Tommy (Year 2)
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.
Queen's was my first choice university when applying. I knew I wanted to attend Queen's after I visited it for the first time. The campus is absolutely beautiful and the perfect size, not too big and not to small. Being on the lake is also a huge perk as the pier and the beach are extremely popular when the weather is warm. Although, the campuses proximity to the water does make for some strong winds and very cold winter weather. As well, the social life at Queen's is excellent and everyone you meet is super friendly. The buildings are both old and new which gives the campus character but also provides excellent up to date facilities for students. The ARC is massive and the gym facilities are very nice. If you are at all considering Queen's as one of your choices I strongly recommend visiting the campus as in my opinion it is one of the nicest in Canada.
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.
Queen's engineering is such an amazing program and lived up to all of my expectations. The engineering culture is awesome and extremely welcoming to anyone. Frosh week and the many other engineering events are not to miss, and make it extremely easy to meet new people and make friends. I also loved having a general first year as it gives you an opportunity to truly see what each discipline is all about and make an informed decision for your next 3 years. Also, although the workload in engineering is significant, I would strongly recommend getting involved in clubs or design teams as Queen's offers so so many opportunities to engineering students. The program does require you to stay on top of schoolwork and is quite a bit more challenging than high school, however there are truly so many resources available to students and if you manage your time properly you will have plenty of time for social activities.
What was your favourite university experience?
Frosh week was far and away my favourite experience at Queen's. It is such a great way to meet people and really makes you feel a part of the program and the school. Seeing so many people with crazy spiky hair and their bodies dyed entirely purple is strange at first, but it quickly becomes hilarious and so entertaining. I can honestly say it was one of the most fun times I have ever had in my life.
What was your least favourite university experience?
My worst experience at Queen's was the first round of midterms in semester one. It can really sneak up on you as once they start they don't seem to stop until finals and it can be a very stressful time. I strongly recommend staying on top of all of the school work on a weekly basis and making sure you don't fall behind. Midterms can be very demanding especially if you are not up to date with your work.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
The hardest part of Queen's engineering is keeping up to date with the workload. It is quite a significant increase in work compared to high school and can be very intimidating at times. I found having a calendar and writing out all due dates and other events to be very helpful. Also make sure to use all of the resources that are available to engineering students such as Englinks, CourseCram, or your FREC's from frosh week. Most students are also more than willing to give you a hand or help you understand something, and of course all of the professors host office hours if you are struggling with material.
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?
My favourite course in first year was linear algebra (APSC 174). Although it has a reputation for being one of the hardest courses in first year, I found it extremely interesting and anyone who enjoys mathematics will likely agree. It is a very theoretical course and many of the concepts are difficult to wrap your head around, but it is very possible to do well and there are tons of resources available if you are struggling.
I would not recommend buying any textbooks. I purchased most of the suggested textbooks in first semester and never even opened them once. That being said I do suggest buying the workbooks that certain courses have (APSC 111,112,172,132,etc.)