By: Natasha Patel
Second Year Student
If you study engineering, you might be used to shocked responses and apologies when you tell people your chosen degree or share the fact that you have more contact hours in a day than some have in a week. You might struggle to explain that there are many different fields within engineering without receiving a yawn or a confused look (my parents still don’t really understand my degree subject). Engineering students get a bad reputation for having no life and living on caffeine; and while some of us might enjoy popping into a coffee shop on the way to lectures, labs or the library I want to show you a day in the life of a second year Chemical Engineering student with time for societies, relaxation and fun.
Early morning, the alarm comes on before the sun comes up and it is time to get up (or hit snooze a few times). Next, it’s time to get dressed for lectures and have breakfast, I know a lot of people tend to skip breakfast in favour of waking up later but to me, it’s essential to have the energy to focus all day.
Before long it’s time for the dreaded 9am lecture. I started the day with a two-hour particle science lecture. I pull out printed lecture slides to take notes and annotate. The professor included industrial links and occasionally brings in guest lecturers from industry to keep you interested. The industrial links really help you to see why you’re signing away a few years of your life to lab reports; a light at the end of the tunnel.
At 11am we had a break and in a busy day of lectures anytime you have a break in the day it’s lunch time. Time to talk to your course mates, catch up on any work and much needed relaxing and energy boost. Whether you bring food from home or visit one of the many places you can buy lunch, this is the most important part of the day. After the short lunch break, it’s time for another two-hour lecture, this time; mass transfer. Following the intense lecture, we get a second break in the day. During this time my friends and I discussed a few questions from the previous lecture, and of course ate more food (we really need the energy).
In the afternoon I had a tutorial in which we had time to go through a sheet of questions based on the topic of the lecture. There were PhD students there to help you on how to approach questions and topics. It’s always a good idea to practise questions and to apply the topics covered in lectures and being able to do this with help available was very useful.
The university day is now over and now there’s finally free time. First, you’ll want to relax from the hectic day, personally, I enjoy listening to some music, a few minutes of meditation or watching some funny videos online. After decompressing and relaxing for a while I will prepare dinner, or rather reheat leftovers from the weekend when I had the time to cook.
Later, there were a few hours to revise and do assignments. I know no one wants to do this but it’s a key, be it boring, part of the day. From personal experience I’ve found keeping on top of your work is preferable to drowning underneath it.
In the evening I go to Trampolining club. I think it’s important to spend some time participating in societies in order to stay happy, healthy and focused. Going to a society or sports club is beneficial to get your mind thinking about something other than the ideal gas law!
In the evening on my return to the house from trampolining club I spend what’s left of the day with my housemates, we watch TV, movies or just talk about the day’s events. However, if you’d prefer to head out into the city most places in Sheffield are open until the early hours and the night is still young. Remember, engineers can have fun too!