A little confused
Sitting in my College Station bedroom, trying to make sense of all this newfound free time I have because of online classes, I received a text message from our Student Engineers’ Council (SEC) president. Soon thereafter, I was working alongside Dr. Mark Weichold, our senior associate dean, on developing a survey about the College of Engineering’s response to online classes and COVID-19.
What I was reminded of while working on this brief project was how invested the college administration really is in our lives as Aggie engineers.
A little overwhelmed
Throughout the past year, I’ve been able to serve as a committee chair within the SEC. As I transition into a new role for my senior year, I’ve been able to look back on my time interacting with various members of the administration and remember a few of the encouraging moments I’ve had along the way.
I’ll admit, my first time walking up the stairs to the 5th floor of ZACH was daunting. They say “imposter syndrome” is a real thing, and in that moment, I believed it to be true. What business did I have meeting with people who have Ph.D.s, outside of asking for help on homework?
In a university as massive as Texas A&M, a college as expansive as engineering, and a major as big as mechanical, it’s definitely easy to feel as if you’re a number or a statistic. But walking into our first meeting to discuss the first-year survey, one we administer in addition to the primary engineering student survey, I learned just how much my voice was valued as a student.
A little lot more confident
In discussing each of the surveys, I was asked what issues affected not just me, but my peers. I was asked to reflect on my time in ENGR 111/112. I was asked what amenities I personally take advantage of in ZACH − and let me tell you, I’ve spent a lot of time in those fishbowl rooms.
In writing each of the surveys, I was confident that our questions came from the students’ perspective, not from administration. I was confident that deans and department heads would be interested in how many of us plan to have engineering careers after graduation. I was confident that the opinions of graduate students were sure to be heard this year.
In reading through the 5,000 responses, I learned that more than half of us didn’t grow up with parents in engineering. I learned that many of us wish professors had virtual office hours or hosted review sessions in the evenings. I learned that many others shared my once-held hesitations toward studying abroad.
In presenting the results from the engineering student survey, I realized that my department head in mechanical engineering reads every Personalized Instructor/Course Appraisal evaluation, but because we speed through them, he doesn’t have a ton of useful information. I realized that faculty in the dean’s office have ongoing efforts regarding the mental health of students, and these results were able to guide them further. I realized that administration is striving to make instructors more approachable and helpful.
I know that in the College of Engineering my voice is heard, and so is yours. Gig ‘Em!
The SEC is the representative for all students in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. Be sure to have your voice heard by participating in the Engineering Student Survey next fall!