A Guide to College Life as a First-Year Engineering Student
So you have finally managed to bag an admission to a standard engineering college. All over the world, especially in India, engineering was and still is considered as one of the most lucrative vocational courses and promising career option. An engineering graduate from an acknowledged and reputed engineering college is in perpetual demand from the IT sector, software companies, technology startups as well government undertakings ( the public sector, especially has much demand of capable and experienced civil engineers).
To put it shortly, engineering is a profession which will never go out of fashion. As long as there is need for invention and innovation, spearheading technological revolution etc, the demand for quality engineers will be perpetual. Therefore it’s unsurprising that the majority of the parents in India, want their sons and daughters to study engineering, and bright youngsters all over the nation aspire to become engineers.
However just like any other vocational degree, engineering is also a profession, that requires skill and excellence – graduates who are from premier or at least quality engineering college are exposed to more lucrative career opportunities. Moreover just a good college will not help you secure a good career in engineering. You have to make the most of the opportunities your college offers. Make hay while the sun shines. College years are some of the most formative years of your life. Its when you form lifelong friendships and also some of the most important connections of your life.
Chances are if you have enrolled in a good/standard college which specializes in the engineering branch you are keen on studying, then this college will not just be an academic institution, but a hub of relevant connections. This is because a good engineering college always has connections, with industries and sectors. So a prospective engineer whether he wants to make a career in a specific branch of engineering such as software engineering, civil engineering etc would have to spend time not only excelling in academics but build up his cv with relevant internships and projects, establish useful ( and hopefully long term) contacts. In this essay we will highlight how to make the best of 4 years at engineering college ( without depriving yourself too much though!)
Keep an Open Mind : Often many students find themselves in a dilemma halfway through their college. They discover much to their dismay, that they have no interest ( or worse, little aptitude) for the subject of their major! However you can avoid this not so pleasant situation. Become inquisitive and try to learn about all branches of engineering.
Often many students choose courses which appear to be the most lucrative – that which promises the ‘’best’’ ( namely a fat pay package) placements. But before you decide on a particular course, have a look at its syllabus, course contents etc. Is it something you can see yourself studying in depth for the coming three years? If no, then best not to take up that subject. Some pre enrollment research will save you wastage of time and money. You will not waste months on wrong classes, but devote on relevant coursework and industry experience. Involve yourself in engineering clubs, talk to seniors. and discover your interest before it’s too late.
Become an Active Member of the Placement Cell : This way you get to develop some leadership skills, and also be aware of the latest career opportunities in the pipeline.
Inquire If The College is Offering any Skill Training : Engineering is one of the most practical vocational courses. Unlike other branches like Science and Humanities, it is a combination of both theoretics as well as practical application. Ultimately the aim of an engineer is to practically apply the theories of scientists and bring about technological revolution. So do not limit yourself to rote learning – mugging up the textbooks, develop practical skills which are in current demand by the specific engineer. If you are for instance a software engineer, then don’t limit yourself to learning outdated programmes such as Python but also try to get a grasp of current software programmes such as Ruby On Rails etc.
Don’t Forget Extracurriculars : For many students college fests are understandably an occasion to let their hair down – an opportunity to ask that cute classmate out , an opportunity to indulge in ‘’grownup’’ activities such as beer guzzling, staying up all night with friends, attending the concerts of your favourite bands etc. But keep in mind that fests are also golden opportunities of showcasing your talents be it creative talents ( you can always take part in competitions like singing, dancing, designing competitions) they are a great way to fuel your creativity and boost your resume.
If you think you have good leadership skills, then arrange the fests. This way you will be gaining some leadership experience. Also if possible become a regular member of engineering clubs. This way you get to mingle with focused like minded people and establish some useful contacts both in the industry as well as the academia.
I For Internships : If your engineering college is a standard college at all, then it will have at least a few internships, live industrial projects and industry interfaces. Make the most of them. As you are a green student with little to no experience, you will not be expected to deliver a miracle, but do try to prove that you are an enthusiastic learner and learn from your mistakes. A successful internship almost always turns into a pre placement offer, keep that in mind.
Do Not Delay or Procrastinate : GPA or Grade Point average is pretty much everything, when it comes to engineering. delaying an assignment will only decrease your chances of submitting a quality assignment and getting good marks. Every assignment matters when it comes to GPA.
Skip Classes… at your own risk : It might sound very cool and hip to ditch the classes, but keep one thing in mind. You are only doing yourself a disfavour.