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After a long first semester of engineering at Texas A&M University, here’s what I’ve taken away. Learning is not easy, and if you are not getting physically angry at your lab assignments, then you are doing something wrong.
Now some of your class and teammates will be doing just fine, getting A’s on quizzes and tests, etc. and this will make you feel very defeated. One thing I’ve learned is to REACH OUT to those classmates, your teacher assistants, tutors, or quite literally anyone that knows how to code because THEY can help you. It has been challenging waking up at the crack of dawn just to go to a class that I felt defeated in most of the time, but what helped me was the friendships I made in ENGR 102 and my math class. Having friends is always a good thing, especially when you guys are probably struggling on the same material.
Another thing I learned is to not take everything out on your professor. In my situation, my professor was not the best teacher; however, he was willing to walk me through my struggles and sympathize with me, making me feel guilty for bashing him in my head whenever I got a 15 on a quiz.
That brings me to another point — it’s OKAY to fail. For the person who got straight A’s all through high school, welcome to college! So did I! You are going to fail assignments, labs, quizzes and tests, and that’s okay. Just make sure you put in the effort to do better next time. Also, most of the time, there are SO many other people in ENGR 102 who are struggling just as much as you! Do not feel alone during this hard trial of life.
One person who impacted me without even knowing was my teammate, Adam. Adam is the smartest person I think I have ever met, with the completion of two AP Computer Science Exams (passing both), and I despised him for it at the beginning of this class. I soon realized that Adam was not my enemy; he was my friend! He taught me different ways of thinking, patience and true friendship! Adam was always willing to help me even when I didn’t understand a single thing he said. Adam is who I hope to be to my classmates.
I may not have mastered coding after 102, but I definitely left it with a whole new understanding of thinking, problem-solving and the art of “pushing through.” I know that this will take me far at Texas A&M and in life afterwards so I am grateful for that. I hope that you can experience these highs and lows throughout your engineering career because they will make you who you are as a student and person. Best of luck!