Is being smart not enough in engineering university? What other skills or attitude do you need then?
So you got out of high school with hopes of one day becoming a badass engineer. You’re confident that you can breeze through engineering school, just like you did in high school. After all, you have top-notch grades in math and science. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but being smart ALONE isn’t going to get you that diploma.
If you really want to make it through engineering school, here are some skills you’ll need to combine with your intelligence.
Engineering is NOT for the FAINT-HEARTED. You will fail in one way or another, may it be in a quiz, exam, or subject. If you’re the type of person who has NEVER had a failing mark in his/her life, then brace yourself—engineering is full of hardships that will beat you like a pulp, but will let you learn. Those students with guts will suck it up, learn from their mistakes, and try again!
Just like in every video game, there are many ways to beat the boss. That’s why I’m telling you being smart ALONE isn’t enough. You have to combine it with strategy! Remember, your professors are engineers too, so they know how to twist your brains and train you in different situations. So combine your smarts with strategy! Learn the book your prof is using, observe their mood, the type of exam they usually give. In the actual engineering world, it’s important to have strong strategic skills to get by difficult times.
I understand that there are complete introverts in this world. Some are in engineering school, and want to keep everything to themselves—even the hardships. If you’re one of those people, open up even just a bit. Engineering is difficult enough battling it on your own, it’s best to share your pain with other people who truly understand. I am an introvert myself, but I’ve learned to open up to other people when I was a student. There are things that are more fun to do as a group, like overnight group studies, and group projects. Others’ ideas will give you a new and fresh perspective to that of your own, alone. As an engineer in the future, you’ll have your own team to handle and it will be helpful to have good social skills.
This I believe is the most important skill you will have to learn. Studying at the best engineering university is hard, harsh, and sometimes unforgiving. So the only way to ‘get’ its approval, is to LOVE it—just like a lover. This is the reason why many choose to have their relationships second priority to engineering, or sometimes they choose to be single until they’ve graduated. I’m not saying having a partner is wrong when you’re in engineering. All I’m saying is, if you really don’t have LOVE for engineering, you will have a really tough time.
If you combine your smarts with all these, it’ll still be a bumpy ride. But at least you’ll be able to get by and you have a few tricks up your sleeve. Engineering is hard, I know—but the fruits of your labor will never be wasted. It will all be worth it in the end.