I have a friend that is getting his BS in Electrical Engineering. He sent me this –
I remember going through this so many times during my EE classes.
My worst semester was when I had taken 19 credits of EE classes – Digital Signals, Electronics 2, Microelectronics, Linear Systems, and Electromagnetics. Yes, it was as fun as it sounds.
Thankfully, my mindset for the semester was – I just have to pass everything.
Changing my mindset was a direct result of my first internship at Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant. Internships are great at setting realistic expectations for your career after college. I’ll give you a hint, your first job after college is kind of like taking Calculus 3 after Calc 2. It feels like a reward for going through hell.
During my junior and senior years of college, I probably spent around 80 hours a week on classes. More on those weeks when every class had a test at the same time. My first job? 40. 40 hours a week. I had time and money, and I finally understood why being an adult would be awesome.
The great part about your first EE job is that you picked what to apply for, and you are going in to a small subset of EE. I went into power engineering, so all those classes I hated – Electronics, Digital Systems, etc. no longer had anything to do with my life.
My best recommendations if you are pursuing an EE degree are the following –
- Don’t take too many credits in a semester. 18 or less. Preferably closer to 14.
- Get an internship as soon as someone is willing to hire you. Finding suitable jobs to apply for was easier once I knew what my expectations were.
- You will get a job even if you get Cs in some of your classes. My GPA was a 3.25 when I graduated. I failed classes and had to take them over. I got a D in one of my labs. I still got a job. You will too. Besides, when I give advice for hiring new engineers, I will always favor those with a low GPA and good communication skills over a 4.0.
- It’s not terrible if you just take a night or weekend off from homework and classes to go out and relax. Wednesday nights were Midweek Morgans and Thursday night was International Night at my favorite bar. I always knew I was going there one of those nights just to have a free drink and unwind.
- Google is your friend. I repeat, Google is your friend. The great thing about EE is that all the other EEs are also nerds. If you’re having a problem with a concept, odds are someone else is too and a quick search will turn up a better and/or easier way of understanding the material.
- Be friends with your classmates. You’re all in this together. Doing homework is a lot easier when you see several people struggling with a problem and it isn’t just you. Their intelligence level doesn’t matter. They are obviously smart enough to have gotten through all the maths thus far.
- Join IEEE and go to their fun stuff. Mine had free pizza. And we went on tours. And they had free FE exam study groups. Fun and worth it.
If you just stick it out, you will be happy you did. Trust me.