Many College of Engineering students are members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, a program that helps young men and women learn, practice, and develop critical leadership skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
Engineering at Texas A&M University is an exciting but rigorous degree. The work the engineering classes present inside and outside of the classroom, the many hours needed for the various engineering degrees and more make this an intense field. Adding the activities in the Corps of Cadets and the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band sounds stressful, but it taught me many useful skills that I’ve used throughout my time at Texas A&M. Below are some of the ways the Corps and the Aggie Band have helped me become a better engineer.
Engineering already has some high demands when it comes to your schedule, but the Corps and the Aggie Band makes an already tight schedule even more jam-packed. With training times, band drills, formations and other Corps or Aggie Band events, it’s a miracle I find the time to complete my classwork. But if there is one thing I’ve learned from this, it’s that scheduling is crucial. Being in the Corps has taught me how to plan out my activities for the week, so I can maximize my time. I set aside certain times for certain tasks, including personal activities I want to accomplish, and follow these times to the best of my ability throughout the week. Although it isn’t always possible to be on the letter with scheduling, it still makes the best out of a tight schedule.
Studying is another crucial part of engineering, both in and out of the classroom. Thanks to the Corps, I’ve learned how to set some time aside for studying and picked up a few good study habits, too. The Corps has a unique time set aside for freshmen and sophomore cadets, known as Evening Study Time (EST). This is from around 7:45 p.m. onward throughout the night and gives cadets the environment needed to take care of academics. Although I’m a senior and don’t have to observe this practice anymore, EST taught me the importance of dedicated study time and working in an environment that is geared toward your success. Because of this mindset being established, I have a dedicated block of time set aside to accomplish labs, homework or other class activities that need to be done, which is a crucial skill to have in a major such as this one.
3. Getting Help
Asking for help can sometimes be difficult, particularly if you don’t necessarily know who to ask. Thanks to the Corps, as well as the culture of the Aggie Band, I found help in places that I might not have considered before. The Aggie Band is comprised of 300+ members, and because we live and practice together daily, we all know each other well. Many of the band members are engineers themselves. Often, when struggling on assignments or with classes, I could turn to my peers in the Aggie Band knowing they had either taken the classes I was struggling in or were taking them. The unique connections I made from the Aggie Band taught me the value of asking for help and to make sure to help other engineers that could be struggling and don’t realize the resources available to them.
The Corps of Cadets and Aggie Band might be a lot of work, but the rewards reaped from it are amazing. Being able to learn what I have from these organizations reminds me how far I’ve come, and that I have many skills and abilities to use going forward as I step out into the world of engineering.