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Life as an Engineering Student

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University of Massachusetts engineering majors work on their senior project

Ever since freshman year, I have lived with my childhood friend who is currently an industrial engineering student. Throughout all three of his years here at the University of Massachusetts, he has been in the program and loved it. I decided to sit down with him and ask him about his overall experience in the major, and any tips he had for current and prospective students.

Like other freshman engineering students at UMass, my friend was enrolled in the pre-engineering path. Within this path, he chose to focus on the mechanical and industrial engineering (MIE) track. As the months progressed, it became time for him to declare his specific major within engineering.

“Because I worked for a retirement company all throughout high school, I was heavily interested in business. But, I wanted to also pursue some sort of engineering since I had an interest in manufacturing. This led me to declare as an industrial engineer,” he stated. 

As the years and semesters progressed, he became more and more confident that this was the right decision for him. He was happy, still hanging out with friends on the weekends, and never too swamped with work. I then asked him how he managed to still be involved socially while doing well in school.

His answer to this was three tips:

  1. Get a planner. Simple as it may be, his reasoning was that writing down objectives for each day, finishing it and crossing out each completed task on the planner gave him a sense of completion and knowledge that he was indeed making good progress.
  2. Dedicate specific time to get tasks done, especially on the weekends. Although it may seem very tempting to put off homework, studying, or reading until Sunday night, this is a horrible plan. As work accumulates and is pushed off, the quality of work is reduced and your brain just gets too crammed to actually learn. He recommends spending some time after class to do homework on Friday, and some time during the afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday.
  3. Make friends in your major. The reasoning behind this is to have points of contacts when you are confused about a certain topic or need help studying. Not only do having friends within your major help with studying, it just makes classes more fun and interesting.

Hopefully all of these tips help you excel with your college career, whether you end up an engineering major, or not!

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