Whether they’re going to Auburn, ’Bama, or MIT, every engineering student could use a few pieces of wisdom. Check out this advice for first-year engineering students so that you have a better idea of what to expect.
Get To Know Your Professors
The dynamic between educators and students is much different in college than in high school. Some professors will want to have a dynamic similar to that between friends, while other professors will feel like distant figures that only directly communicate through lectures and their teaching assistants.
Regardless, the help of your professors will be vital to getting through your degree. You’ll need to get to the point where you feel comfortable asking questions and for help when you need it. You won’t have a personal relationship with every instructor you have, but it’ll be helpful if you can depend on one or two professors for support.
Start a Study Group
Your professors are excellent resources, but nothing replaces the value of your peers. Each of you has chosen this challenging path, and you should use your fellow students as a support system. If you build a study group, you’ll have people to keep you company while you study as well as other brains to bounce problems off of. A study group is an excellent help for getting through homework; just watch out for assignments where professors want you to work independently.
Take a Spectrum of Classes
Once students begin their specializations, they may have an instinct to stop taking engineering classes outside of their fields. However, students should continue to expand their minds by exploring different areas of study within engineering. After you complete your degree, you never know which jobs you might be applying to or what projects you’ll be working on in the future. One day, something you learned in a random electrical class could inspire a breakthrough. As an engineer, you should never stop challenging and expanding your mind.
Take Organized and Thorough Notes
Something a professor mentioned once during a lecture in September can end up on an exam in December. That’s why students need to take thorough notes. Use a scientific notebook for your labs—the purpose of a scientific notebook is to keep your lab findings organized. You’ll also want to use a reference notebook to save the essential formulas and information you’ve learned throughout your studies.
Getting a STEM degree isn’t easy, requiring countless hours of dedication to complete. To truly be successful in this field, you should be passionate about your studies. Give your projects 100% every time. Be willing to learn outside of the assigned studies. Engineering is a field that rewards those who push themselves into new discoveries.
You might be nervous about starting your degree, but with dedication and passion, you’re sure to succeed. With this advice for first-year engineering students, you hopefully have a better idea of what to expect during your first year.
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