A Day in a Life of an International Manufacturing Engineering Technology Student

A Day in a Life of an International Manufacturing Engineering Technology Student

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By Jacqueline Asplund

Jacqueline Asplund is a third-year undergraduate student at Minnesota State University Mankato and has studied there since August 2018. She transferred from a U.S. college in California to finish her bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology. Her days as an engineering student involve a lot of studying but also other projects and on-campus work. 

No day is another day alike, even though I follow a schedule every day in and out, even on the weekends. But you never know what or where the day will end. It might end as late night in the library, out in one of the bars with a group of friends, or just early in bed. Or who am I fooling? Early in bed, that does not exist in an engineering student life. I do believe all students feel this way, and that is the enjoyment in student life even though it stresses you sometimes. Today is Thursday and I am going to do my best to bring you all along.

7:00 AM 

The alarm goes on. Every morning I want to turn it off and stay in bed. Just a bit longer at least. But no, today is Thursday and a new day with new opportunities. I start with getting ready. I always make sure to do my makeup — for me, this is a way to start the first project of the day, a simple task which I also think is fun and that makes me feel good. After this I make myself a big coffee — I cannot go anywhere without that morning coffee. When I have my coffee, I run to the bus (note “run” since I am almost always late to it). 

8:00 AM 

Before my classes start on Thursdays I have my morning office hours as a Maverick Global Ambassador. During these morning hours, we record virtual sessions that we livestream on Facebook and later update on YouTube. You might have seen me there talking about different topics such as transfer and steps to complete your application. Oh, wait, if you want to know more about us Maverick Global Ambassadors or have any questions about Minnesota State University Mankato. Please check on our webpage to get in contact with us or read more about it. We as Maverick Global Ambassadors are here to guide you and tell you our experiences here at Minnesota State University Mankato, and we always like to chat with all of you and want to see you on our campus in the future. 

I have my first class of the day, manufacturing automation, and I love this course! It is a class that involves CNC programming, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), flexible automation, machining centers, robotics, programmable logic controllers, and tooling systems. It includes lectures but also a lot of lab time where we experience and learn the course material with hands-on. And the professor, Sealy Winston, is also my academic advisor, which I am lucky to have since he is a super nice and fun professor. 

1:00 PM 

Ugh, that is a long class! But let’s go to the next one, lean manufacturing with professor Petersen. In this course, we learn about the basics of lean manufacturing in industry, with an emphasis on the application of concepts. We learn the principles of lean manufacturing and how they can benefit a business. This is one of the things I find most interesting in my major. I am an organization freak, and what is then better than a subject with engineering and planning and organization?!

2:15 PM

Finally time for my lunch break. At Minnesota State University, we have a lot of different alternatives for food. We have everything from Taco Bell to Chick-Fil-A, and a sandwich place called Erbert & Gebert's, as some examples. My favorite place is called Massad’s, which serves Mediterranean food, where I usually have a salad with chicken and a lot of hummus. During my lunch break, I try to hang with my friends or go through class notes or do homework. All the time you can find for school is important!

3:30 PM 

Time for the last class of the day, ergonomics and work measurements. It is the afternoon after a long busy day at school. In this class, we investigate work design in automated and manual operations. Measurement and development of design-based solutions for the reduction of environmental stresses to the human body through worker-machine systems analysis are applied. Regulatory, legal, and ethical issues are reviewed in the context of global manufacturing applications. These are subjects you might take for granted but are important if you will be a manufacturing engineer in the future for the work environment. This is also material you will be able to bring into your everyday life! 

5:00 PM

Only a few more hours at school, now time to work. I work at the university’s dining hall as a student supervisor. International students are only allowed to do on-campus work because of their visa status. We have a few alternatives at school and most of them get posted on Handshake,, where you can read more about it. My job is super fun but also always very busy. My responsibilities here is to make sure employees are doing their job but most important that customers and co-workers are happy with the service they get or give. I want everyone to feel satisfied and want to help and inspire as much as possible.

10:00 PM

Time to check out from work and school, and time to go home and prepare for my Friday morning. Some Thursday nights I take the opportunity to hang with some friends at $1 beers at Rounders, but if reality calls, I am usually finishing up some schoolwork or MGA work and then call it night. Gasp, I am tired, and I cannot wait to get back in bed. Thanks for following along with me today. Goodnight!