A Day in the Life of an Engineering Student

Make These the Best 4 Years of Your Life

Posted by Andy Chung on June 15th, 2020

You just woke up, eyes watering. You hear the alarm clock but you want to ignore it. Somehow you manage to glance at your phone. It reads 7:30 AM. Instantly, you jump out of bed into the first pair of clothes you can find and rush to catch the bus for your 8:00 AM lecture.

This was basically how my weekday mornings went for the past year. Engineering schedules can be tough, especially when you are taking 6-7 courses in one term. The number of hours you can spend studying a subject can be quite prolonged. However, the amount of knowledge and practical skill you can gain is astounding, and definitely worth the time and effort if you have a passion for engineering. In this week’s blog, I would like to share with you my (more or less) daily routine as an engineering student at UBC.

As soon as I get off the bus at UBC, I briskly make my way to my first lecture, where I am usually just awake enough to pay attention to the professor and write down the notes. After the lecture ends, there is a ten-minute gap to the start of the next, so I rush to Starbucks and quickly grab a coffee with a couple of friends. Two more lectures pass by until lunchtime. My friends and I split up to go buy some lunch, after which we meet at the clubroom to eat together and play a couple rounds of foosball. Lunch over, we head to one final lecture before we are let go at around 2:00 PM. On some days, I will head to the computer lab after this to complete a coding assignment, which usually takes around 2 hours.

My personal schedule for the day does not stop there, however. After class, you can usually find me at the gym, working out for around 2 hours. I head home at around 4:00 PM (6:00 PM on computer lab days) and do a little review for upcoming tests and quizzes for 2 hours before making dinner. I am the type to attempt at finishing all my homework as soon as it is assigned to avoid worrying about completing 4 or 5 different assignments simultaneously the day before they are due. This means that on days where I do not have much homework, I take some time to relax, surf the web, and go to sleep at around 11:30 PM. On days where I have heavy loads of homework, I will usually finish up and tuck in for the night at around 1:30 AM.

My weekends are a little different. On Saturdays, I usually wake up at 8:00 AM to go to the gym for 2 hours, after which I head to the building where the University’s Formula Racing team meets. I spend most of my day designing, manufacturing, and assembling the components of the car, and head home at around 8:00 PM for dinner. On Sundays, I again wake up at 8 to go to the gym, after which I try to hang out with my friends for the rest of the day. One of the reasons I chose to study at UBC was to experience Vancouver’s fantastic food, culture, and recreational activities. There are still many places I have yet to visit for food adventures, photo opportunities, and big events! If I’m not with my friends, I am usually trying to complete any homework that I did not finish during the weekday.

While I try to follow my schedule as closely as possible, there have been times where I have had to make changes. I would skip going to the gym when I needed to study for an upcoming exam or finish multiple outstanding assignments that I had yet to have a chance to do. On multiple occasions, I have had to pull all-nighters on campus to complete some big projects. I have also drifted apart from some of my friends despite my best efforts to keep in contact, simply because our busy schedules never had breaks that lined up and our online conversations became less frequent as we focused on our ever-increasing amount of assignments, tests, and projects.

I would say that my schedule is quite balanced for an engineering student. It combines a lot of efficiency in getting homework, studying, and extracurriculars done, all while leading a healthy and social lifestyle. There are several improvements that I will definitely strive to make next year—the biggest being able to prepare a decent breakfast every day. This is the most important meal of the day, and taking the time to prepare a delicious breakfast would certainly boost my focus during lectures and meetings. Even though I think it is unfortunate how some of my friendships have diminished due to factors beyond my control, I would still like to make a greater effort to try to rekindle relationships and maintain interesting conversations. I believe that sacrificing some of my homework and downtime for more sleep could be beneficial. Sleeping earlier not only means I am able to consistently achieve 8 hours of sleep but also wake up earlier and make some breakfast before class starts.

In conclusion, how you manage your time in university is a crucial determinant of your post-secondary experience. The key takeaway from this blog is to make sure you set aside enough time to not just understand the concepts taught in class, out with your friends, and above all, get some sleep! If you regularly remind yourself of these key points, you will have a wonderful time at university. I hope this article helps answer a lot of questions regarding time management. If you have any burning questions, you can reach me at [email protected].

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