The most significant thing I wish I knew before starting college is that it would have been 100% OK to start in community college and then transition to a BS degree program. In my circles, community college was looked down upon for no good reason so I never seriously considered it. In hindsight, it would have been an excellent choice for me to gain some maturity before spending so much money at college.
Do not just focusing on getting A+. Networking and socializing more, knowing the right people might be just as important for your future career :)
A lesson I learned during and after college was that everyone got into engineering for different reasons, and everyone was going to go a different direction after graduation as well.
It took a while for me to escape imposter syndrome, and feel like I was really one of the engineering students. I had a lot of hobbies and interests which (in the beginning) didn't seem to match those of my peers, and non-technical classes had always come to me more naturally than technical ones. My perspective on this changed through my time in school as I met more and more people who didn't fit the "traditional engineer" stereotype. And naturally, by the time we finished school together, everyone had a different idea about where they wanted their path to go next. Some of my friends even decided that they didn't want to directly use their degrees. And all of that is okay!
Great question! For me, I wish I knew what free services were offered at the campus (e.g. student counseling and health clinic), what career services were offered through the engineering program and what student life looked like through the eyes of a current student.
Read the syllabus and plot a strategy for each course. Some professors reward you for being in class every day. Some do not penalize for late work. I don't do well on exams, but I do really well on homework and lab assignments. It takes pressure off uour exam performance if you do well in everything else.
And show up! To class, guest speakers, professors' office hours. That is where a lot of real learning happens, and a lot of the fun!
I really can't wait to see this event, it's going to be awesome.
As for me the one thing that I wish I knew before college is that no matter how tough it gets you have to push through and give it your all, in other words how to cope with stress and not let it in you but let it strengthen you!
Great question Danielle!
One thing I wish I knew before college is to utilize your college academic advisor. They can be a great resource for students who may not know specifically what major they are interested in. Especially in engineering, there can be several majors that seem very similar on paper, but are quite different in practice. An academic advisor can help provide you with some background information, and put you in contact with professors to answer any technical questions you may have. This can help save a lot of time (and stressing) in helping decide what major may be the best fit for you.
Oh where to begin!