Getting Ready for Last Year in Undergrad-Civil Engineering B.S.

Wew! I cannot believe it, time went by so quickly…it seems like I was just a little 18 years old Freshman last week. Although people still confuse me as much younger than I really am. Thank goodness for my parents’ forever young genes. (For those who are curious, I’m 21 years old.) I don’t have any regrets with how I have spent the last few years, the awesome people I have met in college, the “college experience” I’ve gain, the great staff that I met and countless of other experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I had my mistakes. I somehow managed to fail some classes; trust me, it’s not easy to fail at the school I attend. However, all the really awesome things that happened made up for my mistakes and if it didn’t, there’s no need to fuss. I like to think that there’s not need to fix what has happened but remember the mistakes and continue forward. “Regrets and mistakes are memories made.”-Adele. No one else to blame but yourself and NEVER EVER EVER play the victim of your own stories. Oh gosh and don’t ever try to relate to a Taylor Swift song, goodness. I am personally really looking forward to my last year in my undergrad. Although not a lot of people seemed very happy coming back to school, I think they had a much better summer than I did. I was glad to go back to school, going back to school means 1/2 the responsibilities at work and who doesn’t like that?! Work is great experience and people here are super duper wonderful but sleeping in for an extra hour on a Wednesday is bliss. I’m taking all the hard classes this year, but the professors are so wonderful. I’m learning a lot just from the first week of school, maybe I might look into graduate school after I get my FE. I scheduled to make my FE the week I come back from winter break, I’m excited to study for it. I need to brush up on my fundamentals too, my boss asked me how I would find the force of water pushing onto a dam the other day and I gave him a super generic answer. Another great thing about school vs. work, it’s perfectly alright to answer wrong in class but definitely not okay at work. All my classes this semester lined up very well, I have a Friday lab but it’s a hard lab so I don’t mind it being on Friday, Friday labs are always much more chill.

Here are some of my experiences put into recommendations: Please don’t take it word for word, explore it yourself! You’ll find the experience much more exciting. Never listen to the internet without further research they say.

My message for anyone entering Freshman year, make lots of friends in your engineering classes. These people will be with you in at least 1 class for the next 4 years. Make friends outside of your discipline too so you can compare to each other how much harder your discipline is compare to theirs. Join a club, I joined ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers.) I met my bestest of friend through ASCE, actually. The people one meets in ASCE ends up being a second family. They’re kind of like the brothers and sisters you’ve always wanted. I felt like this when I was really involved, not so much now. ASCE helped me meet my wonderful mentor and it was one of the first important thing to go into my resume. Either way, find a family away from home, it’s important *(I should put in a disclaimer: join a professional club, meaning that there is a professional chapter. Social Fraternities are for fun.)  This summer after Freshman year, make sure you look into summer internships, or year long internships. Whichever floats your boat. Explore your choices, maybe you might land your dream job this summer.

Sophomores, this is your second year now and you’re not as lost anymore. Find that internship yet?You’re taking “important” engineering classes this year. That means Thermo,  Dynamics, and Statics. From my experience as a Civil Major, pay very close attention in Statics, this class comes back to bite you every year for the next 3 years (Static Equilibrium Force and Moment).  Some of you might even be done with the classes above, Physics and Calculus by the time Sophomore year rolls around-kudos to you! But don’t forget your GEs, you don’t want to end up taking a 300 level GE with Freshmen by the time senior year rolls around.

Juniors, I hope you’ve landed a good internship that you want to stay with after graduation-this is so important. You must leave an internship that you can no longer learn from, don’t be afraid to explore! I landed my dream internship the start of my junior year after working for a public agency for 2 years. After 1.5 years I felt like my learning was already stagnated and it wasn’t something I wanted to do. So don’t stay at a place that you don’t love. Anyway, let’s talk about classes, it’s time for those core classes! Remember those people you met in Freshman year? Gosh they’re all in your classes now aren’t they? Did you manage to make good friends with that genius in the class? If you did, good job! H/She is such a good resource. They somehow have answers to everything even before going to class, I wonder how much time they spend prepping the class material. Either way, this year is very important. Grad school is something to look at and it’s time to really improve your GPA. Some schools only look at the last 60 units GPA. There are a lots of choices when it comes to finding grad school! The FE is something to start studying for, most people take it during the winter break of their last year but it’s never too early. I’ve known people who took it during their sophomore year. Different disciplines have different requirements.. Some disciplines do not require the FE. As far as I know, the FE is popular in Civil, Chemical, and Mechanical.

Seniors, you’re pretty much done! This summer your goal is to study for the FE and the GRE, the latter is if you’re going for top notch schools. Some schools do not require the GRE. By December grad school applications should have been submitted. You should have an internship locked in, it’s a good time to discuss your employment with your employer. Don’t be afraid, if they’re willing to take interns they’ll be ready to talk about your future in the company. It’s also a good time to look into graduation trips, if you have the funding. I tell myself that I’ll have to go somewhere otherwise I’ll regret it a lot. Senior design class, have lots of fun here. Make lots of friends, you don’t realize how awesome a person is until you’ve done group work with him/her. And maybe find the love of your life. Who knows…

That’s it from me, these are just from personal experience. I recommend talking to an adviser for classes or anything academic related, they’re a lot of help.

Good Luck!!

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