article Fall 2021

ENG 101 – Intro to Survival Skills

By: Isabelle Egizio


Welcome to the College of Engineering!

With UW-Madison returning to in-person classes this semester, thousands of college students just like you will once again swarm the campus – many for the very first time!  Whether you are a first-year, second-year, or third-year freshman, this semester will not be without its obstacles. Between navigating the engineering campus and attending in-person classes for the first time, you will learn to overcome the challenges of attending college during a global pandemic.  

For three classes of students used to paying full tuition for online classes, the constant rush of traveling across campus may present some problems.  Long gone are the days where you could sleep until 10 minutes before your class started and join Zoom while still eating breakfast.  Now, you may find yourself oversleeping and running up Bascom Hill to make it to your 8:50 a.m. calculus lecture.  Even if you somehow manage to arrive on time, never underestimate the time it takes to find your room number – be prepared to spend an extra 15 minutes walking down the same hallway in the Mosse Humanities Building or staring at the directory map in Engineering Hall. If you happen to be particularly unlucky, you may find yourself navigating the basement of 1410 Engineering Drive.  Better fit for the set of the next Stranger Things season, this modern dungeon is the reincarnation of your childhood nightmares.  Instead of finding the next Demogorgon, these rooms house the college-equivalent human test subject: a sleep-deprived 5th year engineering student.  

Beyond navigating the depths and hidden treasures of the engineering campus, the full freshmen year experience also includes managing your classes. With syllabus week over as soon as it started, welcome your newfound love for caffeine as you strive to turn in all of your homework before the 11:59 p.m. deadline.  Make sure to stock up on Red Bull, 5 Hour Energy, and every freshman’s favorite drink, Bubbl’r, because these essentials will be your homework lifelines! Even when you finish your assignment more than five minutes before the deadline, DuoPush may make it difficult to see the Canvas confetti when it locks you out of your account for the second night in a row.  


With late nights of doing homework, you’ll be surprised how quickly midterm season approaches.  For newcomers on campus, you’ll find your fellow engineering classmates cramming for their next midterm one hour before the exam in the library.  The library will become your second home during midterm week, so make sure to bring all of the essentials to get through those calculus practice exams.  Even if you find yourself contemplating a major change at 1 a.m. in one of the study rooms, don’t worry because we’ve all been there!

Once you pass all of your midterms, congratulations – you are now halfway through the term and get to repeat the entire process over again!  Now, though, your commute to class consists of walking to classes during a blizzard and attending class in below-zero temperatures (who doesn’t love winter in Wisconsin?)  With only seven weeks left of the semester, you will be counting the days until winter break.  By the end of the semester, you’ll learn how to navigate the engineering campus, pass your in-person classes, and be one step closer to graduating in four years.  

Photographs by Annie Krillenberger

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