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"Why am I here?"

Every student's college career should start by addressing their reason(s) for the pursuit of higher education. If you have yet to ask yourself, "Why am I here?", dedicate some time and effort to address this question. Chances are that most of your efforts are directed at scheduling your classes, organizing your residence room, making friends, finding your way around campus, and exploring Los Angeles to name a few. 

Every student has reasons or a "story" for being at USC. But not every student can identify or connect with their purpose for being at USC. It is important to identify your reason or reasons for being at USC early in your career so that you can maximize your experience as an undergraduate student and understand how the University is designed to help you achieve your goals.


Tools & Exercises

Personal interests assessment tools are designed to identify, measure, and translate personal interests and qualities into tangible outcomesm, such as choosing a major and/or career objectives. The USC Career Center administers the following personal interests assessment tools upon request by trained professionals:

  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.
  • The Strong Interest Inventory® (Strong) assessment measures career and leisure interests. It is based on the work of E. K. Strong Jr., who originally published his inventory on the measurement of interests in 1927. The assessment is often used to aid people in making educational and career decisions.

To schedule an appointment, contact the Career Center at (213) 740-9111.


Personal Interests Exercises

You can perform a personal interests inventory easily and at any time. Simply, take some time to be honest with yourself, to answer a few questions, or to articulate your thoughts in writing or in person. A few recommendations are:

  1.  A personal interests inventory can help students identify interests and majors that address similar topics or subject matter. Click here
  2.  A letter to self is a way for students to think about and write down their thoughts, ideas, and goals for USC and beyond.
  3.  A conversation with a friend is a great way to share your thoughts and focus on your goals.
  4.  A conversation with a faculty member is a great way to share and discuss your academic and professional pursuits.
  5.  An advisement appointment with an Undecided Academic Advisor is a great way to discuss things that really matter to you and discover both academic and non-acdemic outlets.

The undergraduate experience is an experience that can be both exciting and intimidating. Nonetheless, it is an opportunity to claim ownership of your education and transform the college-going experience into a life-changing experience at USC and beyond!

Suggested Reading:

StrengthsQuest, Donald O. Clifton, Edward Anderson, Laurie A. Schreiner. Gallup Press. (2006).

Major in Success: Make College Easier, Fire Up Your Dreams, and Get a Great Job,
Patrick Combs. Ten Speed Press. (2007).

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Harper Collins. (1991).

Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success: Building Blocks for a Better Life, John Wooden
and Jay Carty. Regal Press. (2009).

The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership, Steven B. Sample and Warren Bennis. Jossey-Bass. (2003).