That Engineering Life Part 2: Your Life as an Engineering Student
Just last week, we talked about That Engineering Life covered what goes into preparing for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE). In this second installment of the series, we discuss what happens after you make it into an engineering college. While your course material will differ from stream to stream, there are a few basic challenges every engineering student faces when starting out.
You are finally here; pursuing your dream of becoming an engineer. You are allowed to be optimistic and excited as long as you realise that a few of them may not necessarily come true and your first year of college may not be exactly how you dreamed it would be. Avid Quora contributor and engineering student Mahesh Garkoti says, “Unless you are in a Tier 1 college, don’t expect your college to deliver world-class infrastructure with every possible facility to gain a better understanding of the practical knowledge. Most colleges lack equipment and the ones that have them are either obsolete or not in working condition.”
Your first year will be nothing short of a roller coaster ride. You will run around to attend classes, gather notes, struggle with deadlines and manage your time with excruciating planning. Since the course structure of engineering is vastly different and larger than what you are used to, you need to know what is coming your way.
Brace Yourself to Pace Yourself
Every year of the engineering course comes with its own set of challenges and mostly depends upon your stream of choice and college. While you may deftly manage it all by the time you get to the second year, you may need to plan every minute to get through your first year of college. Talk to your seniors about how their college life is, ask them about placement cell opportunities, the faculty, etc. They may or may not have the most encouraging answers, but they will tell you what to expect and how to prepare for them. Identify the challenges and mentally prepare yourself for those. However, do not forget that the stress can show up even with all the planning and it could be overwhelming. Give your mind a productive break every now and then to relax and rejuvenate. You are at a stage after which you will be expected to function in the real world, where everyone is expected to work at a fast pace. Treat this as your training ground.
Managing the Stress
The previously mentioned stress is not escapable but the workload also depends upon your stream of choice and college. The key to managing stress is not comparing yourself with anyone else and maintaining your health as you travel far, stay up late, and juggle your personal life and your course. Having said that, you will get some time to make friends and enjoy your college life. An engineering student from Bengaluru, Nikitha Fernandes says, “Engineering is four years of constantly giving tests and exams, and mostly cramming an entire semester's work on the previous night of the exam. College life is pretty chill. For most part of the semester, depending on the college, you will either have a lot of projects and assignments or a lot of co-curricular activities. So, the stress is really dependent on the college and the department you're in.”
Many students realise halfway into the year that engineering is not something that interests them. Maybe their stream is not something they want to take up a job in. This sort of dilemma is common and can be tackled; just make sure you’re getting the right help and making an informed decision based on your interests and not aptitude.
Just so you know, ragging has been eradicated from most colleges. Your seniors might ask you to introduce yourself or sing a song, but won’t dive into full-fledged harassment. Treat this as an opportunity to network with your seniors. You can learn a lot from talking to them.
Internships and Placements
It’s never too early to start thinking about internships. Today, internships are a must, especially when you are pursuing engineering. This is partly because they test your theoretical and practical knowledge, and mostly because they are a great way to learn hands-on while on the job. When placement cells are put up, many recruiters will look for your experiences as an intern. Choose your internships very carefully, as they go a long way on your resume. Choose them based on your academic interests and the job you’d like to take up after you complete your degree. If you are not sure what you are interested in or what kind of job you’d like to take up, get the right kind of career counselling. You can also look up how you can choose the perfect internship during engineering.
Human Resources Professional Balasubramanian Jayaraman says, “Whether MBA or not, a good internship is always time spent in learning something about real world. In the context of MBA, if you clear all the aptitude tests and move to interview session for selection, if you have done well during internship, the story you tell can be valuable for you to get selected. But you should be able to really produce something valuable in terms of learning, understanding and it should also relate to your future plans and big picture to make the effort credible.”
Let’s face it, engineering is tough. But it can be a worthwhile ride only if you are truly and completely in love with the field. If you’re interested in the subject and have the ability and dedication to see it through, you would actually enjoy these college years, despite the hectic schedule. However, if you’ve taken this up only because someone asked you to and are not really inclined towards that engineering life, you’re going to hate every second of it. A gruelling schedule like engineering requires passion and dedication. This is why, it is important to make an informed choice before getting into this field. Just refer to our handy checklist below to make sure you’re going down the right path:
-Do you love engineering more than any other field?
-Are you taking up engineering because YOU want to or because someone else asked you to?
-Do you see yourself spending the next 30 years of your life as an engineer?
Give these questions a truthful answer and pursue engineering only if your answers are positive. You have over 12,000 career options to choose from, each one as good and promising as the next. All you need is a passion for the field and dedication to see it through. If you haven’t figured out what your passion is, we’d be happy to help you find it!
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