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Being in an engineering major has its highs and lows. It takes dedication, time and effort to be a successful engineering student. I am a junior in Civil Engineering and came to America to fulfill my dreams. I chose civil engineering as my major not by force but by passion. This is why no matter how hard life gets in engineering, it still keeps me going. Choosing a major that you enjoy will take you a long way in terms of success, therefore do not do it for the money.
As an international student, there are many challenges to overcome besides adjusting to a new culture and lifestyle; classroom adaptability is a big one as well. International students often have to work extra hard to adapt in class. For instance, in one civil engineering class about transportation, we talked about the transportation system here in the USA and how it differs from that in other countries. In the class, the professor expects students to be aware of the law enforcement of transportation in highways and system management, which is varied with advanced technologies. To keep up with the pace of the class, international students have to learn this to be able to fully understand the subject. American students, on the other hand, already know a lot of this because it is part of their driving test here in the USA.
For the same subject stated above, I sometimes get lost in class because I do not know the transportation rules and systems, but I met my professor and explained how the system is developing back home. The professor then understood why I was sometimes confused, and why I often asked questions both in class or during office hours. The questions sometimes seem basic or silly to other students, but the professor will explain in the way that will make the native students realize that the system works differently in other countries.
I hope that my perspective and insight help other students to understand transportation in other countries outside of the USA. For future international students, I suggest asking questions and making comparisons between the USA with other countries. This will help you understand the difference between engineering analysis solutions in many ways in different countries. This methodology could be done for any subject, because it also helps other students to be aware of issues, topics, etc. outside of the U.S.
Apart from schooling, I have some other strategies that help me survive my engineering life. The two gems I found that help me immensely are “Time Management” and “Strategic Resting.” It is very important for any college student to incorporate these practices into their daily schedule. Planning out each day and having a time table/to-do list helps me to stay on track with school. Resting is also an essential part of your life, especially when it comes to health. About 7 hours of sleep each night is what keeps me going. In addition, I also often take 20-minute power naps, which trick your body into feeling rested and keep you going during stressful times like finals. Finally, incorporate positive reinforcements once you finish your work.