I’m not sure if I ever mentioned it, but I studied Civil Engineering. My husband will be graduating this week (also in Civil Engineering) and I am so incredibly proud of his achievement because I know just how hard he worked to get to this point. So in honour of his achievement, these are 5 things I/ we have learnt from studying Engineering:
1) How to keep cool under pressure
During first year I felt as if I was drowning in the work load that hit me from every direction and it was a challenge to adjust to university fresh out of high school. I thought if I got through first year then the rest would be much simpler. Boy, was I wrong! As the years rolled by it became increasingly harder, and looking back now it all seems like a blur. Studying engineering taught me how to keep calm under pressure. Sitting through the exam with your brain almost fried because you are struggling to find a way to balance your equation, blatantly aware of the seconds ticking away, you learn to keep calm. You realise very quickly that if you freak out and start panicking, you will mess everything up.
2) The purpose of mathematics
You know in school, when you are sitting in a math class and you ask the teacher, “Where are we EVER going to use this??”. I found my answer studying Engineering. Mathematics is a language used to understand the science that explains the world around us. It gave me an understanding of how elements of the Earth react in a certain way and how it can be used to our advantage, or how it needs to be changed in order to improve the specific design. I also developed an appreciation for a calculator! When I learned the function to solve integrals and matrices, I was so happy and excited; you would have thought someone invented time travel! (Yes, I’m a nerd; and I’m proud of it!)
3) The importance of asking questions
Engineering is a field that requires one to solve problems, scientifically. But in order for you to answer any question, you need to have an idea of what the question actually is. I learnt the importance of asking questions (perhaps unnervingly so) if something does not make sense. I learnt not to accept things at face value, but to keep searching for facts that can put things into perspective for me.
4) Time management
During preparation for exams it wasn’t only about knowing and understanding the work, it was also about working efficiently with the time given to complete the test. You see, it didn’t really matter how much you knew if you couldn’t apply that knowledge in the set time. I learnt how to work smart so that I could produce my best work and meet the deadline. And now, in the professional world, I am able to manage my time effectively and get the work done that I have set for myself to complete by the end of the day.
5) Don’t give up
It is ok to fail and it is ok to make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world if this happens. During my studies I met people from all walks of life. These people persevered and pushed through no matter what, because they simply wanted to qualify themselves and better their lives. I learnt the importance of working smart, being dedicated and to never give up on the goals you have set for yourself. I learnt that sometimes getting a second chance at something is better for you because you are able to correct your mistakes and see things more clearly.
What have you learned during your studies that helps you today?