Lindsay Bryan-Podvin is a biracial financial therapist, speaker, and Plutus-nominated author of the book "The Financial Anxiety Solution."

3 Tips for Surviving Engineering School

Need some helpful tips on getting through engineering school? Below are 3 skills that will help you navigate through it! 

Form community

Forming community is important in engineering. Having a support group to work through problems and bounce ideas is key. It is important to work through problems alone, but when you add a community aspect afterwards it is eye-opening to see different methods and approaches. Having variety within study groups adds flavor to your critical thinking skills. Some engineering students stay in a bubble with studying with the same group – and while that is very helpful – stepping outside your comfort zone to study with other students is beneficial. Community is extremely powerful through an engineering degree and the support keeps a lot of students feeling less alone. Ask your fellow students if they would like to study together and set time aside for group meetings. Another way to form community is to join engineering groups and programs. Getting involved is a fun, creative, and active way to form community and participate. Check what clubs you might be interested in and by getting involved – this will add some fun to your schedule and help you in leadership skills. You can make new friends through this avenue and really explore a hands-on side to engineering.  

Ask questions and utilize office hours 

Asking questions is extremely important in your engineering classes. Often times you need to fills the gaps in your understanding. By filling the gaps, you will understand the concepts better. The questions you ask will help you solve problems with more ease. Sometimes it can be nerve wrecking to ask a question in class, but most of the time there are others in the room with the same question. Either way, you want to make your time in class valuable and when you have a question – just ask it! You will be happy you did – even if you feel embarrassed. You can also ask your questions in the professor’s office hours. As you work through your engineering degree, utilizing your professor’s office hours is very helpful in problem solving. The professor also sees what they can expand on in class. Your dedication will shine through when you show up to the support available. There’s always room to learn more. It is also helpful if you go with a few friends so that this saves time if some students have the same questions. A lot of times the questions that come up in study group sessions can be compiled and a trip to office hours is valuable! 

Understand and experiment with how you learn 

Understanding how you learn is key in navigating through engineering. This could be vary for different classes and subjects. For some students, re-writing their notes is helpful to understanding them better, bridging gaps, and coming up with questions. A lot of students learn through audio – hearing someone speak about the subject really makes a difference. Drawing pictures along with problem solving is also a powerful method. Try combinations and find out what works for you based on the way you learn and your class. The more you understand how you learn – the better prepared you are to tackle your classes and navigate through engineering!

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