Support Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

When I was coming into Rutgers, I was fortunate enough to have a lot of my friends from high school attend the same university as me. We would hang out together and have a lot of fun during our first semester. However, I was the only engineering major in my friend group, so naturally, they wouldn’t be of much help and I would get drowned out in conversations whenever I brought up any engineering related topics. I never really had someone to help me with my career and studies so I figured I would try my best to find a mentor or group of students who could guide me.

I tried to be as outgoing as possible and converse with classmates outside of the classroom. One of them introduced me to a student organization called  Society of Hispanic Engineers(SHE). I decided to go to one of their meetings, and ever since that first encounter they’ve been a great group of people to be around with, have helped me learn a lot about engineering, and I’ve even met some of my best friends through this community. I never thought I’d join a Latina-centered organization, but life works in mysterious ways. 

There are many other ways to find a support group. During the Rutgers Involvement Fair, which takes place early in the semester, you can talk to and sign up for a plethora of clubs and see which ones pique your interest. Joining clubs is a great way to find a group of people that will not only be your friends but your support system throughout college.

Also, try to go to as many student events as possible! At the beginning of the fall semester, Rutgers always hosts activities for incoming students to network and meet new people. I met a lot of new people at these events, and even though they weren’t engineering students, I found some amazing friends outside of my department and program.

Your support group doesn’t have to only consist of students; the faculty in your department can also be a great resource. They are extremely knowledgeable in their field and are always willing to help. You can talk to them about your studies, your post-graduate goals, your academic career, and more. They’ve been in your shoes before and understand what it is like. Overall, Rutgers has many opportunities to find a great support system to make your college years more rewarding. 

-Memphis ECE ’22