Ready to start engineering?
It’s welcome week – so, hello to all the freshers coming to Warwick for the first time! This post is for the new engineers.
The pace of first year
The pace of work will be fairly intense – it’s quite easy to get behind. First term is about 10 weeks, and four modules are crammed into it. In my experience, after January exams, that’s the end of those modules, and you’ll start a-fresh with four new ones. You’ll probably be told by lecturers that first term is way easier than second term, which is sort of true (module wise) but don’t be put off if you are finding first term difficult. It takes a while to get into the swing of things! And also, you have to contend with getting used to cooking, living independently, trying out new societies and going out, so making time for studying is a bit difficult, right?
In first year, you get to do general engineering, so you’ll be in a large cohort. In my experience, first year was comprised of mostly lectures and labs, and occasionally (but pretty rarely) I had seminars. Hopefully, if things turn back to normal, seminars will be in person again.
I really recommend keeping up to date with lectures and seminars! The problem is, once you get behind, any new material that you try to understand won’t make any sense because it will build upon the stuff from the last lecture. There aren’t any people keeping registers or checking on your attendance for lectures, so it’s up to your own discretion to turn up to them. In my experience, labs and seminars have attendance taken (so if you don’t turn up, they’ll know).
Side note, lecturers sometimes say things like ‘oh, this topic really easy’, or ‘this question is simple and won’t take long at all’, but in my opinion, take these comments with a pinch of salt. Lecturers are experts in their field and can sometimes forget that a topic isn’t easy to someone who is learning it new for the first time.
Your first lab report and assignments in general
You’ll soon have your first assignments and lab reports set and due. This can seem pretty daunting for the first few assignments, but don’t worry, lecturers and the department do recognise that this is your first time being set these kind of tasks.
Don’t panic if the mark isn’t what you wanted. If you’re the kind of student to wonder about Warwick enough to read student blog posts, you’re probably a hard worker anyway, so you’ll probably spend a lot of time on your assignments and first reports. Even so, don’t worry if you don’t get the mark you were hoping for – just make sure you read the feedback (and ask for more feedback if you don’t understand the mark you get)! There’s a reason that first year doesn’t count!
Do other stuff
Join engineering teams and societies if you can – there are loads of things to get involved in, from Warwick Moto to Engsoc.
I’m an advocate for joining other societies that are nothing to do with engineering. That way you’ll be around completely different people, which can help to create a healthy life balance of engineering versus non-engineering activities.