Top 10 tips for engineering students – surviving your engineering course
The onset of another academic year heralds a fresh intake of bright young engineers preparing to tackle the rigours of an undergraduate or postgraduate engineering degree. Of course, you're already an accomplished student, so we won't bore you with finger-wagging lectures about burning the candle at both ends. Instead, we'd like to offer you ten practical tips for engineering students to maximise your educational experience and heighten your engineering professional instincts.
10) Develop good habits
Attending lectures regularly is imperative if you're to avoid falling behind. If you can't attend, for whatever reason, move mountains to make up the work immediately because there's a huge volume of information that engineers need to digest and keep abreast of. It's also a good idea to do some reading ahead before a lecture, and to review lecture notes soon after, to consolidate all these new theories and data.
9) Do your homework
If you're an able student who's always cruised through your studies, picking up As and Bs for fun, then Higher Education might be a rude awakening. You're the sole custodian of your education, which means putting in the hard yards, completing assignments on time and sweating over the books – to ace the tests and nurture great working habits for the real world.
8) Enlist a second opinion
It's not unusual for practicing engineers to encounter problems that leave them stumped and in need of a second opinion. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you. So enlist the brain power of professors, graduate assistants, tutors and high flying peers to talk over any quandaries. The more you access them, the more they will willingly respond and assist.
7) Know thy calculator
Your new best friend is going to be your steadfast ally for the foreseeable future. Brush up on all its advanced features and idiosyncrasies to save you precious time and stress in any pressure situations.
6) Learn CAD and code
You may well be a coding and CAD ninja. However, if it all seems double Dutch to you it's probably worth learning some basics. The ability to sketch 3D models is a pre-requisite nowadays and makes you a valuable asset to future employers. Meanwhile, code can be a powerful tool to crunch numbers and make equation heavy assignments a formality.
5) Ask questions
If you're finding a topic difficult to follow, chances are a good few of your colleagues are struggling too. Break the mould and be brave. If you don't clarify things at this stage, when you can gain a more detailed explanation, it will be twice as hard to understand when you're on your own. Your fellow students, and your grades, will thank you for it in the long run.
4) Form a study group
A practising engineer wouldn't think twice about collaborating with a team of colleagues to solve a problem. So why wouldn't you team up with your classmates to chat through solutions and generally spur each other on? For the very best results it's worth mixing with the high-flying first class students to reach the peak of your academic powers.
3) Apply for an internship
At the end of the day, all your laborious study is geared up for one thing only; to get you a job when you graduate. Gain some invaluable experience, and a foot in the door, by applying for an internship. Not only will it look great on your CV but it's also a gilt-edged opportunity to practice academic theories in a real-time environment.
2) Believe in yourself
Discount that naysaying little voice in your head that suggests you're a fraud. If you progress through your first year of engineering studies, then you almost certainly have what it takes to become a fully fledged engineer. Through hard work and application you can silence those nagging fears and achieve your true potential.
1) Enjoy it!
That brings us nicely to our final tip. Enjoy it! The following years of study, and social excitement, are certain to be among the best of your life. They'll also be some of the quickest. So make the most of your freedom and sponge up every new experience. Good luck!
Any engineers reading this would like to offer advice to young engineers starting out their engineering journeys?
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