The prestige and self-esteem that comes with finally finishing your engineering degree while going through the ups and downs of participating in lab work, impromptu tests and the almighty exam period, cannot be overstated as long as engineers still remain the cool kids in today’s job market. But does this prestige come easy, the answer is definitely not because regardless of how smart you were in high school, studying to become an engineer is always a different ball game.
So here are a few tips for first-year engineering students as well as recent grads on how to tackle both the stress that comes with engineering school and the real world.
Schooling is Serious Stuff
You may have passed through high school in flying colors while playing your way through Call of Duty, playing pranks with your friends or hanging out with the guys/girls which makes you feel like a Tony Stark without the money. But the moment you cross through the walls of those ivory towers in pursuit of your engineering dream, it is important that you drop all your ‘Tony Stark’ pretensions and get down to study because being an engineering student is a full-time career on its own.
Remember Your Responsibilities
You have finally crossed the great divide between been treated as a child to Adult status and this means that you’ve gained your freedom from teachers and parents pushing you to get that homework done in time. This freedom which definitely feels great comes with its own responsibilities such as motivating yourself to attend classes, getting lab work done in time, forming study groups and delaying many many pleasures. The moment you realize that the responsibility to succeed lies fully in your ability to effectively manage your time; you will be on the pathway to success.
Practice makes Perfect
As you are no longer in high school, it is important to note that just winging it in regards to your study habits wouldn’t cut it anymore. So it is time to sit back and create a study pattern that would allow you to put to practice knowledge acquired in the classroom or lab so that they stay firmly fixed in your expansive brain. Also, ensure that you make expansive notes while studying to help your memory as exam period draws near, as well as complete lab exercises as quickly as possible let so the experience stays firmly fixed in your mind’s eye.
As far as I know, no one goes to engineering school without the intention of excelling in his or her chosen field. So why not aim as high as the skies so even if you fall you could land on the clouds? Yes, obstacles may come your way in terms of a bad semester, horrible academic year or financial burdens but the fact remains that staying focused to achieve your initial without settling for less, will help you meet these challenges with enough drive to overcome them.
Use Cloud Services
The work load of every engineering student come in volumes that can make the average person scatter-brained. As one must keep track of files generated from his or her engineering design class, programming lectures, lab work, artificial intelligence forays or robotics design. Keeping track of all these files are next to impossible if a storage method isn’t initiated and this is where the use of a cloud service provider should be considered. And for those who think these services may be expensive, the trick here is to use your status as a student to receive free or subsidized storage plans to get along.
Learn to write
While you may have amassed all the knowledge, theories and facts taught in your engineering books, your ability to put your thoughts on paper clearly will serve you more in the long run. So endeavor to pay attention to that English or literature elective that all your friends claim are a waste of time for it will be a source of comfort to you in the real world.
Experience cannot be bought
Most engineering schools create an industrial training window of 4-6 months for its students to finally get some real world experience. And while participating in these programs could be optional, it is important that you do participate in order to gain the real world experience no engineering text book can track you. While you are at it, it would also be a huge bonus if you could get yourself a mentor who has already successfully carved a niche for him/herself in the engineering community. We guarantee that this experience will mold your work life in the long run.
Participate in School Activities
The importance of diligence and good study habits have already been discussed in previous paragraphs but the importance of socializing is still to be covered. In that vein, I implore every engineering student to explore campus life, the city you find yourself as well as get to know the people you find yourself reading and struggling with during engineering school. Many have gone to build lifelong relationships, tech companies and aid one another during the difficult life moments that befall all humans.
Know your Professors
Lastly; being in the good books of your teachers will prove to be a life-long asset you can take with you wherever you go. Therefore, endeavor to be respectful, participate during classes by asking questions, and try to take advantage of any lab assistant positions that may be available in your department. A good relationship with your teachers will make them more approachable when in need of help and your need to impress these authority figures can also drive you to excel.
From the numerous advices available to engineering students, we outlined the ones most important to us but if you have any experiences to add, it is recommended that you do so as those coming behind you may learn. Please use our comment boxes.