Skip to main content

Top Twenty: Advice for Engineering Majors this Fall 2021

BYU offers a quality higher education that includes high expectations. With students returning to campus and in-person classes, it's easy to feel intimidated. Here are tips to help with that.

Students now roam the sidewalks of campus, going to and from classes, study groups, and all other places and activities at BYU. Assignments will soon gather together against free time and summer will drift away into the past. This may seem daunting, but do not worry, we are here to help.

We collected a diverse range of advice from engineering students, our communications staff, and the Prophet, of course. So, here is our top twenty advice for engineering majors this Fall 2021:

1. Don’t Quit Before You Start

In case the word hasn’t spread yet, engineering is hard. For those just beginning, the workload and expectations may come as a shock. Pulling up the syllabus and scrolling over the assignments for the semester, one might think it’s impossible to do the tasks ahead, let alone to do them well. But, don’t quit! Don’t let a hard class make you think this major isn’t for you! Engineering is far more than the sum of one class and the payoff of these majors is extremely rewarding.

2. Go to Class

With most classes in-person now, the “sleep in until 5 minutes before class starts” technique won’t work. The first step to success this semester starts with showing up to class and getting there on time. If you tend to arrive late, and struggle to change this, we suggest planning your travel as if your classes were scheduled for 15 minutes ahead of when they actually take place. Then, when you sit down in your seat, give yourself a pat on the back. You accomplished a critical task: you went to class.

3. Start Assignments Early & Avoid All-Nighters

Those long-listed syllabuses may look like the enemy, but when it comes to planning ahead, they may become your best friend. Take the time to prioritize assignments and begin them earlier than you may think you need to. As common as all-nighters and cramming may be, they often lead to tired eyes, worse grades, and mounds of stress. Trust us, it’s not worth it. Help yourself avoid all of that and stop procrastinating. You can do it!

4. Don’t Overdo It

While some students put off assignments, other students put on too much workload. Some think they need to sign up for a high number of credits, be a member of multiple clubs and organizations, conduct research, and get straight A’s, all on top of whatever responsibilities command attention outside of school. We have good news: you don't need to do all of this to achieve positive outcomes. In fact, overloading yourself actually leads to negative outcomes. If you find that you’re always rushing throughout the day, having frequent all-nighters, and are constantly stressed because of the overwhelming amount of things you have to do, stop doing so much. Drop a class. Choose one club. Wait to do research until it's feasible. It will all work out in the end.

5. Let Others Help!

Once you’ve shown up to class and figured out a balanced schedule, you can now use other resources to improve your education experience. BYU faculty offer TA hours and office hours to assist their students in understanding coursework material and overcoming difficulties encountered in class. In addition, we encourage all students to be proactive and find or form a study group! It may be awkward to reach out to unknown peers at first, but most students want better grades and will take any honest help they can get.

6. Serve others

With school and work, amidst other responsibilities, there's a large range of students in need of service. Yet, often, we get so caught up in all of our needs, we neglect or forget to help those around us. Reach out to your peers and see how you can help. Instead of avoiding eye contact, smile at others on campus. Make or buy someone a treat. Help with homework, whether it's tutoring or moral support. There's many options. You can go to Y-Serve to find other service opportunities in the community.

7. Believe in Yourself

A little confidence can go a long way. It might seem intimidating to enter the engineering building and find masses of students working on projects and assignments. You might think “everyone knows so much more than me” or “I could never do that.” And you’re probably not the only student thinking these things. Most of us have moments of insecurity, it’s natural. But, when that happens, retaliate with positivity! Think, “This is school. What I learn is more important than what I know beforehand” or “I can’t do this yet, but that’s why I’m here! I will do this one day.”

8. Your Grades Don’t Determine Your Worth

After all the effort's given, sometimes things don’t work out. Maybe you wanted an “A” on an assignment and instead have a “B.” Maybe instead of a “B” you slipped up and have a “C.” While results like these can be disappointing, they do not determine your worth. You are a child of God. Your worth is already determined, and it is grand. The best we can do when we get disappointing outcomes is to remember this and move forward.

9. Take Care of Yourself

As students focus on schoolwork, taking time for themselves can get overlooked. Nothing is more important than this grade or that project, right? Wrong. You are more important. That doesn’t mean to toss out all responsibility and effort towards school matters. Instead, designate a period of time where you allow yourself a reprieve. Maybe you have time to see a friend, go for a walk, or eat your favorite snack. Whether fifteen minutes or an hour works for your schedule, commit to that time of reprieve, and then don’t forget it and don’t go over it.

10. From President Russel M. Nelson. . .

In the October 1992 General Conference, then-Elder Nelson spoke about education in his talk Where is Wisdom? He said, “Opportunities and abilities differ. I believe that in the pursuit of education, individual desire is more influential than institution, and personal faith more forceful than faculty … My counsel then—and now—is to continue your education wherever you are, whatever your interest and opportunity, however you determine you can best serve your family and society.”

Ten More Quick Tips

The above tips will assist all engineering majors in their work this fall. Because of the importance of this advice, we didn’t want to skim over it lightly. However, we also know many of you may have an assignment or class to get to, so we made these last ten tips quick and easy to read.

11. Take Advantage of Tuesday Devotionals

Every Tuesday you can attend, watch, or listen to an uplifting talk at 11am. How empowering! If you miss it, you can read it afterwards.

12. Check Out the Library

There are many resources aside from books in the Harold B. Lee Library. Go and take a look around! A librarian can help inform you of its assets.

13. Take Notes in Class

Not all information can be found online or in textbooks. While each professor teaches differently, and will inform you of what to expect, we recommend taking notes unless instructed otherwise.

14. Plan Ahead

Whether you use a phone calendar or a physical planner, make a consistent schedule. Knowing what to expect can lower levels of stress.

15. Save Your Money

While there are various foods, clothes, and other exciting items to spend money on, try to keep expenditures on the necessities.

16. Eat a Healthy Meal

As stated, there are many good food options on campus. However, eating out every day takes a toll on the body. Plan a day or two where you pack a meal from home–your body will thank you.

17. Go Outside

It’s easy to get cooped up inside classes, buildings, or your house. Take time to sit or walk outside. Fresh air can help the brain function.

18. Join a Club or Organization

As previously mentioned, it’s not necessary to join every engineering club or organization, but finding one that suits you can immensely improve the BYU experience. Experiment with a few clubs and organizations before settling on one. Learn some of the options here.

19. Go to Social, Sport, & other BYU Events

The college experience is incomplete without attending a BYU event! We encourage all to join our cougar fans in cheering on teams and joining together at other fun events.

20. Enjoy a Day of Rest

Straight work for seven days a week is exhausting. Even the Lord chose to rest, and He is a God. Take time to put homework aside and relax. In the long- and short-term, it’s worth it.