So, you want to be an engineer?
Every engineering freshman has his/her own reason/s for pursuing engineering. It may be because of a childhood dream you had, you want a job with a good and stable salary, or maybe because you feel that STEM fields are what suits you best. Whatever your reasons are, know that once you step into the world of engineering, you’re a step closer to making the world a better place.
Most of you have probably heard from a teacher, relative, or friend that engineering school isn’t like any other college field. They would say that the journey will be difficult, stressful, and you’ll need a lot of brainpower and strategy to get through your course. Well, guess what? They’re right. Engineering is indeed all of those mentioned above, and that’s why I prepared a short list on what you should expect as an engineering freshman and what can help you survive.
It will be easy at first
Expect all your classes to be easy at first, especially in your mathematics and science classes. Assuming you did good in your high school STEM subjects, your college math and science subjects will be easier to follow through since your professors will be giving you a recap of all your past topics. Phew!
**Warning: Don’t be too lax, they’re giving you a recap so you’ll master the fundamentals. And mind you, once they start teaching new topics and you won’t still haven’t mastered your fundamentals, you’re screwed.
Procrastination is your best tool and best enemy
I admit, many engineering students (even myself in the past) procrastinate when it comes to school work. Especially so, when you pull those all nighters and forget to do a certain assignment for a subject, or when you compare your homework with your classmates and realize your answers were all wrong so you need to rush and make a new one.
What I’m trying to say is that procrastination can be a good “tool” to use when you’re in a pinch. However, don’t make it a habit. Frequent procrastination can be your best enemy especially when your workload begins to pile up. Some might be say something like “Psshhh, I can handle it.” Sigh, just wait ‘till your finals week.
Get Used To Being Confused
Yes, it’s normal. All of your professors have their own specialization that comes with their unique way of teaching. That’s why if you’re the type of person who has difficulty adapting to certain professors’ teaching techniques, try talking to your upperclassmen which professors may suit your learning style.
Master Your Basics. Get Used to Practicing
Yes. I’m mostly referring to all your mathematics subjects. Expect you’ll have more, WAY MORE, mathematics subjects that other college courses, because mathematics is in the heart of every engineering field. If you’re not that good with math, then start brushing up your basics as early as you can. Also, believe me when I say, memorization isn’t the key to mastering math… it’s more of analyzing and practice, practice, PRACTICE. Get used to solving problems in different ways. It’s a pain, but you’ll get used to it. I promise.
Get the Right Tools
Before buying your calculator, ask your professor which model you should get. No, they aren’t all the same and everyone who has been in engineering school knows it! If you still don’t have enough money for the recommended calculator, then save up for it and buy one when you’ve saved enough.
Still not convinced? Here’s a scenario.Let’s say you have a different calculator than your classmates, what if you accidentally left your calculator during a test? Thankfully, a good friend of yours lent you one. Unfortunately, you’re not familiar how to perfectly use it. I’m guessing you already know what could happen.
Make Use of The University Library
It’s a good place to study, concentrate, and sleep. The first two I mentioned are self explanatory, but why sleep? There will be a point in time in engineering school where you’ll be staying up all night studying or finishing some school requirements. The library can be a good place for a quick 5 to 10 minute snooze without interruption.
These are just some of the things you’ll be expecting as an incoming engineering freshman. There are a lot more, which I didn’t mention anymore since they’re better if you realize them on your own. Here’s something you should remember about your engineering journey: It will be rough, but it will be worth it.
Welcome to the engineering world!