As it is well-known, civil engineering is one of those subjects that few students choose to pursue in their higher education.
Its reputation for being a "big brains" subject is partially right but, according to me, the best quality or skill that can help someone get through this course is "perseverance".
Why? Because many times, the challenges can be daunting and make you feel like giving up but keeping your head up high will get you there because, in the end, you have a brain too. So, you can make it!
On a normal day, I would wake up and get ready for my lectures. Some of them are quite long and intense, some others are lighter and more fun, but attending all of them is a key to fast progression.
After class, a break is crucial for not being too overwhelmed with content and schoolwork. Eating well, resting well then carrying on with my tasks in the library or studying from home to make sure I stay on the page and complete every pending work.
For an Engineering student, busy days are a lifestyle, especially when it comes to coursework and workloads. Hence, scheduling my programmes, following them the best way I can, and restarting the next day from where I left or failed is crucial. It is very important to have a good balance between all those tasks and your personal activities with family, friends, work, church or elsewhere.
In fact, Civil Engineering demands much focus, but focusing too much on the same thing may tire the brain and the body; this is why I also get involved in different activities outside of the university. Sports, meditation, and prayer, contributing to helping the needy, and encouraging a sad friend are some of the activities I do regularly that keep me going at a reasonable and stress-free pace.
Participating in extracurricular activities at university is also part of some of my days as it helps me learn, even more, view my course from a different angle and gain much information about different opportunities.
Reminding myself of my short and long-term goals is equally one of the keys that help me to be on track and feel less overloaded with my responsibilities. It is important to know and remind yourself every day of where you are going and what you want to become. Picturing myself in that dream job helps me persevere and know I am doing all I do for a purpose.
Group study is inevitably part of this lifestyle as it helps me to learn from others and share my own skills. It also introduces me to different amazing people of which some become friends for life! And it's a good way of pouring out all that stress because we are stronger together.
At the end of the day, self-reflection, and prayer (since I'm a believer), help me gain the strength I need for the rest of the journey. Keeping my eyes fixed on the objective, weighing my achievements over my misses, targeting improvement, and most importantly, never giving up is my everyday goal because hard work always pays!
I hope you enjoy your journey as a future Civil Engineer. It is worth the fight!
Raissa N. Kanda
Raissa studies at ARU in Chelmsford. Find out more about Civil Engineering, and other degree courses, at one of our Open Days.