Things I Wish I Knew In College

Madi, Mechanical Engineer, in college

Madi, a Mechanical Engineer, came to Art Anderson as an intern from Olympic College. She was quickly added as a full time employee and since joining has been hands on for many marine projects.

College, for many, is their first time away from home figuring things out on their own. It is a time of self discovery and change. With change comes challenges that many are not prepared for. To help future and current students we asked some of our employees what they wish they had known in college.

What do we wish we had known in college?

  • School ends, take a deep breath: Sometimes dealing with stress of the “now” becomes so all-consuming that we forget to think and prepare for the future. School stress does not last forever, it will end, and you will move on. Take a deep breath and just remember to do your best.
  • Save your notes and resources: The notes and resources you accumulate in college will be used again, not just in another class, but in your job after. Make sure to save them in a place you can easily access and navigate through so that when you inevitably need to reference them, you are not sifting through piles and piles of paper.
  • Be your own advocate: Recognize your strengths and weaknesses and advocate for yourself. It is likely you will find yourself in environments where others speak up for you and others where they do not. You must rely on YOU in both scenarios. Know your abilities, grow confidence within them and do not be afraid to speak up for yourself and your knowledge or experience. Your knowledge and experience is valuable; communicate it.
  • Learn to say “no”: College can be overwhelming. There are clubs, sports, activities, social events that will try and pull you in. Don’t be afraid to try new things but also know your boundaries and learn when to say “no”.
  • Take care of your mind and body: One of the first things that gets neglected in college is sleep. College campuses are constantly awake, and it is very easy to pull an all-nighter or overwork yourself. Your mind and body will not perform if not given rest and proper nutrients (sorry but that means you need to drink water and eat veggies). Listen to your body and mind, if you feel sick (physically, mentally, or emotionally) TAKE A BREAK.
  • Your intelligence is not tied to your grade: Often there is this misconception that a lower grade means lower intelligence. This is not true at all. There are many factors that go into a grade, it is not a reflection of how smart you are. Don’t let a bad grade define your capabilities.

What if you are already out of college?

Though these lessons were geared toward future and current college students, they can really apply to any time in your career. We hope that you can take these lessons learned and apply them to wherever you are in life. Remember, learning and growing doesn’t stop when the last final, of the last class, of the last day of the final year is handed in.

If you could tell your past college self some lessons to remember, what would they be?

If you’re interested in learning more about our Intern program and how we encourage young engineers to grow, check out this article: