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Advice from a Freshman Engineer

By Krishna Patel

It is back to square one for the one-time seniors of high school, now finding themselves amongst a pack of wolves called college freshmen. As an engineer, much of the college adaptation process sounds very scary; the workload is greater, classes are farther from each other, and you are away from loved ones. Personally, my first semester of college has been a thrill. It is not that I don’t miss my family, but the unlimited opportunities offered at UW-Madison have made me feel satisfied and accomplished throughout my freshman year thus far, especially as a freshman engineer with even more opportunities.

Your life as an engineer begins on move in day. Being able to make friends on move in day will help you go far in living here at UWMadison, knowing that everyone is going through the same feelings as you. The personality and diversity at UW-Madison is why I chose this university. It is very enlightening to hear others’ life stories. Keeping an open mind has helped me to make many friends. It may take time to make friends that live in the same hall as you, but you are not alone and there are study groups, lectures, discussions, and organizations that allow you to interact with other people and establish a bond. This may be one of the biggest parts of being a freshman.

So, what is it like to be a freshman engineer? From the first week of classes, engineering students received the best treatment by far. We had our own engineering breakfast, a lunch with engineering speakers that shared their experience at UW-Madison, an engineering bash with free food, and booths showcasing the different organizations available for engineering majors. UW-Madison recognizes the value of freshman engineering students and provides all the tools that are needed to shape us for our careers. For example, when you enter the Engineering Centers Building, you can see the different workshops going on for all kinds of engineering projects. This provides insight to freshmen engineers on what they can expect in their upcoming years here at UW-Madison and can help them get hands on experience before they take courses that will involve working in these workshops.

There are many opportunities as a freshman to make new friends as well as to enjoy the competitiveness of the game. Student organizations are a perfect way to meet new people and to adapt to the life of a college freshman. There are over 900 student organizations here at UW-Madison and these student organizations have become a huge part in the lives of freshmen engineers. There are a broad variety of clubs that a freshman engineer can get involved in; the opportunities are seemingly endless. Joining a student organization can help freshmen establish their presence here at UW-Madison.

“Joining one of these organizations and many, many more can help establish your presence here at UW-Madison”.

As freshmen engineers, late night study sessions are sure to occur. You may have already experienced late night studying and all-nighters before exams in high school, but you must use your time wisely when it comes to midterms. I can say that midterms are a huge deal in college compared to high school — mostly because they make up most of your final grade in the class. The best thing about classes is that the schedule is all up to you. You may have some days where you may have two classes and some you may have three, just remember to treat every day as important as the last and try not to blow off classes. Simply attending class is not enough, however. It is important to budget your free time so that you have time to complete homework, as well as setting time aside for fun.

The first semester here at UW-Madison may be stressful –but I’ve found that you can adapt quickly to the environment. Come with an open mind and be ready to try new things here at university. I guarantee it will be the best time of your life!

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