Surviving Your First Year as an Engineering Student

By Allison Todd on November 6, 2017

Freshman year at college is an adventure. You are in a new city, you have new friends and you begin to feel your first sense of independence. While it's great to finally experience freedom, being responsible with your time and resources is vitally important as you begin to feel the pressures of your course load, especially for an engineering student.

A study from the National Survey of Student Engagement has revealed engineering majors spend, on average, 19 hours a week studying—five more than the average student. But, just because engineering can be work does not mean you should give it up.

Survival Tips

Here are four tips to survive your freshman year as an engineering student.

1. Invest in a planner.

Procrastinating is not good for anyone. You may think that the pressure of waiting until the last minute helps you to think, but the truth is all of your work will catch up with you.

Rather than drowning in a sea of homework, keep a planner to stay on top of your game (and more importantly, on task). Also, when you do have free time to spend with friends, it will be much more relaxing to know your work is completed!

2. Meet your professors.

I know college professors can seem intimidating, but the truth is that they want to see you succeed. They have been in your shoes. They know the information can be challenging.

If you are struggling with an assignment, it is a lot easier to ask for help if you have built a relationship with them. And, not only can they help you out as a student, they are professionals in the industry and can be a great networking resource after graduation.

Matt Williams, assistant professor of engineering at CU, is excited to work alongside students. Expressed in the blog "Why I Love it Here," Matt said:

"Some people hear that I graduated from MIT and think I would focus on that prestige. But it was Cornerstone that made the most positive impact on my life. I feel like I learned something that I want everyone else to have. And I look forward to being with my students on this journey."

3. Form a study group.

As an aspiring engineer, group projects will not go away after college. So, why not make the most of it?

Get used to working in teams by making a study group. Find other engineering students that you feel comfortable asking questions about your classes and will support you if you don't understand a concept from class.

4. Remember why you chose engineering.

Lastly, when everything starts to feel like it is falling apart, think about why you chose to study engineering in the first place. Not only is it a growing career with numerous opportunities, but you can make a difference.

In each field, engineers work to make technological advancements that can improve our world. Declaring engineering as your major means you get to learn how to influence the world.

The Takeaway

It's true that the most exhausting tasks can come with the greatest rewards. And that's exactly how you'll feel as you complete your degree in engineering. Let your freshman year be a stage of growth and be a great first step into your career.

Categories: Choosing a Major, First-Year Checklists, Professors