Beating the Odds: Top 3 Tips For Chemical Engineering Undergrads
Chemical engineering can be thought of as one of the toughest majors to finish in the world. According to prepscholar, the time spent preparing for class per week (cpw) is 19.66 hours for chemical engineering. Only architecture had a higher cpw and ranked highest in that category.
Right now at the University of Arizona, I have 18 units and two jobs working a total of 19 hours a week including research. I am taking two math classes as well. I think it is fair to assume that I have no social life whatsoever, but I usually manage to make time for my friends and even work out five days a week for a couple of hours.
How to manage college responsibilities
College is all about time management. The key to time management is calculation. For example, I like to calculate my total credit hours, add that to other obligatory hours I must spend such as taking clothes out of the dryer, washing the dishes, my hours at work, etc., and then subtract this sum from the total number of hours in a week and get the number of hours available for my degree.
How to prioritize
The most important advice I can give to a first-year student right now is to get ahead of schedule as much as you can and learn how to prioritize. In chemical engineering, it is always a good idea to start working on homework as early as possible. The lectures are most likely to be recorded so they should be skimmed through over the weekends to brush up on material taught in class. This practice not only re-enforces what was taught over the week but also saves A LOT of prep time before exams.
How to use your time
The weekends are extremely useful if applied properly. It is over the weekend when one can truly get ahead. Get all the pre-lecture quizzes done. Get started on all the homework that is due throughout the upcoming week and maybe even finish a few. Chemical engineering is no exception. It is a lot of new information to learn in a very short amount of time. This brevity of time becomes apparent when you sit down to finish homework but cannot do so without revisiting the lectures multiple times and sometimes ending up emailing your professor or TA.
The professors we have at the University of Arizona will not only teach you chemical engineering but also how to succeed at it. The ways and methods of solving problems you have never seen before are planted firmly in the heads of the students and all they have to do is apply themselves accordingly.
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