How to Manage Your Time as an Engineering Major

Hey engineers!

I’m so excited you guys picked an engineering major! I know it’s hard to manage time but that’s why I’m here! Just in case you don’t think I’m qualified to teach you about time management I’m a rising sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, minoring in biomedical engineering, I’m on a biomedical design team, public relations officer of the Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Society (UBES), vice president of Engineering World Health, a sister of Alpha Omega Epsilon, and a mentor in Hypatia and I still managed to have a good GPA. So without further ado I present to you my tips and tricks to getting the most of your college experience as an engineer.

Be organized

 Hopefully this one came to mind already. Color code all of your subjects. Make specific folders on your computer for the semester and the classes in it. 99% of your homework will be online so it’s important to be able to go back and find an old assignment quickly. This is how my folders are organized.

This goes for your email subjects too. My foundations group member (and now best friend) is infamous for sending out emails and files with weird names. How am I supposed to know which file is for which event? I mean just look at the emails she’s sent me.

Note how most of those emails have tags on them. This is extremely important if you want to find things easily. Most of the time random people will be emailing you and you might not remember who sent you what. You can search their email address but this way is foolproof. It also allows you to realize what is trash and what you should keep. Personally, I keep all my scholar receipts and any important updates or events that are sent to me. Everything else goes. Even with this policy I managed to rack up over 1,300 emails this year. Stay on top of your email people!

Also, go out and buy yourself a really solid planner. I know some people like google calendars and that’s fine but personally I’m more of a paper and pencil person (plus if a teacher says a deadline in class are you really about to whip out your phone in class and enter that in your calendar? I don’t think so).

In high school I would simply write assignments on the day they were assigned to me and it was super easy to stay organized. THIS IS NOT THE CASE IN COLLEGE! You’ve got 18 credits to juggle, meetings to go to, events to plan, etc. When someone gives you a date write the assignment down on the date that it’s due. When you finish that assignment cross it off on your planner. This way you don’t have to stress about forgetting something. Just look at your planner and if everything is crossed off for tomorrow then you’re in the clear. I have never missed a due date or event using this method.

Prioritize

Another reason the planner method is a personal favorite of mine is for prioritizing. Maybe you have a huge essay due Friday but what about that chem lab on Tuesday? The essay is bigger but the deadline for the lab is sooner. Do the thing that’s due sooner. Alternatively, don’t slack on an essay due in two days to do some bs homework assignment due next week. Seeing the day things are due directly on your planner should help you avoid that.

Not only is this good practice for assignments but also for events and just having fun! If you can see that the next assignment you have to do isn’t due until next week you won’t feel guilty or stress about going to a party or just hanging out with friends. However this brings me to the next topic…

Fight the FOMO (fear of missing out)!

One thing that does suck about being an engineer is being surrounded by non-engineers. Not that their classes aren’t challenging, but typically they will have much more free time than you will. It’s important to realize that it’s not you slacking off that’s creating this gap. The sooner you realize this the better off you’ll be. You simply have to work harder than them to maintain a decent GPA. Remember this when all your non-engineering friends are going out to party and you’re stuck at home studying for those dreaded Friday night physics tests. I know it’s tempting to go out but trust me, you’re not missing much. In the long run you’re going to make more money than they will… Like my mom says, “you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.”


Erase that doubt

 There will come a time when you’ll doubt if you’re really meant to be doing this major. Fight it! Remind yourself why you want to be in this field in the first place. Imagine how sucky your life would be without engineering. Drive yourself to change the world with your talents! Have confidence that you can do all of the activities you want and still get good grades. I did! Look at all of the amazing things I was able to do and still get good grades. I know you can too!


Destressers 

When things become just a little too stressful (this will happen to you at least once) you need to have a game plan. Have music or a show on the ready in case you start to get overwhelmed. Personally, I play with rubiks cubes or go for aimless walks when I begin to panic. I’ve discovered a lot of the Blacksburg area from these walks. Just give yourself a breather and come back to your work when you’re mentally ready to. Even if you waste an hour or two that’s just a small price to pay in sleep to take care of your mental health. Spring semester I went an entire month where I was lucky to get 4 hours of sleep per night. Even though it was exhausting I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. There’s nothing else I’d rather do with my life and there’s no better place than Blacksburg!

I hope some of these helped you guys and if you ever have any questions don’t be afraid to ask me! I know you guys can do it!