A Conversation With Second-Semester Seniors: What Would You Have Told Yourself Earlier?

Advice from your trusted Trojan peers.

Lifestyle & Identity

A conversation with second-semester seniors…what would you have told yourself earlier?

Advice from your trusted Trojan peers

From interviews and personal experience, one of the most guaranteed aspects about college is it will fly by, and you will not be the same person on Commencement as you were on Convocation. The consensus among seniors is that one day it feels like you’re sitting in your Gen-Ed lecture, and the next, you’re facing the harsh reality of how much graduation sashes cost. 

This is your friendly yet realistic reminder that the biggest failure is not trying something. Here are some goals for inspiration and advice for all stages of college life from your trusted Trojan peers. 


  • “Bond with your professors”

    • Figure out their network and what their interests are beyond the scope of your class together. Introduce yourself outside of class - it goes a long way. 

  • “You need to have that dawg in you” 

    • Your will to do every reading assignment on week one will fizzle eventually; stay disciplined in your endeavors. 

    • If you’re entering the workforce, you might want to practice committing your attention 9-5. 

    • Sometimes having that dawg means having the courage to advocate for your work/life balance.

  • "Collaborate with your peers; they’re not your competition" 

    • An uncollaborative mindset is your real competition; recognize that everyone got into this university because they are a talented individual with skills that can complement yours. 

    • Remind yourself that you’re swimming with sharks at USC: everyone has different expertise to offer.

  • “Trust rate my professor” 

    • If you have to take a notoriously super difficult professor, balance your schedule with other necessary but more accessible classes. 

  • “Background check your guest speakers”

    • Having insight into their life will make the discussion more engaging, and your professor will be impressed with your research. 

  • “Take 2 unit classes” 

    • USC offers so many unique classes that your major might not advertise…you can take everything from yoga therapy to tips for entrepreneurs.


  • “Your comfort zone is killing you”

    • Don’t accidentally condition yourself into being someone who settles. 

  • “Respect your body”

    • Educate yourself about substances, protect yourself romantically, get in tune with your gauge for emotional intelligence. 

  • “Your GPA is not everything”

    • Prioritize your wellness over a grade, and dedicate a reasonable amount of time to winding down after doing your work. 

    • Don’t sweat the small stuff.

  • “Congratulate yourself more” 

    • Acknowledge your successes! Build confidence by giving projects all of your effort. It will pay off when you have a solid portfolio to interview with. 

  • “Manage your commitments”

    • Since college offers so much, sometimes students feel as if they can only afford two out of the three key commitments: socializing, sleeping, and working. You will have to make sacrifices, but never neglect one of the categories altogether. 

  • “Don’t try to be a copy-paste version of other people” 

    • Originality and personal style are much more remarkable than fitting the “norm”.


  • “Take advantage of USC resources while you still can” 

    • Be at all the career events, skim through the alumni database, schedule advising appointments and ask professors about their connections.

  • “Dedicate certain time to focusing on your career”

    • Since getting a job is a task with many components, break it down into steps for yourself to complete regularly, whether it’s organizing deadlines or getting resume feedback. Also, start looking for internships early (especially paid ones). 

  • “Try to work abroad” 

    • Seek out unconventional opportunities for yourself to expand your industry knowledge and professional growth.  


  • “Stop feeling like being perceived is a bad thing” 

    • Make the first move in initiating a conversation

    • Don’t let social anxiety make you feel as if you have to confine your personality to only close friends. 

  • “College is an imperfect friend filter” 

    • One of the best parts of college is having such a large community of students in your age demographic, but you will definitely cycle through friend groups – totally normal!  

  • “Join clubs just to scope it out, you don’t owe them anything” 

    • If it works, you’ll make a great community of friends with common interests. If not, no sweat. There are plenty of niche organizations on campus.

As the spring semester brings new memories, humbling moments, professional achievements, unsuspected romances, and new bonds, how are you going to make sure you leave this campus as a Trojan with nothing left on your college bucket list?