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Beyond the obvious fact that there is a heavy workload, there are in reality many reasons that makes life as an engineering student difficult. Here are the top reasons why
Stigmas Behind Engineering
People often associate specific stigmas against engineers. That includes engineers as having no social life, no ability to obtain a girlfriend, and to the female engineer, the disbelief that a female is taking engineering. While it may be true that engineers spend a large amount of time studying, there is no grounds to base the claim that engineers have no social life. In fact, the most successful engineers are rather social, running clubs, organizing events, and competing in competitions.
As far as relationships go, the statement engineers cannot get a girlfriend is blatantly wrong- who could turn down anyone after the sentence "I am an engineer" rolls off the tongue? Engineers are perfectly capable of getting a girlfriend- perhaps the reason your engineer friend does not have one is maybe due to the fact they do not want one.
Lastly, while it is still currently a male-dominated major, females have proven time and time again they are fully capable of becoming (great(!)) engineers. As the stigma is slowly released, more and more women are choosing engineering.
No matter who you are, engineering is difficult, however, engineers are people too. People stigmatizing engineers certainly does not help.
While the workload may seem intimidating, should it be well organized and executed, it can be done in a timely manner. However, staying out till 11:00pm before tackling your workload may be a major contributor to the reason why the work is seemingly so difficult. Sleep more (when you can), organize better, and your engineering life will be much easier. To make things a little easier, get yourself a board to write on and a calendar- maybe even an agenda. Check your faculty website often for updates and stay on top of your work!
A New Way of Learning (Learning to Learn)
This is mostly directed at first year engineers. During the first semester, you will quickly learn that first off, you know nothing, and secondly, your learning skills probably suck. High school is easy enough to cruise through, memorizing the material and spitting it out on a test. However, your first tests may shock you into the realization that "holy crap, I know nothing!". That is normal, however, learn from it. Moreover, learn to learn. As you develop through your program, it must be realized that your exams will largely consist of things you have ever seen before. The tests are not designed to see how well you can memorize, it is based upon the idea of how well you can adapt and come up with solutions. The skill of learning how to use your knowledge in new ways will become essential, especially in later years. It is absolutely imperative you not only know the material but understand it. Just going over the homework will not suffice, you must know why things are the way they are in order to prepare to use that knowledge to come up with answers on a test or exam. This skill will similarly become a crucial component as you enter the workforce. In hindsight- learn to learn!
Teachers you Cannot Understand
Welcome to university, the place people flock to from far and wide to indulge themselves in learning more about the world. Sometimes, professors will come from different countries, bringing with them thick, heavy accents that will seem like an entirely new language. Try to sit at the front of the class, it will help a ton. However, some profs will have an accent so thick you will not be able to understand a single word. This is where your resources will come in handy. Keep in mind, the university wants you to succeed. They offer tutoring sessions and often post material online to help you on your journey. If you have no idea what your teacher is saying, expend your resources, talk to your academic advisor, there are options available.
A Bad Group of Friends
Time and time again, students across all faculties fall victim to a less-than-desirable friend. While partying on a Tuesday night may seem fun, your failed quiz the next day will surely wipe your smile right off your face. Make sure to get in a good group of friends that supports you in your academics and does not make poor decisions. It's good to have fun- in fact, it is great! It is a crucial part of your success, however, your main focus should be to learn, so prioritize it.
Not Enough Sleep
Yes, it is true. You will, in fact, spend a night, if not a few, staying up finishing an assignment. This is where critical time management comes into play. When the inevitable is approaching, get as must rest as possible so you can make it through the assignment. However, make sure when you can you get adequate sleep. Nothing is worse than fighting back your eyelids during a crucial lecture that could give you insight on an upcoming test. If you are so tired you can't keep your eyes open, go get some rest. You are useless when you are tired. Learn to take naps, don't bring your phone to bed, and most importantly, stock up on coffee, it will be your lifeline.
No word without a lie, engineering is difficult. But- it is not impossible! It is an exciting journey, one that lasts merely 8 months at a time. Manage your time, make good friends, use your resources, and getting enough sleep will significantly improve your studies. Don't forget to participate in clubs and events- it will make your time even more enjoyable. While you may be nervous heading into engineering, remember the focus and the dream, receiving that engineering diploma. Work hard, and you will get there, many have before, and many will after.
Written by Maverick Baker