It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in engineering school by your new surroundings and end up losing your focus. With so many different experiences from working professionals, fresh graduates, and career shifters, some advice are true gems.
Here are a couple of things that engineering students wished they knew before and even during their engineering studies.
Networking is as Important as Studying
You’ve applied and succeeded in getting into the school and programme of your dreams. Congratulations. Obviously studying is incredibly important, but it’s not everything. What really matters in parallel to getting good grades and excelling in academia is building connections and networking: get out and meet people too. Not only will a healthy social life keep you from burning out on your studies, but it will help you develop your social and communication skills and perhaps meet influential people that will ultimately affect your career choices and opportunities.
Ask for Help When Needed
There is no such thing as a stupid question, especially when you’ve just stepped foot in engineering school. You’re in uncharted territory and there to learn. It’s perfectly normal as well to feel intimidated by some of your professors or peers, but if you hold back on asking questions you’re only hurting yourself and your chances of improving.
At the other extreme of fear, is pride. Don’t let it get in the way of your learning, because there’s definitely something you don’t know yet.
Even if you feel like a tiny detail might not be relevant to you in the future, remember that most jobs you undertake in your future won’t require all of the knowledge you acquired in engineering school, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to understand some concepts that could perhaps overlap with other departments.
Humility and ambition go hand in hand.
Take More Initiative
We also insist on stepping outside of your comfort zone and getting familiar with the unfamiliar. If you don’t understand something after some time, do your own research and discover it independently. If you’re passionate about a social or current issue and you want to do something about it and find a solution, start asking the right questions and creating a process that could be the cornerstone of a project that will shine during your school years. This will expose you early on to different skill sets and different talents when you bring together a small team and start working with passion as your first booster. This brings us to the next point.
Avoid an Engineering Tunnel Vision
A lot of students and even young professionals make the mistake of only focusing on engineering-related competencies. However, once you start interning or working on big projects, you will notice that having limited skills only related to your field will do more harm than good. Of course, your main focus is to become an expert in your industry but this exact profession might require you a lot of administrative, managerial, and collaborative work, so you need to be ready.
Work on becoming proficient in other tools and software that might not immediately relate to engineering, but will absolutely support your secondary tasks and efforts to better finish your tasks. that you wouldn’t immediately associate with engineering.
Explore Different Team Dynamics
Even if you’ll work on a solo project, a good engineering school will prepare you for the real world by integrating you into projects that require you to work as part of a team. Make the most of these experiences as they will allow you to learn from others and better communicate and compromise when clashes take place. At ESiLV engineering school, students produce in small groups projects based on concrete issues and some even start their very own businesses and develop their ideas while learning.
Working on different projects will constantly remind you to look inward and reflect on any decision you’ll be making alone, or as a team, like what made you want to become an engineer in the first place? What’s your biggest goal? What sets you apart from other engineers you look up to? Engaging with these reflections out loud with your peers will help you work systematically towards your aspirations.
Are you Happy?
To say things bluntly, if you dreamed of coming to engineering school then you’re probably in the wrong place doing the wrong thing. Yes, it’s not always fun and games but the programme of your choice should leave you with a feeling of excitement and hunger for more, despite the stress. At the end of the day, if you don’t enjoy studying it, you probably don’t want to commit to it as a career. This is why it’s important to enrol in a school that will have your back from start to finish, and guarantees you are where you’re supposed to be.
ESiLV’s mission is not only to offer a real professional experience or prepare them for real issues of the professional life but to also encourage and train future engineers in unlocking their full potential.
We’re ready to have you onboard, are you?