Hindsight isn't perfect but there are a couple MORE things that, if we had known, would have made our days as an electrical engineering student a lot easier! We share these tips with you so that hopefully things go a little more smoothly for you than they did for us!
6 More Things We Wish We'd Known Before Studying Electrical Engineering:
#1 Engineers need social skills.
The supposedly stereotypical engineer has no social skills, and that's something we've joked about as well, but the reality is that the ability to interact with other people is just as important for engineers as other people. Your ability to work in teams and resolve disputes will make a huge difference in how much you learn and the opportunities you have both in and after school.
#2 If the theoretical stuff in class bores you, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
You're studying engineering and while theory is important, let's be honest, if you were that excited about theory, you would probably be studying to be a physicist or mathematician.
#3 TI-89 or other powerful calculators are great but use them carefully.
You need to learn how to survive without an expensive calculator for many reasons. Two big ones are: 1) you never know when a teacher will allow them to be used; so, if you're too dependent you're going to be in trouble and 2) more importantly, it's better to get an intuitive sense of what's going on with your calculations than to get six significant digits of a number that doesn't actually mean anything to you.
#4 How you approach school and what you do there is just as important, if not more important, than the school itself.
It drives us crazy when TV shows MIT students being orders of magnitude smarter than everyone else...always hacking into the Pentagon. In reality, while MIT is an amazing school, if you go to a state school and work hard and apply everything you learn as much as you can, it'll be much more effective than barely skimming by at MIT.
#5 Speaking of school...
You need to accept the fact that some professors are just going to be rude and treat you like an idiot. Despite social skills being important, professors sometimes suffer in this department and can be rude and belittling. It sucks but it's important to not stop asking questions and keep trying as hard as you can even if you hate the teacher.
#6 The ability to read and write is just as important as the ability to do math.
Ask almost any engineer and they will tell you that they have to write a lot more as professionals than they were expecting – reports, emails, proposals, grant or job applications, technical specifications, etc. There are a lot of things in engineering to write about. Being a well rounded engineer that can, at least, kind of spell and put together an intelligible sentence will help you in any position you'll hold.
And these are six more things that we wish we'd known before we started studying electrical engineering. We hope they help you in your journey to become an electrical engineer!