back at my undergraduate career with mixed emotions (which I am partly to blame). The amazing thing about our education at USC is the opportunity to learn about vastly different subjects across a broad spectrum, like a Renaissance scholar. You can major in biological sciences and pursue a minor in songwriting or you can double major in neuroscience and business administration. As Keith Ferrazzi said, "Human ambitions are like Japanese carp; they grow proportional to the size of their environment".

The "environment" is most certainly abundant at USC and in the greater Los Angeles area. The only limitation is the person's willingness to step out of his or her way to seize the experiences available and to fully utilize the renown "Trojan network". I cringe as I think back to my freshman self, as we sat on the floor in our dorm and talked about our dreams and aspirations for the next four years at USC. While others hoped to become an influential member of the Undergraduate Student Government, become a member of the Order of the Torch, or study abroad in Barcelona, I stated that I wanted to cut back on my involvement in organizations and focus on getting good grades in order to get into dental school. Today, those people whom I conversed with freshman year seem to have achieved their goals and more. They have found a comfortable social niche on campus and have maximized their undergraduate experience. As for me, I achieved my freshman year goal too - getting into dental school. Still, it was foolish to believe that I would maximize my undergraduate experience by locking myself away in my room with my books. Looking back, the three biggest regrets of my undergraduate experience are:
  1. Not taking advantage of all the amazing experiences that USC had to offer, whether it be service organizations, student government, club sports, or study abroad programs.
  2. Not finding a permanent social niche
  3. After eight semesters, not being able to pinpoint a specific course or professor and say "hey, this course/person made a monumental impact on my educational career/my world view/my dreams and aspirations". And not having found an inspirational mentor.
Despite these undergraduate shortcomings, I still look back at the past four years with fond memories. I look forward to continuing on as an eight-year Trojan, building upon the positive aspects and the shortcomings of my undergraduate career.


9 comments:

  1. Hey, I came across your blog when I was googling something for Kinesiology at USC! I was just wondering - what classes did you take at USC?

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  2. Since I started out as a kinesiology and biology double major, I took the required courses for both of those majors (http://dornsife.usc.edu/bisc/heb/undergraduate/BachelorofScienceinKinesiology.cfm)

    If you are wondering what classes I took for fun: International Ballroom Dance, Emergence of Modern Europe, Chinese, Intro to Psych, Astronomy, Class Voice, Intro to Dentistry, Beginning Pop/Rock Guitar, and Theatrical Film Symposium.

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  3. What courses did you take for your elective units for your Major? Did you take molecular biology and biochemistry?

    Thank you so much for your time :)

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  4. no prob!!
    I took general physio and molecular biology. I also took ochem and calc (which are listed as electives for kinesiology, but they were major requirements for biology)

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  5. haha okay thanks so much!! :)
    Do you have any advice for the science classes? I want to get into dental school haha

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  6. what type of advice are you looking for? which science classes to take? how to do well in the classes?
    i’m going to put it out there that I’m not a picture perfect dental school candidate. I was an average student in my science classes, did slightly above average on my DAT, and showed passion and volunteerism in dentistry as well as activities outside of dentistry.
    Do well in your science classes, do well on your DAT, build a strong extracurricular profile that shows passion for dentistry, and get to know dental school adcoms! I know this sounds cliche haha

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  7. what type of advice are you looking for? which science classes to take? how to do well in the classes?

    i'm going to put it out there that I'm not a picture perfect dental school candidate. I was an average student in my science classes, did slightly above average on my DAT, and showed passion and volunteerism in dentistry as well as activities outside of dentistry.

    Do well in your science classes, do well on your DAT, build a strong extracurricular profile that shows passion for dentistry, and get to know dental school adcoms! I know this sounds cliche haha

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  8. i guess how to do well in the classes? and what science classes to take. cause i'm a kinesiology major but i'm not sure if i should take molecular bio / biochem since it's "recommended" for dental school?

    haha actually, that sounds pretty much "picture perfect" to me LOL

    okay thanks haha, how did you manage/balance your social life?

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  9. I would be more than happy to help you out with the pre-dental process and give you advice on classes to take/how I approached my courses.

    You can email me at mirrorandexplorer@gmail.com. It will be easier to communicate via email since this comment section becomes very cluttered.

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