By Grace Kamara, Civil Engineering Graduate & Graduate Engineer at Yondr.
If you desire to study a BEng Civil Engineering Degree course or related, these tips will help you make the most of the course! As a young woman myself who has recently graduated from the course, I understand the struggles or difficulties that new undergraduate students may face, so to prepare you ahead of entering university here’s my top 4 tips to you to keep you prepared!
Tip 1: Mentorship
This will be your saving grace when wanting to pursue any career path! Mentorship guides you as you make career decisions to gain experience, knowledge and connections.
This aided my decision to study Civil Engineering as I originally wanted to study Aerospace Engineering, but through mentorship I was able to think about what really interested me about engineering and how it will benefit me in the future in terms of its relevance in society. Mentorship also helped to advise me on a good university to attend for my course, extra-curricular activities, internships, placements and so forth.
You would then be thinking ‘how do I get a mentor?’
Well, I literally messaged one of my industry mentors on LinkedIn and they were willing to take me on board and help me! So don’t be shy to message any young or more senior woman within the industry who inspires you and is within the role you want to get to. You’ll be surprised how willing some are to help you.
My mentor really helped me become more organised, disciplined and conscientious. During the years of my university course, I went from submitting most of my coursework and applications last minute to planning ahead and exceeding my goals. She even provided a lot of support and guidance in terms of research and investigating the topics and data needed for my dissertation!
(If you’re looking for a Civil Engineering mentor or any other discipline within Construction, click here).
Tip 2: Organisation
Being organised is very important! If you are like me and love using spreadsheets you would find it very useful during exam periods, especially when keeping track of assignment grades. This kept me on track to attain the goals I set out for myself throughout the year.
(If you need help on creating a university spreadsheet, click here.
With the help of my mentor, I was able to review my spreadsheet at the end of every term to ensure it catered to my assignment deadlines, exams and extracurricular activities.
I really found the spreadsheet as an effective way to keep me focused on the right thing at the right time, especially as a student your mind can constantly be thinking about many things and jump from one task to another. Never leave anything last minute or else you’ll regret it, so if you have an assignment first plan your way to completing it and what that structure/plan will look like (e.g. the different headings and subheading needed for that assignment, the individual milestone tasks required for that assignment and the amount of time you give yourself to complete it). Completing 1 page or section a day or week for an assignment won’t hurt, neither does revising 2 hrs a day if you want the best results!
You can also try using a wall planner that you can put up within your room to help you highlight key dates.
(If you’re looking for a good yearly/weekly/daily planner, here’s a good one we suggest - Link to Planners).
Tip 3: Tutor
The difference between a tutor and a mentor is that a tutor is more centred towards my well-being at university and making sure nothing is affecting my study. It’s also their job to give you advice on how to transition from college student life into university student life. There were mandatory meetings set up by my university to ensure this happened ongoingly. I developed a rapport with my tutor which influenced my decision in terms of application, coursework, dissertation and more. Incidentally, my tutor ended up being my dissertation supervisor, which shaped my desire to investigate "geotechnical engineering". I had frequent meetings with him until I understood what I needed to do with my dissertation which was really helpful. However, COVID impacted the education sector so much that most of our meetings ended up being virtual. Despite this, communicating with him regularly throughout the academic year made it very easier for me to enhance and complete my university dissertation!
Tip 4: Friends Friends Friends!
An advice from my mentor when choosing my friends was “make sure you have people around you who are like minded, those that can challenge you and not drain you…Those around you will determine how far you will go”. Having a variety of people who I could do my assignments with, go through lectures with and revise for exams with made a difference in my university experience and grades! I was able to gain great tips from how others revise (exams were my weakness), how they do their research and structure their assignments, from as little as how to take in information and regurgitate it.
LinkedIn: Grace Kamara