I’ve had my fair share of mistakes in engineering school before. I admit I wasn’t the best student around and I always had a thing for going against the system. Two years after graduating with an engineering degree, I look back now and recall all the good and the bad memories I’ve experienced just to get the degree my parents always wanted for me. From where I am, being an engineer meant a lot more for the parents than it did for those who actually take the course.
But I have to admit that even though I initially didn’t want to be part of this profession, I learned to appreciate the work and discipline one needed to pass. My road to graduation wasn’t necessarily a smooth one. I’ve had plenty of bumps along the road, but I eventually became an engineer.
So if I could turn back time and talk to my younger self before heading to college, here are the lessons I would want her to know and take seriously. These lessons have been very dear to me but the sad truth to them is that I learned them when things were too late already.
Never go to class drunk or with a hangover.
In my five years in engineering school, there were a couple of times when I stayed up late and consumed too much alcohol with my friends. I always ended up going home drunk and waking up for class with a terrible hangover. It gave me a reputation as someone who didn’t take the lessons seriously. And in unfortunate days when I end up drunk in an afternoon class, I always found myself embarrassed by my own classmates. Yep, nothing good comes out of drinking too much.
Heartbreaks are inevitable.
Prepare yourselves for one of the craziest rides of your lives. Back in college, I fell in and out of love too easily. One moment I was in love and the next thing I know, I was heartbroken. There are also instances when professors would break our hearts by not giving us the curve for us to pass. Yes, heartbreaks come in different forms and we can’t escape them. The best thing to do is just experience them and pick up the most important lessons we can learn.
The library is always the best place to study.
Fast internet connection, air-conditioned rooms and a quiet place, nothing beats the library. Being surrounded by the smartest people in the campus, it’s the easiest place to go to and ask for homework help. It’s also the best place to take a nap in.
It’s okay if you don’t study all the time.
As the saying goes, all work and play makes Jack a dull boy. Engineering school isn’t just about passing all subjects, it’s also about learning new skills, connecting with other people and experiment what you still can at that period of your life. Once you get out of college, you will no longer have the time and energy to try the most daring things a college student can do.
Join in extra-curricular clubs that you are truly passionate about. Join academic organizations as well.
Being exposed to working with different personalities helped me when I joined in different organizations. I had an academic organization, a sorority and a sports club. These groups allowed me to get involved in things I am passionate about and allowed me to learn many skills in leadership and other important matters I can apply at work.
Widen your network.
College is about finding the right people who can help you boost your career. Take the opportunity of meeting new people and use it to your advantage. You’ll never know who can help you land a job or give you the boost to get the promotion you need.
Maintain a good relationship with your professors.
While some students hate their professors, I tried to be nice to the ones I had. Even though I wasn’t the brightest in class, I still maintained a good relationship with my boss by trying to be involved in class as much as I could. I befriended them while still giving them the respect they deserved. Being in good terms with these professors will help me when it comes to recommendation letters I need to apply for a job or a scholarship for a Master’s Degree.
Surround yourself with good company.
During my last year in college, I promised not to hang out with the people I confide bad influences in my life. I went out with a new set of friends who motivated and inspired me to be better in what I do in class. They’ve constantly helped me with my homework and papers. And when I finally graduated with my degree, I was so grateful I got to celebrate the success with these friends who helped me achieve it.
Have the discipline to achieve what’s better than your best.
Engineering is a very difficult course. If you don’t have the discipline to study for your lessons, it will be very hard for you to survive this course. You can’t take it easy in engineering. Yes, you may take a break and enjoy every now and then but you still have to know how to manage your studies.
It’s important that you really enjoy what you’re doing.
I didn’t really enjoy attending engineering classes at first. I hated them to be honest. I was forced to choose that course and my hatred for it reflected in my grades. Eventually, I learned to appreciate my lessons. I started enjoying what I was learning in class. I became more curious as to how we can apply what we learned in class to daily applications. So if you’re truly passionate about engineering, you’ll be okay. If you don’t really want to be an engineer, then shift out.