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The Real Struggles in Studying Engineering

Oh, yeah right; you want to become an engineer whatever it takes.

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Studying Engineering


The realities of studying engineering: It’s savage and it sucks… but worth it.

It is already a given that students who study engineering experience a glimpse of hell almost every day at school.

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With the mind-blowing mathematics and physics that we have to deal with, to the lack of the professors’ concern to the students, living as an engineering student just isn’t the life you imagined it to be.

Among the tons of harsh realities in studying engineering, listed below are fourteen salient points.

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I have no intent to discourage you to pursue engineering, but I will just show what is presently happening in our crazy world.


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The competition for entry in engineering is quite stiff, or there is a higher entrance exam grade requirement to become an engineering student.

Like in India, only about 10,000 applicants are accepted in the most prestigious engineering school of IIT out of the nearing 100,000 hopefuls.

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The others settle with other institutes or just choose a different career instead.

In the Philippines, only 32% passes the ECE licensure board exam.

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Some students do not know what subjects they will study prior to entering engineering, which causes some existential crises when you are already there.

You may say, “this is not what I expected,” or maybe “wow, engineering is hard and I didn’t see this coming.”

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Female Engineers

Women are still the smaller slice in the pie in most engineering schools. And among those women, only very few are worth a second look. As the saying goes, “90% of all girls are beautiful, and the other 10% is in engineering.”

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What a tragic thing for all men studying engineering.

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If the competition for entry in engineering is quite stiff, the competition when in engineering already is the stiffest.

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Hundreds of engineers are clamoring to be on top and if you don’t compete, you may get left behind.

That’s not what you want.

You may choose to ignore the competition but with that kind of attitude, you will not survive for long.

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Farewell Social Life

The engineering life separates us from the fun parts of life. When you should be going out to a party with friends on a Friday night, you are doing your thesis instead, or pulling an all-nighter for an important project.

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That is on top of the assignment and deadlines that you have to submit and meet in every subject, which in most days cannot be done overnight. You have to sacrifice a lot of things including social life and sleep in order to be able to stay on track in engineering.

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Every engineering students’ coping mechanism against stress is either alcohol, the famous herb, or marathons of movies and television series.

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And cold pizza, too.

That’s what we do on weekends while studying engineering.

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Your Score to Pass

You are bound to compute the scores you need in every exam in order to pass the subject.

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With brain-squeezing exams, more often than not the aim is no longer to get the perfect score, but to just hit the passing mark. It is merely complying.

This cycle repeats until you reach graduation.

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Sometimes, the exams that you think you did well are those exams that had a little glitch in it that you didn’t even notice, thus scoring low. That’s the greatest irony for engineering students.

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Other than that, there will be exams that you didn’t seem to prepare for but got the highest score, because the exam was all-multiple choice questions and you have the luck in selecting the correct answers.

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Love thy Professors

You will need to make friends with professors instead of taking the terror out of them. Notice that one classmate of yours who have a good final grade but doesn’t even have a clue of the subject matter.

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This is his/her secret. Professors are sociable people who have the power to pick favorites. Some just take advantage of it, especially in surviving an engineering degree.

Different Kind of Relationship with your Lab

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It’s an essential requisite to have a good relationship with your laboratory assistant.

You may be good in class and have harmony with your professor; but when it comes to practical classes with a lab assistant who hates you, your performance in laboratory classes will pull you down. You can never piss off your lab assistant.

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3 Idiots, Rancho Studying Engineering

Once you already have a taste of engineering, you will realize that you can never be Rancho of ‘3 Idiots.’

No one will ever be. He will remain fictional.

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Job Opportunities

Not all who graduate as engineers will get the jobs they want, or even get a job at all.

Every year, universities and colleges produce a sufficient amount of engineers but the demand for engineering seems to decline. Jobs are not served in silver platter.

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What Salary?

Remember other people saying that engineers get a good pay? Well, not everyone gets to experience that good pay on their first job. Fresh graduates in their first jobs share that frustration in misconstrued salaries. The salary is beyond low than expected.

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Family Expectations

The most relevant of all: when you study engineering, you are expected by your relatives and friends to fix electronics or machines or design a house or code for a website, when in fact you haven’t studied the subject just yet.

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Whatever it Takes

All these. and more have it for engineering students. It may not apply to all, but in most parts, the fourteen items are what slowly kills us. It’s a wonder that despite these harsh realities many choose to stay as engineering students.

Oh, yeah right; you want to become an engineer whatever it takes. 

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John Vauden

Novelist, fictional writer and literary expert based in Australia


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