I remember when I first got admission to the school of engineering in one of my favourite campuses in the country, my heart was beating faster than a drum. My anxiety about acing the course and leaving college as the best performing student was on another level. But alas! Upon finishing my first semester as a freshman, I noticed the confidence of graduating summa cum laude slowly was fading away. This continued for a while but luckily, I got rejuvenated towards the end of the course and got back to my initial desire and I eventually did it!
So what the secret to my success in chemical engineering? Well, first of all, the secret to success is not a secret. Let me share with you some of the nuggets that might be helpful to guarantee your success in the engineering field.
1. Holding a T-square is no option
One of the units I undertook in the freshman year was engineering drawing. This course required me to walk around with the set of tools used during the drawing class. One of the most conspicuous tools that every engineering student will need, is the cross-looking ruler known as the T square. You should better get prepared to using “abnomarly large” versions of the tiny mathematical instruments. On the brighter side, the unit is not rocket science, it is actually very engaging and interesting.
2. Science and Math is everlasting
From the time you start your first engineering class to the time you leave campus, there is no way to get away with these two subjects. They follow you everywhere. Almost every unit has maths, physics or chemistry. Even if it is economics for engineers, you will realise that it is twisted a bit different to the normal economics you studied in high school. The take away her is that you have no choice but to do a soul searching of your Math and Science strength and passion. You don’t want to drop out of the major in your second year of study because you cannot handle it! Don’t say I did not warn you!
3. There is success in numbers
What assisted me a lot in college is what we call “discussion groups”. The difficulty of the series of equations to solve in physics for instance-which by the way is very common in engineering, makes it hard to crack alone. Being a part of a group of four to eight students, meeting frequently to crack heads and understand laws and principles is undoubtedly imperative. Don’t be alone. You will thank me when you see the results!
4. Hard work, hard work and more hard work
There is no shortcut to any place worth going. Students in other schools may seem to have so much free time on their hands that enables them to engage in many extra-curricular activities. But I hate to inform you potential engineering student that you do not have this luxury. From the time the semester begins, you have got to discipline yourself by going to the library to study as often as possible.
It is true that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. The necessity to create time for other activities such as games, retreats, choir rehearsals, visiting friends, dancing and volunteer initiatives cannot be undermined. The secret though, is to ensure you understand how to prioritise your time so that studying remains on top of your task list.
6. Revision Tip
Before sitting for any exam, be sure to go through a past paper of the same unit-preferably set by the same professor. This will give you an idea of the anticipated question structure and if you are lucky enough, you might land a question equal to the one you have already done during revision. It happened to me more than once!
The fruits of engineering success are incredible. It is totally worth the sacrifice and hard work. Therefore, do not hesitate- go forth and pursue your degree in engineering!
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