If I had to go back in time and choose civil engineering all over again, would I? ABSOLUTELY! I love it so much! But when I started the program here at Cal Poly Pomona I wish I had known a few key things to survive…

1] You will NOT have a life. There is a breed of students in engineering that can never attend class and read the book at home, roll up to class and ace a midterm. I am not one of those individuals and most aren’t. You have to be so dedicated and put in tons of hours to get this degree. I honestly think that once I graduate people will never understand what it took to get this degree except for other engineers.

2] Find out what teachers to take regardless of the time schedule. Seriously, taking a class 8-10pm really isn’t that amazing but taking it with a great professor who’s going to give you real world experience and teach well is worth it. Find a website that grades the professors (like this one for my school:¬†gradecalpoly.com ) and try to find challenging ones who will help you to learn to apply the class to real life. Those are the best professors.

3] Make lots of engineering friends! Keep your other friends too, but friends in your classes with textbooks, past notes for a class or even old study guides are priceless. Having the ability to call someone up at 3am knowing they’re awake doing the same homework as you and needed help is always nice. Make sure to form good study groups with these people! Key word there “good”. If you get study groups with slackers who you have to end up teaching them the whole quarter in a night you’ll hate yourself. Find people who are great to bounce ideas off of and keep a good study session going.

4] Keep a very good planner. Keep your schedule on your computer, in your backpack and on your fridge even. Don’t miss a due date!! This is something I am very serious about. In the real world you can’t be late for a bid, why would you turn in homework late? Or show up to class late? I had a professor that would shred the students who showed up late or just fail students for not turning in one assignment. Stay on top of you homework, internships, classes and office hours. Plan ahead for everything!

5] Never give up. I don’t give up anyways, but so many student just give up because statics or physics was hard. Keep pushing. If this degree was easy everyone would have one. This program is meant to chew you up and see what your made of, not baby you and hold your hand. Keep short term goals along the way to graduation so it doesn’t seem so daunting in the middle of the quarter when you’re starting to get burnt out from your course load, midterms and life. Engineering isn’t hard for those who get it, it’s hard until you get it. As one of my favorite quotes of Yoda says “Do or do not. There is not try.” Same is true for life after school. If my building falls, it doesn’t matter that the guys’ next to mine fell first, mine still fell.

Engineering is not a joke it’s tough. Only the tough and pressing students survive. I’m going on a limb and saying this, but this degree is harder for me than fighting cancer. The day I walk across that stage and get my diploma that says Civil Engineering on it is the day I know I can do anything in life. No matter what it is, I know if I work hard enough, I can do it.

Study time!