Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post by Kettering senior Jessica Bruce, who is from Flint, MI and is majoring in Industrial Engineering, will occasionally post her thoughts about her Kettering student experiences on Life at Kettering. If you’d like to write a guest blog post, e-mail jmurphy(at)kettering(dot)edu. Jessica’s other posts: Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3 | Post 4
Huh, its 6th week already? Seems like the time flies faster and faster the more terms I have under my belt. Only 5 weeks left of work term and then I get to finally, finally, begin my senior year at Kettering. If all goes as planned I’ll be finished with classes at the end of Summer 2015. It’s crazy to think that I’ll be taking classes as a senior in just 2 months, it seemed just yesterday that I was hauling all of my stuff up the stairs into Thompson Hall and getting ready for orientation.
I even officially started the testing process for my thesis project this week. It’s exciting and I can’t wait to get the chance to write once I’m all done with it at the end of the term. Actually testing parts for my thesis is like a quantifiable beginning to the end of my time as an undergrad. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (the light being graduation that is ) and it’s a big motivator.
Now if someone sat me down and asked me to give advice to freshman, something I was asked recently, I would definitely have a few things to say. But just because I give the advice, doesn’t mean it’s the bee’s knees, I’m not an authority on the subject of college life, I just think it’s nice to be able to share. College isn’t as scary as it’s made out to be.
1. Make friends, with everyone if you can.
Now, okay. I know everyone tells incoming freshman this, but it’s no joke. Having a network of friends to lean on during finals, or when your computer’s hard drive crashes and you’re not a CS or CE and have not the slightest clue how to fix it, is important. Be friends with Greeks, even if you aren’t a Greek yourself. They are some of the most awesome people, and they are in the same boat as you, except they have a built in support base. Plus they have a great system of cribs and electronic books that come in really handy in a pinch. \
But the main lesson here is that if you have more friends, you’ll feel less alone and less of an outcast. Sure have a few super close/ best friends (who might not even go to your school), but college is a busy time and they get busy too. One of my favorite things is introducing myself to a student on campus and talking with them. Best ice-breaker at Kettering: “What’s your major?” which is guaranteed at least 3 or 4 sentences of conversation and more if you follow up with why they chose that major. Hobbies are a good second topic choice.
2. Don’t procrastinate.
Ever. Just don’t.
It might be tempting, to go out and see a movie, or hang with friends, but those 5 pages of homework or that CAD project that’s due in 4 weeks will still be there. Especially when it’s the night before its due, nothing’s done and now you’re in panic mode. See, procrastination is bad. Most professors give a syllabus that has all the assignments on it. Plan out when you should have larger assignments done by, giving yourself a few days before it’s due to show it to peers and review it. Studying for big tests goes the same way. Plan out when and what to study. Make a review topic sheet, hunt for cribs, talk with classmates, and talk with students who took that class from the professor in the past.
3. Get to know your professors.
They are the ones teaching you and grading your papers and tests. Don’t be afraid to talk to them and ask questions. They get paid to help the students. Plus some professors can just be plain cool to talk to and some might even share hobbies with you. At some point everyone at Kettering is connected with engineering, and it brings about an interesting community.
4. Take care of yourself.
Doing your best impression of an infected from Left 4 Dead won’t do you any good, especially if it’s not on purpose. Sleep (recommended at least 7 hours a day), eat good food (don’t live on ramen, cereal and Mountain Dew), exercise (even just going for a walk around campus, or for a swim in the Rec Center helps clear your mind), and relax. The relax one is important. As long as you don’t have anything pressing due, at least once a week take about a 4-hour chunk of time just for yourself (so typically…alone), set an alarm, and do whatever it is you want; read, nap, play video games, draw, shop, play music, watch Netflix, etc. It’s like a reset for your brain. In order to be at the top of you game, you need to be healthy, relaxed and raring to go. Getting obsessed with homework and grades won’t do you any good. Remember that grade is not a direct definition of your self-worth.
5. Follow your heart and remember life has a funny way of working itself out.
I have questioned my logic behind attending Kettering multiple times. And that’s normal. It’s part of human nature to question oneself. But you also have to have faith in your ability to rise above any challenges you face. What happens after graduation is anybody’s guess. Be open to new things and change and life might surprise you. Having a set in stone plan after graduation isn’t always the best idea. Have goals instead. Having a game plan, with every step laid out is just begging for disappointment. Goals however give you a great sense of achievement and accomplishment. Instead of having your heart set on one certain job or thing, be open to a job or item that might be a little different, but you’ll enjoy more and be happier in the long run.