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JVC

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JVC last won the day on March 4

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  1. The possibility, and very probable reality that you may not get into the program or school of your choice is not talked about enough. A lot of times we hear of the success stories, we talk about our peers admissions and we post about our accomplishments. Very rarely do you see a Facebook post from a friend that says “I didn’t get into engineering!”. There is an obvious reason for this, and that is simply explained by human nature, we don’t celebrate what we perceive to be a ‘failure’ or ‘step backwards’ and I can tell you from experience that I personally felt a bit ashamed and embarrassed to tell my friends and family when I experienced my first rejection letter, but, im here to tell you that you are not alone if you don’t get accepted the first time and in fact everyone should be prepared for this possibility. One site {linked below} suggests that the University of Ottawa, located in Canadas capitol, has an admissions rate of only 15% meaning only 15 of every 100 people who apply will be admitted! The school I attended, Memorial University of Newfoundland, had a 67% admission rate in 2009, much better odds, yes, but I also know that the entrance to specific programs, such as the Faculty of Medicine, is highly competitive and can be as low as 8% some years. So let these stats be a small comfort that it’s not as easy as writing your name on the application, wiring 50$ to the school and boom you’ve landed in a university classroom in the program of your dreams. In reality, there’s a lot of hard work, perseverance, drive, and dedication that may, or may not, stand between you and the school or program. So, my short and simple story, I had great marks in high school and got right into the faculty of engineering, finished engineering with great marks, got a job fairly easy and realized that I wanted t go to Medical school. Chasing my dreams I applied and living in the bubble I was, I got rejected. Didn’t even get an interview! That was the first time I didn’t get what I wanted right away. I was upset and I cried when I got the letter of rejection. I initially thought “How could this be, nobody would be better in this job then me!?”. Then I applied again and REJECTED! Again, I cried and this time I had a whole weekend of self-pity. I got caught up in the idea that too much time would pass and I’d be to old to go back to school, id be really old when I finished school, I thought that my boyfriend would be upset that instead of adding money and starting our life together id be putting myself back into late nights and student debt, my worries went on and on. The problem was I just couldn't stop thinking that this is where I'm suppose to be and what I should be doing, for the long haul. So, it’s okay to be sad and ashamed and most importantly its okay to be rejected, the fact of the matter is that you haven’t failed and its hardly a step backwards. I sat back and evaluated what I needed to do to get in. More importantly, I took a breath and reminded myself how much I have done so far! I have a whole new year to better my application and try again. I am doing what I need to do, for me, that is talking with the admissions officers, paying for a course that can help me better my MCAT score, and redoing my application. For you that may be upgrading your average, adding more volunteer work to your resume, getting a tutor, doing the last course you need for admission. No matter the reason you got rejected, you have put tremendous work in and spent your time, energy and money to try. That effort isnt all lost, in fact its built a foundation for you. Build up and don't throw in the towel, don't let all your effort go to waste. Furthermore, at first talking aloud about these little setbacks to family and friends can be really dang hard! And that's okay. But I encourage you to come to terms with the rejection letter, come to terms with who you are and understand where you need to improve. Know that your rejection letter wasn't because you aren't capable of being a part of said school or said program but instead its because you need to grow and better a certain aspect of your application or portfolio. Once I learned this I didn't feel so awful telling others the truth when the subject came up, in fact, after I stopped avoiding the subject so many of my friends had similar stories! Setbacks make the story of your path to success and happiness that much more interesting! Im not going lie, the rejection stings and in the moment you feel lost, but how are you going to recover from that? Get back up on your horse and keep moving forward because that acceptance letter will feel sooo much better when you know how hard you worked to get it. YOU CAN DO IT. YOU WILL GET THERE. https://www.prepscholar.com/sat/s/colleges/Ottawa-University-admission-requirements#:~:text=The acceptance rate at Ottawa,the school is extremely selective.
  2. Today is a bit of a different blog, I am going to discuss why I am applying to medical school. As you know from my last blog entries, you know that I have always thought about the idea of medical school and entertained the thought that if I wanted to try after graduation, I could. To go to medical school you need and undergraduate degree, that’s how I ended up in engineering and although I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every part of the schooling, loved the work terms I completed, and enjoy my job, I just can’t shake the idea of being in the medical field. I feel that the medical field is where I can make the biggest impact on the most people during my lifetime, give back to my community and pursue my greatest interests, so, I am applying to medical school. Shortly after graduation, like a few weeks after graduation, I started studying a completely different type of science and wrote the MCAT exam. It didn’t go as planned and I did way worse than I thought I would ever do. Furthermore, I had a trip to Europe planned and really didn’t manage my time well, in the end my application to the one school I applied to was rushed, sloppy and I was embarrassed I even submitted it. I didn’t get an interview, no surprise, and I was bummed about it for a couple weeks, but in reality I didn’t deserve that interview. I picked myself up and got a full time engineering job. Life goes on and I had a fabulous degree that I enjoyed. I obtained a great job with awesome people and I didn’t want my skills as an engineer to fade away from me. I had to remember the medschool was never guaranteed for me and that is why I choose engineering as my undergrad, none the less engineering was feeling like second place in my heart and the longer I worked full time the stronger that medschool intuition got. I had to try again. Unfortunately, COVID struck, my plans to upgrade my MCAT score semi fell through and I was feeling defeated again. As I was sitting at my counter one day, tons of time on my hands from the lack of socializing and gym going, I realized this was a great time to get some new online volunteering experiences. This lock down provided me time to offer my services to this community, upgrade my application and try something new! Then I realized that besides getting some new and valuable volunteer work, I also had the time to really put together the best application of my life and I was going for it. This is where this story ends as I am still in the application process but I still have a few more points to mention. 1. I decided to apply to more than one school this round. Although still limited by my very average MCAT score I realized that I can apply to schools that don’t consider this score and schools that don’t heavily weight this score in their selection process. 2. Life isn’t always going to hand me what I want. Not getting in the first time is common and I could clearly see my mistakes. Not getting in the second time is very probable, but I am determined to put together a strong application and show what I have to offer. In the end its better to give it a shot then sit back and wonder what would happen if….. 3. I still work hard and do the best I can at my full time job. I enjoy the work and want to make a great name for myself. I continuously take extra courses and plan for a future in the organization I work because I still want to excel and plan for where I am in my life. 4. Find your weaknesses and work on them. I found mine, written communication and hitting on key themes of written responses, and then I worked on it! I read articles online for tips and advice, I seen a ‘tutor’ to help edit my work and provide suggestions. You can only go up from there! I hope you enjoyed this little blog and maybe in the future ill be writing about being a doctor! For now though I will bring it back to Engineering and my next blog will be about: Cover Letter, Resume, Interview!
  3. If you’ve been following along you probably know that I am an engineer by now. More specifically I graduated from the Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering (ONAE) program at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Almost everybody, apart from those in or teaching the program, will ask ‘So what do you do?’ And I’m here to tell you all about it! First off, yes, the ONAE program is a degree and it is accredited the same as your basic mechanical and civil engineering degrees. In my personal opinion it is one of the hardest programs because we are not just dealing with static structures and we don’t just deal with moving systems we have to combine it all and then look at the systems in a very hard environment…the ocean. ONAE’s deal with all ocean-going systems. This includes and is not limited to underwater vehicles, floating offshore structures, ships and offshore platforms. You can imagine the amount of math, physics, and science the goes into these systems! Memorial University of Newfoundland is the only university in Canada that offers this program as a mandatory coop undergraduate degree. It is a top rated program in North America, and yet the class size is usually only 25-40 people each year. Because of this small class size we get almost one-on-one knowledge from our professors that happen to be, arguably, the best in the world. In their professions they have worked on globally recognized ocean and naval research and have participated in well-known documentaries on TV, high profile cases such as the Concordia, and have owned and operated well known ocean and naval companies. This small and intimate discipline goes beyond your university years! The profession produces only a small number of professionals making you, the ONAE professional, highly sought after. The jobs are plentiful and easy to come by, the pay is excellent and the community is even better. We have organizations such as SNAME (Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers) where all of us can interact in a fun and/or educational setting, help is never far when you have the best, newest, oldest, greatest and most driven engineers in your contact list. ONAE education is similar to other disciplines and like others branch off as you become more advanced in your schooling to be more refined to your discipline. Our courses include Physical Oceanography, Advanced Marine Dynamics, Floating Offshore Structures, Ocean Structures, etc. We get our hands dirty with EVERYTHING ocean system including the mechanical and electrical systems, NOT just structural and its important to be aware of these systems because these systems in the ocean are not the same on land and hiring an electrical and mechanical engineer to do them requires tedious ‘supervision’ by the nav arch. On the that note, building offshore systems is a huge undertaking and much of our schooling focuses on project management and execution order. Finally what do we do at work? Iv talked a lot about what and where be learn. In Canada and around the world nav archs are employed by shipyards, military/Coast Guard (i.e. Government), privately owned builders, universities, oil and gas companies and finally the support companies (design companies, research and development, testing, etc). 1. Shipyards: Here you have a good chance of being out in the field a lot. Building new ships requires material sourcing, calculations, drawings, putting out a rising issue, choosing the right paint to reduce friction in water, making sure the deck is graded properly so ice doesn’t form, etc. Not only new builds, Nav Arc’s at shipyards are also doing weight control, stability analysis (will the ship roll over? How many people can we fit on there?) and structural testing on existing ships that come in to ports (how much ice can I plow through without poking a hole in me ship?). 2. Military/Coast Guard: Here we are a ‘client’ type environment. Often Nav Arch’s employed by government will write proposals, statements of work, and requests for work for their existing fleet. Often we source new systems to put on ships to keep them operating and keep their systems current. Cost controlling and estimating are also important roles. You can be employed on the ship as an engineer to do structural and system assessment while at sea. 3. Universities: There is a ton of Ocean and Naval Research going on in Canada right now. Ice interaction, energy absorption and use from waves, underwater robotics, environmental ocean response, oil spill rescue, etc. Nav Arc’s have knowledge and education to be a part of and conduct a lot of this research. 4. Oil and Gas Companies: Nav Arc’s have recently started to be a commodity for offshore oil and gas companies. With the ocean structures that are required to be used the knowledge ONAE’s have of the ocean and structural interaction with the ocean at sea these offshore companies are hiring more and more of the class over time. 5. Support Companies: Usually privately owned, these support companies usually obtain work from governments and clients around the world. They will do stability assessment, drawing fabrication, design work, and basically do anything the client wants. These companies have the most diverse work, they design cargo ships, cruise ships, fishing vessels, oil platforms, luxury yachts, that party catamaran you were on in the Dominican…..it’s crazy!! In Conclusion, I really enjoy the work that I do as a ONAE and I hope in your search for schools, disciplines, etc you would consider this discipline! It is very rewarding and it is very important work. There are a small number of important engineers keeping the oceans systems going and we all know how important they are to humanity! NEXT UP: My up and coming posts will include: ➢ Why I am currently looking at applying to medschool ➢ Preparing to apply to medschool ➢ Choosing schools to apply for ➢ Cover Letter, Resume, Interview!
  4. Hey Guys! Today I am going to write about my experience with the engineering coop program. I am only familiar with the engineering programs in Canada and most are generally the same layout at a high level. There are some minor differences in the length of programs, types of disciplines offered and finally the coop option but basically not much else differs logistically. Lets talk about the last thing, coop!! COOP So. My undergraduate degree was completed at a university where this wasn’t an option. Whether you wanted to or not you were going to do the coop stream. There are many pros and cons to this mandatory stream. And I have to say the over the course of my degree the faculty, many times, debated offering a stream that didn’t include coop. Bottom line is that there wasn’t enough people (professors and students) to offer a choice at my university, if you get a choice, that’s amazing and you should consider what’s best for you! First ill discuss the cons because I personally don’t think there are a whole lot! To start, a coop stream will undoubtedly make your program longer. Mine was five years, most other eng degrees are 4, so not a huge deal, especially for me right out of high school with lots of growing and learning left to do, however, some of my classmates already had related diplomas, other degrees and industry experience from other life choices and they found an extra year frustrating because they didn’t need the experience and assurance that coop offers (more on this later). Next, Because our coop is mandatory and there is little room for flexibility in our schooling schedule (i.e. courses are only offered once per year) we could only take 4 month workterms, because we had to get back for our courses or we would be behind an entire year. This strict schedule also made school a little stressful because if you were unsuccessful in a course, you would be behind an entire year, also you will quickly learn that 4 months is mearly enough time to get your feet wet at a job. This wasn’t a problem for me but I know of classmates that turned down some really big work terms at life changing companies such as Apple and Tesla because they only offered 8-month and year long work terms. This wont be the same for every school so do some research because you should understand the schedule impacts the coop stream will have on your life! Finally, the only other con I have was that possibility of getting a ‘bad’ work term. The coop program is competitive and there is an expectation to reach a minimum number of work terms to be able to graduate with that designation. Therefore if you fall on a hard time to get a job (oil and gas crash in 2014, covid in 2019, etc) or you have a bad semester and you are not as competitive against your peers then you may get a work term in an industry, program or location that you just don’t like. Then you end up thinking, well what was the point of this! But I choose to think of this as a pro. Read on to find out how.... The pros!! I think there are many! Can you tell im pro coop stream? Haha. In the cons I mentioned having a bad work term. I personally think that it just weeds out places you don’t want to end up long term. It also allows you to leave after a short period of time without any bad blood! Believe me, I had 5 work terms. 3 of them I hated and I didn’t even think I would hate them going in, but boy did I ever make some realizations while I was there. I also heavily avoided applying for jobs like those dreadful positions after I graduated. From my other posts you’ve also seen that coop helped me decide a discipline. One work term in civil and I knew I wasn’t going to be a civil engineer! Next a MAJOR pro, is that you get paid. You will get paid for being in school. It helps a lot with tuition, it helps to graduate almost debt free and it helps with stress levels. Another pro, every 4 months I got a ‘break’ from school. The late nights, assignments, frustration of having a midterm or final every two seconds, that disappears for four months. If you asked me I don’t know how I would have gotten through this pretty intense program without those short breaks. Another huge pro is the fact that you get, one, to decide if this is the life you see yourself in and two, real life experience for when you graduate. I know people who went out on a work term and the was the last straw, they didn’t want to be an engineer or they went out on a work term and was surprised to find out the 'thats what an engineer does'. Supplemental to this pro is that it's a fact that a large number of students in my graduating class were hired where they once did one or more work terms. Being in the industry, making a name for yourself and having contacts when you graduate is so so helpful. Weirdest thing is that at the time you may not think your being useful or making an impact or even meeting people that will remember you long term, but you are! I have been surprised. So in conclusion, if my pros cant convince you, I will state it: If you can do coop, do coop. The only time I wouldn’t recommend it is if you already had experience and contacts in the field you were entering, already knew this is what you wanted to do, or have a family or some other life obligation (because they do happen) that requires you to be in school for a shorter period of time and get out working. Placements Maybe your thinking about the coop office. Every school has one and from personal experience and talking to many an engineering student from many a university across campus, i'm here to ensure you that your paying for very subpar service and you can do better work yourself. I encourage you to use them since you are paying for their service but what advice they give you and what they tell you I would take with a grain of salt and use them as a stepping stone. When looking into your placements you should at the beginning be open to all kinds of work and as you go through the system pick work more towards what you are specializing in. For example, after my general year I tried work in civil and mechanical but later I choose companies that do ocean and naval work because I did ocean and naval engineering. I would also recommended trying different organizations. So I did work terms with small private companies, large organizations recognized worldwide and government work, all very different atmospheres and really important to experience them all! As a student, especially early on, don’t expect much responsibility. I found most of my learning was through being around, attending meetings and more absorbing information over doing the work myself. I did a lot of photocopying and lot of meeting minuets, a lot of nothing because really you’re a student and you will get little projects but they aren’t going to be as exciting and involved as you would have probably thought. That being said make sure you continuously ask for work if your bored and the work that you are given do it well! I asked so many questions and worked, probably harder then I had to, at the simplest tasks, such as the weekly newsletter I was responsible for. Gaining trust with your supervisor and showing that you are trying will gain you more work, and get you better references in the future! I learned that many of my employers were busy, had families at home and the novelty of being an engineer had worn off for them. Im telling you this because I felt early on that I was being forgotten, I wasn't given work, and that I deserved more praise for the work I delivered. I never felt anybody was as driven or working as hard as I could. Some employers/supervisors will be responsive and give you that feedback you will desire, some may even ask you to return for another term. BUT. most supervisors in my experience will do their job and go home to not think about it until the next day. They are not fresh out of school, they dont want to prove themselves anymore and I learned not to take that personally. My supervisors were generally more interested in their weekend plans then looking to seek me our for the next term. If your interested and you do your job/work well I encourage you to ask your supervisors or have the conversation that explains to them that you are interested in returning. Furthermore, ask multiple times and keep your name around because they'll probably forget. This goes for anything you want out of your work term. Make it known if you want more work, make it known you would like to go to site for a visit. ASK ASK ASK! My last note for this blog is a quick note on placements. The coop programs are really competitive and it can be a real mental test, it was for me. Its like a full time job making cover letters and applying to everything that comes up just to be rejected over and over again. What's worse is when you see everyone else getting positions that you would have loved to have. My advice is to not be to picky about your placements and apply to everything, you can learn something from any job you have. Also don’t compare yourself to others and give yourself grace. You don’t know who they know, what they said, or exactly why they got that job. Just know that you didn’t get it so pick yourself up and move onto the next, there is no reason to dwell. And, last thing I promise, do your best to have an open mind. Apply for the positions that you don’t think your qualified for, take the job that may not pay very much, and use your family/contacts because you’ll be surprised the experience’s you can stumble upon and the positions you can be offered. So that’s it from me! I hope this is insightful or at least eases your mind. Work hard, do your best (even if you hate what your doing) and keep chugging because you got to do the boring ‘useless’ work before you can get to the good stuff. NEXT UP: My up and coming posts will include: ➢ What I do as an Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineer ➢ Why I am currently looking at applying to medschool ➢ Cover Letter, Resume, Interview!
  5. I know many of you reading this blog post might not have the option to choose an engineering discipline right out of high school. However, maybe you do and/or maybe you’ll refer to this blog post when you must decide later down the road. The university I attended offered 6 undergraduate disciplines to choose from at the end of engineering one, the general eng year that covers all first year courses like math physics and chemistry. Many universities, including mine, have students go through a general first year before you decide what discipline to enter, this may be with many other students from other degrees but mine is called ‘engineering one’ because its all the engineering students going through first year courses together. Also during this year we do 4 engineering specific courses that attempts to touch on all disciplines so you can get an idea of what you like. At the end of Engineering one you have to rank your choice of discipline one through six and based on your engineering one average you will be admitted to a discipline. To give some context, just say 100 students ranked mechanical (for example) their number 1 choice, there are only 80 seats so the top 80 averages would get a seat and everyone else would, hopefully, get their second choice, maybe third if their average wasn’t as good. You may enter the program or finish your first year with a good or better idea of what discipline you want and will love. If you know what that discipline is, that’s great!! If your were undecided like myself, your not alone. The six disciplines were Process, Civil, Mechanical, Computer, Electrical and Ocean and Naval Architecture (ONAE). I entered the engineering program hell bent on doing process engineering and that changed fairly quickly, which brings me to say, its good to have an idea but explore around the other disciplines JUST in case you find one that sparks another interest in you. Firstly, the 4 engineering courses helped me cross some things off my list. From these courses I determined that I didn’t like electrical circuits and I wasn’t good at programming, so, electrical and computer were crossed off the list. What you are good at and what you LIKE to do and learn can help guide this decision big time. A friend of mine tried computer engineering 3 times and failed out three times, he wasn’t good at it and ultimately needed to try another discipline. Next, if you have the choice to do coop, I recommend. I didn't have a choice but coop was so eye opening! At the end of first year I got a work term with a construction company and boy was civil engineering not my thing! I hated it, I thought it was boring and I crossed that of my list…fast! Don’t let my experience sway you though, find out for yourself! During my year, civil was the most popular discipline, and the quickest to fill up, it wasn’t for me, but, many people do it and LOVE it. Coop helped me decide my discipline, and that is one of the many great things about coop. I had three disciplines left to rank. So I attended their open houses. At my school each discipline holds an ‘open house’ around the time eng one students must rank their choices. Its nice because you can go to the discipline classroom, hear from students and faculty in the program, see some projects and job prospects and then get some free pizza for lunch. If your school does an open house, attend! It was at the process open house that I realized I didn’t want to be a process engineer. Hearing the projects and job prospects completely turned me off and so off the list process engineering went. Note that I started engineering thinking this was the discipline I was going to finish my degree with and now all that was changed….you could say I was anxious now! Mechanical or ONAE?? I was interested in both after the open houses. Essentially the ONAE program was similar to the mechanical, I would be much more ‘specialized’ in a field, specifically the field of ocean floating and ocean going vessels if I did ONAE and also attractive to the program was the reputation of the faculties professors, the attention they gave students and a smaller class size that allowed students some really cool labs. In contrast, mechanical was an old and well known discipline that really is so broad with many streams to choose from (oil and gas, bio-engineering, drilling, mechatronics, machines, etc) that it would open many doors to jobs and future career paths. And so I ranked mechanical first and ONAE second. Months later I was admitted to ONAE. My average was 0.8% away from entering the mech class and it filled up to capacity without me in it. I wasn’t upset at all. I really liked both my mech and ONAE choices and was happy with either. Some of my classmates got choices they really didn’t want. Some went through and tried the discipline they knew they didn’t like and the majority that did that failed out or left the program. Some of my fellow students decided to increase their admission average and reapply next round to get the discipline they wanted. Its whats going to be best for you in the long run. Make that decision and know that the decision dosnt have to be final if you don’t want it to be. Looking back I think it was fate, if you believe in that stuff, that I became an ONAE engineer. The program was so good, the faculty is recognized internationally, and the program is the only one of its kind in Canada making my small class HIGHLY employable. All of us got jobs right away with hardly any competition! Above that, my small class size, 25 of us graduated together, gave me some great friends and above all that was the quality of education…amazing, given the time that could be spent with each of us. If your struggling with choosing a discipline, hopefully some of my tips above can help you out! Try and get a good sense of what work you want to be doing. Keep an open mind but stay focused on the end goal. NEXT UP: My up and coming posts will include ➢ My experience with Coop program and placements ➢ What I do as an Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineer ➢ Why I am currently looking at applying to medschool
  6. I wanted to start this chat because before I even left high school I had to make a decision that caused me a bit of stress and worry. Basically, deciding if you want/should enter a program or faculty right away, if a general year is better, if you dont know if collage or university is where you belong I wanted to offer a couple pointers that helped me; 1. Talk to everyone around you. Parents, guidance councillors , academic advisors, friends and other students. It helps and although it can be overwhelming, by voicing your thoughts out loud you may come to some realization, but know the decision is ultimately yours in the end. 2. Think about what your good at and what you like! Its a good start and can ultimately help cross some items off you list. Where I come from, the collage provides a lot of hand on instruction and technical diplomas, I however, am and always will be more of an intellectual, theory based person so I choose university. Furthermore I enjoy science based courses and am awful at english/arts based courses..... I crossed off every english and arts degree there ever was! 3. You have the power to change your academic/career plans whenever you want! Don't be pressured to make the 'right' or 'final' decision on your career path right now. Chances are, and statistics show that your probably going to change career paths at least once and maybe more then once in your life. So know if you choose something you love to do right from the beginning thats a bonus and if you dont choose 'right' then at least now you know that wasn't for you and you can move on to other things! Anybody have anything to add or comment to this!? :)
  7. To explain how I choose engineering out of high school I am going to paint you a picture of my personal journey and maybe parts, if not all of it, will sound familiar to where you are to in your life or, where you may find yourself in the days, months, or years to come. In high school I did very good academically. I didn’t find high school overly challenging, I studied for all my exams and got great marks. I, unlike most students but maybe like some, was conflicted between science based programs after high school and so I somehow managed to do grade 11 and 12 biology, physics, chemistry and advanced mathematics. Most students only did one science some did two. I did them all because my post-high school dreams included med school, engineering, chem/bio/phys degrees, maybe I should do biochemistry maybe I should be a police officer, I wasn’t sure, I didn’t know, and I certainly didn’t want to close any doors. It’s a good idea to have an idea of what you would like to do post secondary. This is not because you should hurry to finish school and get working OR because you have one chance to get it right this is mainly because many post- secondary institutions will have pre-requisite courses or averages required from high school to directly enter a program or faculty. Obviously, if you have your site set on entering engineering, for example, right out of high school you should know if the schools you are applying to require certain courses or averages for direct entry. Furthermore, if you don’t know DON’T WORRY, all post- secondary institutions have general/first year studies, this is not a bad choice, in fact I would recommend it to many, but, if you didn’t get that specific course you needed or you didn’t do that well in chemistry, or maybe your not sure if you even like math, general studies will allow you to take a variety of courses and grant you time to figure this stuff out! Besides university is a whole new ballgame and a general year is a really nice ease into that lifestyle. Back to my story…. I was confused and wasn’t sure, so how did I end up in engineering? Well my high school physics teacher was the reason I ended up there. He studied engineering after he left the military and before he studied teaching. He was someone who always brought up the topic of university or collage and he was the guy who eased my mind over and over about decision making. It can be stressful to feel like you have to decide what to do right away and it can be stressful trying to predict your future and determine if you’ll like a certain career or excel in a certain degree. My physics teacher always affirmed those feelings and thoughts to me and guaranteed they were normal, but, he would follow up with “ just because you study it, just because you apply to the program, just because your good at something does not mean you have to work in the field, finish your career doing one thing, or even accept the acceptance letter to the programs you apply!”. He would give us stats on the number of Canadians that change career paths throughout their working lives, and he was a class A example that it was okay and possible to change careers based on feelings, passions, and academic strengths and weaknesses. Knowing that it was not a concrete end-of-the-world-if-I-didn’t-like-it decision and knowing that I was free to change my thoughts and academic/career plans and goals whenever I wanted I applied to engineering, and gave the program a try. Why did I not pursue my other ideas your thinking….. WELL my logic was this: to apply to the medschool of my choice I needed an undergrad degree first that could be ANY undergraduate degree, including engineering if that’s what I decided to pursue after. Secondly, chem, physics, biology, and biochemistry degrees historically send you teaching or put you in a laboratory, things I am not cut out for, after you finish the degree. I could apply to med school after those degrees but what if I had a change of heart and/or didn’t qualify to get in or straight up didn’t get into medschool at all, I would be left with a degree I could do nothing that I wanted to do, with. Thirdly, my personality needs organization and goal setting and basically a clear cut path to a certain career at the end of a five year degree was what I needed and felt very comfortable signing up for, even if I wasn’t 100% planning to stick with it this it seemed like a pretty good decision for me at the time. Now, my classmates. Some of them knew from the gecko engineering was for them, some actually said they tried it because they knew they could make good money with an eng degree and they ended up liking it! Some flunked into it by just trying it, some hated it and left, some finished it and then went to do business school after we graduated! Your story is unique and how you enter the program and how/if you finish it will be different and unique to you BUT you will figure it out one way or another! I can tell you that I fully and wholeheartly enjoyed every aspect of engineering school. I didn’t think about leaving the program after I entered and yet even now I am not 100% sure this is what I want to do for the majority of my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but your working years are the majority of your years on this earth and you do wanna enjoy what you do! My physics teacher still to this day eases my mind when I think of changing career paths but you’ll have to continue following my blog to read more to see how, why and where I am today and what my plans are for the future. NEXT UP: My up and coming posts will include ➢ How I picked my Engineering Discipline of Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering over other choices like Mechanical! ➢ My experience with Coop program and placements ➢ What I do as an Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineer ➢ Why I am currently looking at applying to medschool
  8. Hello Everyone! If you are reading this post it means that you are curious, interested or intrigued about a career in Engineering or something related. I am only 23 years old and I have completed an engineering degree in Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering and simultaneously received a minor in mathematics! Now I am working full time for the Canadian Coast Guard! I choose engineering right out of high school and was successful in getting into the degree program right away. I didn’t know this is what I wanted to do, I didn’t do the most advanced math courses in high school and I wasn’t absolutely sure that engineering was for me BUT I was interested in the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) field and I love a good challenge so I figured I would give it a try. The comments I get when I tell people I did engineering are almost always the same. I find it interesting how many newly graduated students are deterred from the profession and im about to share some of those comments and my thoughts on them! Maybe you are thinking the same things and I am here to shed some light. 1. “Wow that’s a really long program” ➢ My program was 5 years, one year longer then the average degree program because it was a coop program! It was the fastest five years of my life and at the end of the five years I still felt to young to be a professional. Don’t let time scare you! Most people are in a rush to finish school but really and truly being a student is the bomb! You make great friends and not much is expected of you when you’re first learning. Plus the extra year of coop weeded out a lot of places I didn’t want to work and assured some thoughts on where I did want to work when I graduated…no strings attached! 2. “Wow that’s a really hard program” ➢ Was it easy? The answer is no. But with a good circle of friends and professors, some old notes, used text books and google you will get through it! Time management skills are also essential for this profession! The engineering degrees usually pack 2-3 more courses per semester then your average degree program, making your work load fairly huge however, although there will be many stressful times and late nights you will learn to appreciate them, besides, I challenge you to find a degree at a university/collage that will cause you zero stress and no late nights! 3. “You must be really good at math” ➢ NOPE. Believe it or not engineers (at my university) do the same first year math courses as A LOT of other first year students and other degrees. You shouldn’t hate math if you want to do engineering, you do go on to do many more courses involving some pretty advanced math but you don’t have to be a star at math! It will help you if you are, but, I didn’t get A’s in my university math courses and I didn’t do calculus in highschool and here I am with a minor in mathematics and an eng degree! Don’t let this stop you from trying. 4. “You are probably really smart” ➢ I would consider myself smart but I will also say I put a lot of time and hard work into school, and a lot of other things. I didn’t just know how to do engineering and iv studied for hours and iv failed exams and iv gotten through, at times just barley! Anybody can be smart! You don’t have to be an engineer to be that and I have met a few engineers who I wouldn’t consider ‘smart’ because my definition of ‘smart’ is not an engineer. Apply yourself to something you love and put your time and energy into it and you can become ‘smart’. 5. “I could never do engineering” ➢ This one is my favorite. I actually laugh at this comment mostly. Has your mom ever told you ‘you can do anything you put your mind to’ ? Its true, you can even do engineering, BUT, do you want to. If you really want to do it, you can. It will be hard there may or may not be setbacks. I have had friends fail out and have to join the class below. I had friends who didn’t get in right away and applied a year or two after high school graduation. I had friends who never finished the degree, why you ask, because it wasn’t for them! You CAN do it BUT do you want to. A lot of us wont know until we try. Engineering is actually really different then what a lot of people think, it was different then what I thought, but if you are thinking about it there’s no harm in trying because then you’ll know and you wont wonder what if. If you’ve made it this far in the post, I hope that its intrigued you, and helped wash away concern over engineering school. My up and coming posts will include; ➢ How I choose engineering against all other options and how I choose my engineering discipline, Ocean and Naval Architecture. ➢ My experience with Coop program and placements ➢ What I do as an Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineer ➢ Why I am currently looking at applying to medschool
  9. What is you profession/Industry? I am and Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineer with the Canadian Coast Guard. What do you do? Simply put, I work with boats and everything that floats. We 3D model ships of all sizes and capabilities. We can analyse how fast, how much power or how much strength a boat or floating offshore structure will need in every wind and wave condition there is! We can design and build. We develop standards for safety and we can predict what will happen if your structure is damaged or flooded. There is so much more! What skills do you need? This program is unique! Currently in Canada, the only place to do this specific discipline as an undergrad degree is at Memorial University of Newfoundland! More broadly speaking, all engineering degrees in Canada are 4-5years long. Most give a choice of co-op, meaning you get to work in the field, make money and gain experience while you are in school my program was a mandatory coop, so 5 years no choice. Besides from the technical requirements to be an engineer you also have to be willing to constantly learn and develop, be able to work in a team and have patients to work through problems you've never seen before. Professional Skills? Again, working as a team is important in engineering. Many times the problem your solving or situation your improving is going to be bigger then a one man job. Communication is a big factor in engineering. Willingness to learn and take on challenges and tasks outside of your comfort zone. What inspires you about your work? My current position at the Canadian coast Guard inspires me everyday. Keeping Canadians safe and being such a huge part of keeping all the equipment doing that up and running is very inspirational. But engineering is about making something work, or work better. Engineers are consistently fixing problems, making existing technology or objects better, and improving and innovating on ideas. There is so much good to come out of engineers and their ideas and contributions and that inspires me! Knowing that a world without engineers could become quite obsolete and outdated pushes me everyday! What kind of person do you think it takes to do what you do? If you are interested in math, science or technology you would be a good engineer! If you have an interest in bridges, buildings, boats, airplanes, machines, computers, etc and how those things work, you would be a good engineer! If you like innovation you would be a good engineer! Strong technical skills, interest in learning and solving problems, good time and project management and no fear of the unknown, you will be a great engineer! Note: I am creating a blog about my educational choices and how and why I chose engineering over other degrees and carrer paths! Check out the 'Blog' tab and my blog titled 'The Educated Engineer' to read more!
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