Are you an incoming first-year student, getting prepared to start your journey as an engineering major? Here are some helpful tips and insights from a recent chemical engineering graduate!

Q: What would you tell incoming first-year students about the engineering program (in general)?

A: In general, the engineering program is challenging but very rewarding and keeps you engaged.

Q: What advice can you give first-year students about balancing schoolwork and other priorities?

A: Get organized, and set deadlines and goals so you can plan ahead. The planning phase alone doesn’t take much time, but it ends up saving you a lot of time and reducing stress.

Q: What made you want to go into engineering? And more importantly, what made you want to stay in engineering?

A: I wanted to go into engineering because of the variety of different paths I could follow after graduation. I liked that I had a lot of options and wouldn’t be limited to a single career path. Materials or biomedical research and development were my main interests when I chose my major. I realized how I thrive in a collaborative work environment and how that is a big part of engineering. I also realized how applying critical thinking to science applications is an exciting challenge.

Q: Is there anything you have done/wish you had done during your time at Oregon State related to engineering or academics that you would recommend to first-year students? (e.g., programs, getting involved in outside activities, opportunities, etc.)?

A: I would recommend getting involved in any clubs and outside activities (especially those associated with your department). And do it early. Networking is very important to your success, and connections in the engineering world increase your resources during your time at Oregon State and will be helpful once you are ready to move on to grad school or industry. Also make connections and establish relationships with your professors. I used teachers and TA’s as my main resources.

Q: What classes particularly sparked your interest and why?

A: I particularly liked the transport phenomenon series courses because I learned a lot about how things work in my everyday life.

Q: What advice do you have about dealing with the stresses as a college student, particularly an engineering student?

A: Make time for breaks, exercise, or do something active (Dixon Recreation Center is great for that), and make time for your social life. When I started taking more classes that were engineering focused during my sophomore year, I had more study groups because the material was challenging to handle alone. These groups stuck throughout the next few years, which was also helpful.

Q: What was the best part of your learning experience at Oregon State, inside or outside of the classroom?

A: The best part was the relationships I built with my classmates through group work.

Q: Was there a particular year or time during the program that was more difficult than the rest? Any advice on how to prepare/deal with that?

A: Course material was more difficult in junior and senior year than the previous two years. Also add job or grad school applications to your workload, and it increases stress. Get in contact with your professors and often, not only for help with material but for any advice. And get started early!

–Aynsley Eggen


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