As a quick introduction, I’m Devanshi, going into my third year in Software Engineering at Western University. I was pretty unsure about what engineering stream I wanted to go into coming out of high school but after my first year, I know I made the best decision for me which is Software Engineering.
Moving out and going into university is very exciting for everyone to look forward to. This transition is hard but will bring you so much joy since it is a new chapter in your life. When I first started school at Western University in Engineering, I loved it but as the days went by it did get hard. Some ways to make your transition easier and life better is by making friends, joining clubs, and getting to know your professors.
I lived in residence my first year and on the engineering floor for that matter, so making friends was easy for me. Everyone is super nice and kind during your orientation week so definitely take advantage of that and make some friends that are similar to you. If you do not live on an engineering floor, try making friends in your classes as that will make your life much easier. Having people in your classes that you know will benefit you in many ways because you have friends to study with, share notes, and overall motivate you to keep pushing through this program. Without a good support system, Engineering is difficult and you may not want to continue within this program.
In terms of courses these were the mandatory ones that all first year students had to take:
Numerical and Mathematical Methods 1411 A/B: This was a pretty easy course about linear algebra which as long as you stayed on top of your work, mainly everyone did very well in this.
Numerical and Mathematical Methods 1412 A: This course was mainly a review from high school calculus so as long as you understand everything, it should be pretty easy.
Numerical and Mathematical Methods 1414 B: This is another calculus course that you will take in the second semester. It is much harder than the first semester so try to always go to class and stay on top of the homework.
BUS 1299 E: This is an introduction to business class, I personally loved it and taught you a ton of basics.
Chem 1302 A/B: This class was also a review from high school which is great because it’s one less class to worry about.
Engineering Science 1021 A/B: I found this class to be difficult mainly because I didn’t have the best prof, however if you go to office hours and try to understand the topics, the tests shouldn’t be that bad.
Engineering Science 1022 Y: This is a pretty interesting statics class and the profs are great. However, the midterms and finals are hard for this so always ask questions in your tutorials.
Engineering Science 1036 A/B: Personally this was one of my favourite classes because it’s a programming class. The prof was great and taught very well.
Engineering Science 1050: This is a design class where you have to build projects, and shouldn't be too hard to do well in.
Phys 1401 A/B: A lot of first semester physics was a review from high school, however the tests are very hard to do well in, so don’t stress too much about the grades since they always get curved.
Phys 1402 A/B: This is a very hard class so always go to class for this, even though it's in the mornings. This is another class where the grades will most likely get curved so try your best.
As you can see there are plenty of mandatory courses you will have to take in your first year and have no space for any electives, however as you specialize in second year there is more space for electives then so it will be worth it. I’ve attached two pictures as to how your schedules will look in the first semester and second semester.
During your first couple weeks at school, there will be a week for clubs where all of them will have boards up of what they are about. I encourage you to go to this and find a club that interests you. At first, I did not realize how important it is to get involved in the school and meet new people. Being a part of these clubs will help you network and put more extracurriculars on your resume that will help you with future internships. I joined Women in Technology Society (WITS) and Western Engineering Concrete Canoe Association (WECCA) where I met many people who were similar to me and what I liked. WITS was a club I loved because it was mainly about tech and business which are two industries I am very passionate about. They host great events and you are a part of a wonderful community. WECCA is a club that I joined for fun, they build a concrete canoe that you are able to race at the end of the year. Both of these clubs were great because I made many new friends that I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t join these clubs.
Lastly, you should try going to all of your classes and meeting your professors in office hours whenever you need help. At first, I was scared to approach them and ask for help because it seemed that everyone around me knew what everything meant, but turns out you’re all in the same boat and they are also afraid to ask for help. Going to these office hours helps make those personal connections with professors which shows that you are there to learn. They are more likely to free up their time with students that are willing to ask for help.
Overall, university is a great time, especially your first year in Engineering! Even though it may get hard, there are perks to it like enjoying your time with friends. Don’t be less motivated after getting your first bad grade, just keep pushing through it and it will all be worth it in the end.
Software Engineering @ Western University
Campus Ambassador @ LEAP Canada
About the Author
Devanshi has been with LEAP since 2020 as a Campus Ambassador. Her main goal is to help students with their initial transition into university as it can be very intimidating and difficult. As an ambassador she aims to make sure all students going into university feel comfortable and are able to ask for help.