Michael (Year 4)
What did you wish you knew before going to your university? What made you choose this institution over all others? What are advantages and disadvantages of your institution or campus? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your university.
To be completely honest, I chose Waterloo for their reputation that they had within STEM programs and their "world-class" co-op programs! I would advise all incoming students to IMPROVE THEIR TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS. I got through high school without doing much work, but everything changes once you're in university. Try and spend your time in high school figuring out what study methods work for YOU, and how you can manage your time.
What did you wish you knew before choosing your specific program? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your program? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your program of study.
I wish I knew that despite its reputation for co-op getting quality work experience, relevant co-op in Chemical engineering is quite difficult. I would suggest working on your resume and being open to opportunities in remote or further areas. Additionally, this isn't specific to my program, but it is important to know that chemical engineering isn't purely chemistry, and involves a fair amount of bio, physics and MATH.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best university experience is meeting new people in the same industry as me, and knowing I wasn't alone in the process!
What was your least favourite university experience?
Midterms and Exams - again, it is nothing like high school, but is doable after you figure out how to manage your time. The first year exams were by far the hardest academic experience of my life, but now they have become quite comfortable.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
As mentioned above, time management is crucial. The academic nature of the program is manageable but will become overwhelming if you don't manage your time. Personally, I just experimented with different methods and realized that simply listing my goals helped me far better than having a strict schedule. Everyone I've worked with is extremely cooperative, and you never really deal with people who slack off in assignments, as everyone tries to bring their A-game. Finally, don't study for exams in groups. I know it sounds great, but you will usually get distracted and would have been much more productive otherwise.
If you were able to take electives, what was your favourite elective? If you were not able to take electives, what was your favourite course and why?
CHE 200: Equilibrium Stage Operations - An important Class that hardens your foundations of chemical engineering. Love the way the course is taught, as it is interesting, and is a relatively easier course.