Post #30 What I Would have Done Differently
I’m going to take the opportunity to use this post to talk about myself. All my posts are based on my experiences as engineering student, engineering academic advisor as well as corporate/government engineer. However, today I am going to visit the past and share some regrets as an engineering student.
Lack of Summer Internships
I did not attempt to earn a summer or semester-long internship until after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. It seemed like too much trouble to apply, interview and move away for the summer. I decided it was in my best interest to either take summer courses or take the summer off from academics. Summer internships were heavily advertised in my engineering department. However, I ignored the messages and missed out on opportunities to learn about real engineering life. One of my regrets as an engineering student is a lack of internship experience which due to my own flawed thinking.
Forgetting my Purpose
I’m not going to say I didn’t learn. Of course, I learned a lot during my student engineering days. Those learning experiences ranged from how to work with people, how to study, how to eat/sleep properly to budgeting. These are all important life skills that I’m grateful to have learned the hard way. However, I often lost sight of my vision. All too often, I forgot why I was enrolled in my engineering program in the first place. My sights were too focused on that piece of paper I would receive at the end. In the process, I cheated myself out of learning.
After learning the hard way that I could not complete all schoolwork by myself, I started to engage in study groups. We would help each other with homework or try to figure out some matlab coding. While this networking practice was extremely necessary for me, I certainly could have taken it further. I ignored callouts to join committees, clubs or extracurriculars. My excuse was that I did not have time because I was a busy engineering student. Looking back, I was busy because my time management habits weren’t the greatest. I could have made time to engage in meaningful activities if I really wanted to. As a result, many opportunities for friendships, growth and networking were missed.
How many times have you waited until a day or two prior to the due date before you start homework? Do you pull all nighters to study for exams? These were bad habits I chose to practice too many times. I always regretted waiting so long to start my work. But eventually I would repeat this bad habit again, knowing how much stress it was going to cause. I allowed my immediate urges to take over, such as, “I don’t feel like studying right now or I’ll do it later.” These self-destructive thoughts led me to falsely believe I was always a busy engineering student. One of my regrets as an engineering student is that I didn’t treat my academics as though it were a profession.