Message to Freshman Self

Although my journey at Rutgers is far from over, I have often looked back at where I was freshman year and where I am now. I had so many misconceptions, so many fears, so many doubts about what college is and what it is like to be an engineering student. And after some 2 and a half years, there are a lot of things I wish I could have told my freshman year self. 

  1. Get Involved. There are more than 600 clubs and organizations at Rutgers that range from Greek life to community service to the arts. This is a great way to pick up a new hobby or to continue a passion of yours from earlier on. Joining a club can end up being a second family or just a way to destress from your classes. I personally joined multiple organizations including a professional academic club, a nonprofit, and Greek Life. Be open to new opportunities, to new people, to new situations. College is a perfect place to redefine or improve on yourself, and it is important to welcome that change.

  2. You will have time. There is a common misconception that I believed as well: Engineering students do not have time. The key is to stay organized. By even making a google calendar, you come to realize how much time you might actually have. Take some time especially your first semester to figure out how you manage your time best and the rest will follow. I even found that joining different clubs or making space to go to campus events, actually made me more responsible and more motivated to study earlier on and get my work done on time. 

  3. Get to know your professors, deans, and upperclassmen. They are there to help you succeed and to help you get to where you want to be. Don’t be nervous – if you have a problem, ask them. Office hours can be very helpful, and it is a perfect way for your professor to get to know you a little bit better. I have learned that people are happy to help and love seeing people excited about learning and bettering themselves.

  4. Pay attention in Intro to Engineering. This class that you take your first semester at Rutgers is more important than you would think. This is a great way to learn about all the majors offered in the School of Engineering at Rutgers. You will learn about research opportunities, job prospects, internships, senior design projects, and more. If you are uncertain about what engineering major is right for you, this class will most certainly help. In addition to this class, many departments have open houses or major nights where students are invited to learn more about the specific major and mingle with professors. 

  5. Use the resources Rutgers provides. The Science and Engineering Resource Center (SERC) offers one-on-one tutoring sessions and student study groups for different classes. Use the libraries offered on every campus for a great study environment. Make an appointment with a dean to go over your schedule for next semester or your four-year plan. Attend events hosted by organizations like resume builder sessions. Go to company informational events. Make sure to stop by the Career Services Center in the Busch Student Center, especially in preparation for career fairs. Rutgers has many resources available for their students, and they are there to make your life easier.