A mishmash of things learned at university – OurWarwick

A mishmash of things learned at university

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Harriet Waldron | Mechanical Engineering Contact Harriet
Anything about anything! Feel free to ask me any questions…
Find out more about me Contact Harriet

Here are some random lists of things that I now know, from my time doing engineering at university. It’s a real mishmash between the degree and general life, and it’s written in a slightly brutal way 🙂 Hopefully some of it will be useful for prospective students – but it’s list that I’m making as much for myself as anyone else, to come back to.

  • On MS Teams group projects, turn your camera on and try and persuade everyone else to do the same – yes, it’s fine, you all look ugly. But you can work together better if you can see each other.
  • Write the abstract in present tense – except when talking about specific results, in which case use past tense. Always include results in the abstract.
  • An executive summary is a glorified abstract – just longer.
  • Don’t underestimate how long it takes to write that dissertation.
  • Don’t waste your life re-writing out colourful lecture notes. Just annotate the slides – they’re more interesting to look at than your rainbow-coloured bullet points, anyway.
  • Flash cards are a waste of your life. Don’t do them ever again.
  • If you don’t get it, no one else does, either. They’re just too scared to say it.
  • Ask the lecturer when you get stuck – they (usually) love to talk about their subject.
    • If they don’t help – and every other student is also stuck, complain to the School.
  • MS Word’s referencing thing is directly sent from heaven to do all your references for you.
  • Don’t reference YouTube videos. It’s criminal.
  • Your housemates doing any arts subjects will appear to have loads of free time, and complain when they have a single essay due. Consider buying a blood pressure monitor to keep yourself safe.
  • Don’t forget to water your plants. Killing a cactus can also kill your self esteem about any illusion you had about being a responsible adult.
  • Get involved in more than just your degree – it’s good for a life outside engineering, and it’s a bonus if it can be added to that CV.
  • Learn not to freak out when being presented with something new and visually horrendous in a module (yes, expanded Navier-Stokes equation, I’m looking at you). You can learn it – and you will.
  • Make use of the wellbeing services! They’re brilliant, professional and free.
  • Learn how to learn, efficiently. No sitting there, mulling about. Proper cramming sessions, and then a break away from the desk.
  • OneNote is the best note-taking software.
  • Don’t structure module section notes by week – you won’t remember what week you did what.
  • Write a page and a half of paragraphs to put in your covering letter. Then lift out the relevant paragraphs for each role you apply for.
  • Keep that CV up to date.
  • Apply for placements starting from July the previous year, all the way through to February. Keep checking Gradcracker, RateMyPlacement, and the websites of companies you are interested in.
  • Don’t get disheartened when (not if) you get rejected from placements. You only need one to accept you
  • If you think you’re not going to get accepted onto any placement, that’s okay. You’re not a failure. It’s just really, really hard.
  • But do make use of the Warwick Careers advice service.
  • Don’t agonise over the perfect wording when writing for an assignment or a report. Get the thought down, then tweak the sentence.
  • For that dissertation, everyone’s first draft is a bit rubbish, including yours. But, no matter, time to tweak it.
  • Structure the dissertation before you write it.
  • If you leave a tradescantia on your desk with no water for four weeks, it will probably survive.
  • Dedicate one person in your household to be the insect-catcher. Their job is to humanely remove all of the wasps, spiders, and random bugs that appear.
  • Canley is the most convenient place to live off-campus (okay I might be biased).
  • Don’t rent out a room that has a boiler in it.
  • Rent a house with all bills included.
  • Let everyone borrow your stuff. Then you can borrow theirs, too.
  • If you have a social media addiction, try to get rid of it in first year, while you still have time to waste.
  • Sunlight is good for your skin.
  • Chocolate is bad for your skin.
  • Get comfortable with getting the bus and train, if you weren’t before university.
  • Enjoy sticking your tongue out at annoying people behind the cover of your face mask.

Photo by T.J. Breshears on Unsplash

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Harriet Waldron | Mechanical Engineering Contact Harriet
Anything about anything! Feel free to ask me any questions…
Find out more about me Contact Harriet

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