What to Expect as a First Semester Engineering Student

Let me start by saying, the movies are pretty accurate at portraying college life. There are quite a few parties, dating is a thing, and dead week is apporpriately named. Well, it’s accurate for almost every major except an engineering student.

Course Load

For most majors 12 credit hours is light, 15 is normal, and 18+ is crazy. As I got talking to my friends, most of which were also engineering majors, I realized that they all had 15 or more credit hours that semester and about half of them are taking 18-20. These large loads were made up of one math, a science, a couple introductory engineering classes, an honors course for the honors students, and a class for their minor or to entirtain their curiosity on that subject.

You may be thinking that I just have overachieving friends. In most cases yes I do and I love them. But we are not alone in our course load weight. As an engineering student, you will take 15-18 credit hours a semester to finish in 4 years. This normally means little time to party and have a major social life.

Making it Fun

Now before you run away screaming, let me give you some good news. It is amazing how much people can bond over loads of homework and crazy study schedules. I have met all of my friends through classes and study groups and they are an incredible group of people. Engineering students are a smart group of people or else they wouldn’t be studying engineering. The majority of us have figured out that social lives can happen in the library over calculus homework or in a physics review session. Just because you can’t go out partying every night doesn’t;t mean you are all by yourself.

Engineering majors are not easier but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun. You will have some amazing experiences and meet some wickedly cool people your first semester. You just have to figure out what schedule and friend group works best for you. Don’t let the course work scare you off, engineering is a ton of fun and worth the work.

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