Should you go to an engineering college?
What an engineering school is like...
The decision to take the next step of your life after high school is critical. A decision must be made of whether college is the right direction for you or not. If that wasn't hard enough, deciding what to major in college can be even more mind boggling.
Well I am here to share my own experience with engineering. More specifically what to expect at a school that solely focuses on engineering specialties. My current major is Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. I am still deciding of whether or not to pursue a minor in Biology.
How do you decide if engineering is for you? Answer the following questions.
- Do you enjoy thinking outside the box?
- Do your friends and family come to you when there is a problem?
- When they come to you do you enjoy helping them?
- Do you enjoy math, physics, chemistry or building things?
If you answered yes to at least two of the above questions, read on.
I am extremely passionate of knowledge. The fact that something new could be learned as long as someone is there to discover it is awesome! With that said, I love the idea of working in an environment that is constantly changing and new problems are needing to be solved. The field of Chemical and Biochemical engineering satisfies this and varies in so many ways! When I first began my college adventure I had little knowledge of what a CHEME (Chemical Engineer) was capable of, let alone what types of problems they are faced with. As I have continued through school I am more than excited to start my career in bio-fuels.
Things to expect from an Engineering school
- Highly stressful, the first year is not so bad if you took AP classes in high school and have done well in Chemistry, Calculus, and Physics. It's the year after when professors hammer you with new material to learn.
- Professors believe that their class is the most important (Doesn't matter which one you are talking to, they all say the same thing) So expect a large work load every week.
- The people there are very similar to you! So making friends is easy, although if you are a female like myself expect the population to mainly be men. (Currently I have in my classes on average a 1:5 female to male ratio). Upside though ladies, less Drama!
- Plenty of opportunities to get help. Whether you ask another student, your professor or join a study group, everyone understands what it is like to not understand an equation, reaction mechanism or general problem you have.
- Limited amount to party! Your studies literally can take up all of your free time. Although there are plenty of activities you can participate in especially if you live nearby or on campus.
- Join an organization or club. This allows you to make friends and NETWORK! You get plenty of opportunities to meet people currently in the field and you get to relax a bit while you have fun.
- No matter which major of engineering you decide to go into, realize that they are all connected. Especially CHEME's because particle are building block so physics, differential equation, fluid dynamics and thermodynamics all come into play.
- Core classes take up your first two years, which allows you to gain some knowledge on each major. By the third year you should have an idea of what interests you best. (Colleges differ on this but this is how it is done at my current college).
Side Story: During registration for my first year, a couple of professors and advisers spoke about what to expect. The main thing they said was to look to your right and then your left and said that more than likely you will not see this person at graduation. Many people decide this field is not for them and transfer out. It takes a very dedicated and passionate person to want to pursue engineering. It can be very competitive.
Possible careers from a CHEME degree:
- As previously stated, Bio-fuels is a growing field in industry. It allows fuels such as methane, ethane, propane etc. to be produced by growing algae and alternating it to produce the fuel you want. There are many issues still with separation of the fuel and algae and the amount of money the current process costs.
- Pharmaceutical companies all have a biochemical engineer (For example: Escherichia coli a bacteria that is manipulated to make a mass production of Insulin for people with Diabetes must be grown at a specific temperature and pressure in a batch reactor (like a batch of cookies) since bacteria are living organisms).
- Just last week I visited a lab in my department and they were researching blood clots. They try and come up with new ways to detect clotting and create solutions and treatments for people who lack proteins that are responsible for clotting (lacking certain proteins can cause thrombosis (excess clotting) or hemophilia (excess bleeding). They are working with doctors at a local children's hospital.
- There are countless ways that being a CHEME is beneficial to our world!
I hope that this gives you a little more information on what to expect from an engineering school. If you have any questions, send me a comment and I will be happy to share my insight. Thanks for reading!