An Engineer’s Life (with 2 weeks experience!)

Hello people! How y’all doing?

First of all, I got a new computer for school (Yayyy!). This is my first blog post in this new computer, so I thought I should talk a little about the necessity of getting a new computer for Engineering. I would not say that you really need a new computer for Engineering, but sometimes you do need to run software like AutoCad, programming compilers and so on. If you feel that your computer is very slow with multitasking, or that it has poor battery life and portability, I would probably start saving up for a new computer. Not something fancy for sure, but something that is able to manage everyday work and still handle some rigorous software needs. (My new computer, by the way, is a i5 core with 8 GB RAM and 1 TB HDD).

How’s Engineering, you ask? If I were to answer that question in one word, I would use “adventurous”. It is going to be very fast-paced, very rigorous and possibly stressful at the beginning, but it is going to be rewarding. I personally love circuit analysis, and I have a whole course this term just on that, like JUST ON CIRCUIT ANALYSIS (*rants for a while*). My physics prof. actually wrote the book that we follow in the course curriculum. How often do YOU get to ask questions regarding a textbook directly to its author?

Some quick tips though from my engineering experience so far:

1. Do not assume that it is all review from high school for the the first few months. We did some review, but then we very quickly moved onto topics covering more depth. So, if you think you need a review, brush up on your skills during the summer before university starts.

2. TIME MANAGEMENT IS CRUCIAL. When you have 10 assignments due in a week, you really need to prioritize and have a schedule ready. I will confess, I have not been entirely efficient with my time so far, but I am trying to improve myself everyday.

3. LEARN PROGRAMMING. I will say it again, IF YOU WANT TO GO INTO ENGINEERING, HAVE A BASIC IDEA OF PROGRAMMING. I taught myself Python basics over the summer this year and it is paying off incredibly well. Even though we are learning C# this term, most programming languages have the same basic logic and it is much easier to grasp once you are familiar with the fundamentals of programming.

4. PICK UP RELEVANT SKILLS. If you are planning to come to Waterloo Engineering, you have to do co-op. One of the most important things co-op employers look for are your relevant experience. Even if you are writing a code for your school announcement board or helping the neighbours build a go-cart from scratch, every little experience adds up. Remember, you learn the same things as another 200 or more people in your course, and the only way to stand out is through your unique experiences.

5. DO THE WATERLOO CONTESTS. Whether it is the Avogadro Chemistry contest, or the Pascal and Fermat Math contests; DO THEM. Those questions are often chosen from previous first year university assessments and they will give you an idea of how you will be performing in university. Remember that everyone in Engineering will be just as talented as you are, if not more so. Therefore, you have to go that extra mile to prove yourself.

Now that I have managed to intimidate you with my tips for Waterloo Engineering, let’s talk about how awesome Engineering really is. Three awesome things about Waterloo Engineering:

1. THE PEOPLE. If you thought Engineers were boring people who love Math and Physics only, think again. Waterloo Engineering has one of the most diversified collection of students who are incredibly well-rounded. You will be sitting in the same hall with another 150 people who love talking about both Calculus and last night’s football game. You will meet professors who are incredibly experienced and talented yet who will treat you like their equals and ask for your opinion in every single step.

2. CO-OP. My co-op term does not start until next summer, but I have already started the process through resume critiques and interview preparation. As for my friends in four stream, they have already started applying for the first round of job postings. Let me give you a quick stat: according to my friends in four stream Engineering, there are 550 junior and intermediate jobs available in the GTA right now just for Waterloo’s Electrical and Computer Engineering students. That is an incredible network of employers that you have instant access to as a Waterloo Engineering student.

3. THE FACULTY. Waterloo Engineering is an elite group of incredible people with access to amazing facilities (like 3D printers in the Quantum Nano Centre and the Student Team Garages in Engineering 5 etc.) and resources (like Velocity, an entrepreneurial incubator which funds your ideas). You will be able to maximize your potential if you truly utilize your opportunities.

So that is how I feel about Waterloo Engineering after two weeks of classes. As they say, first impressions are everything; and my first impression of Waterloo Engineering was pretty impressive. After all,

” We are, we are, we are the Engineers,

We can, we can, fix anything with gears,

We work hard, we play hard, so come along with us,

Cos we don’t give a damn for any damn man who don’t give a damn for us.”

– The Engineering Hymn.

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12 thoughts on “An Engineer’s Life (with 2 weeks experience!)

  1. wow what a helpful blog post! :-)) nothing better than hearing from an actual student whos in waterloo engineering! thanks !!

  2. From the point of view of a high school student looking into engineering in university, I have loved reading your blog. I’m the sort of person that likes to know what I’m getting into and your first person perspective of your university experience is fantastic. When you ask someone what it’s like they never seem to want to spend the time to explain it to you properly but you have given me a pretty good idea of what i can look forward to. Thank you so much!

  3. Hey this is Haseeb, nice to see helpful blog posts from an student at one of the best universities in Canada. Oh, I’m a grade 11 student by the way. Also I love how you mentioned the importance of programming in Electrical Engineering. When I came to the Information Open house in Spring, I chose engineering as my future career (Well I was determined that I wanted to do engineering) and now I was transitioning the into the critical part of my high school life. Picking grade 11 courses.. So I went on to the U of W website and hit up the engineering tab to explore the courses in the program, and programming was one that stood out other than physics, and I chose programming as one of my electives, also to brush up the programming skill, I’m planning to learn python in the summer as well. Thanks for reading

    -Haseeb

    1. Hello Haseeb,

      It’s great that you are taking my advice to heart. Thanks so much. I would recommend that you learn something like C# or Java since they are object-oriented languages and UW teaches C# in first year ECE so you will get some heads-up.

      Have fun, Jawad.

      1. Hey this is Haseeb again. Can I ask you for a short interview I need for my Co op course in school it will not be long at all.

      2. Hey, Jawad thank you for the reply I know how busy you would be. Anyways I have interviewed some one else. Again thank you for taking your time to reply. Have a great day.

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