Preparing for College: Tips from a current student

Get insider tips on how best to prepare for college in this month’s blog post from a current engineering student!

Preparing for College graphic

College is a time you should be excited for. You’re finally on your own, studying what you want, and are actually a part of that student body you watched cheering in Tiger Stadium for so many years. It is a great time in your life, but if you have chosen to be an engineer you should know that going from high school to college is one of the largest (and most important) transitions you can make during your educational career. The saying, “freshman year is the most important year” is a slogan that will be pounded into your head. that With the excitement of entering college it may get pushed aside, but the saying could not be more true, and hopefully this post will give some insight to how to best prepare yourself for the year ahead.

The awesome possibility of scheduling classes late in the day so you can sleep hours past that early time you were up every morning for high school is, indeed, awesome. Sleep is great, in fact I guarantee sleep will be more exciting than ever before after one semester, but what’s even better? Great grades and free time all at once…. You’ll learn rather quickly that 24 hours in a day is a lot shorter than you think. Learn NOW how to manage your time to get up early and get your day going soon. Eat a good breakfast, grab some coffee, and start knocking out your homework and studying early. Ideally make it so that you can go to class with your assignments for that day completed, as it is so much easier to focus and get a lot out of class. Plus you’ll have the rest of the day to study more for that upcoming test or get personal errands done.

Speaking of homework, and this may sound profound, but “learn” how to do homework. In engineering, working problems is the best way to learn your material. It is very tempting to google the answers to all your assignments, but learn how to sit down, use the text book, and get the most out of your homework. It will pay off come exam time. Your homework will be difficult at first because it is material you have likely not encountered before, but just take a deep breath and know it will take some time to master everything. So like I mentioned before, learn how to make a schedule throughout the day and make time for getting your homework done.

One habit that you should start doing before you even step foot on campus: to-do lists. It will make everything I’ve mentioned come a lot easier to you. Before you go to bed each night, or when you wake up, make a to-do list of everything you know needs to be completed that day. Prioritize your list, and check off each one as you get it done throughout the day. Not only is this a great way to see what you’re actually accomplishing, but it is a great feeling to check off items on your list.

As I mentioned before, and there is really no way to “prepare” for this, but recognizing that days are a lot shorter than they seem, and that you are busier than you may realize is perhaps the most important advice one can hear. You do not have the time you think you have. Procrastination is deadly and getting a head start on assignments makes life 20x easier. Everything I have said in this post may come across as pretty obvious tips, but truly understandingthat they matter and how to implement them is how one can best prepare for the life of being an engineer. Keeping things like this in mind will allow you to quickly adapt and form your own schedule and ways to be productive. College is a great time and is important to your future. Having great grades early on freshman year is crucial to that experience as class will only get harder with a busier schedule every semester. Hopefully keeping some of these things in mind will maximize your time and education at LSU!

Griffin Selby
Major: Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Hoover, Alabama
Student Org: AADE

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Study Engineering Abroad in Germany

Here’s an excerpt from our Encounter Engineering in Europe (E3) 2016 study abroad group. You can see all of their posts from the summer on their website at http://2016lsue3.wix.com/geaux

“Worth the Trek” by Estin Field

Our day began early as we headed out to Corratec, a company who designs and assembles a wide variety of bikes. After a long train ride, we wandered through the city until we finally found our destination. Corratec was like no other excursion we have had so far; we were not led by a tour guide, but instead their head research and development engineer. Because he was an engineer he was able to explain the design process in great detail. Before our tour began, we had a special visitor: the CEO and founder of Corratec. He was happy to have us there, and answered any questions we had. He mentioned that his job gets harder everyday as his company expands. When asked about the vision he had for his company, he said he wanted to be different from other bike companies, and to also follow a different path than his father before him.

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After beginning the tour I was very surprised. The process began with a single, human worker attaching spokes to rim that were reinforced by an automated machine. The worker also had assistance from high-tech machine spinning the rim as she attached the spokes. This was a big difference from BMW and Porsche, who have robots assembling their products. The bikes were then moved through the shop by hooks that moved on a track on the ceiling. Human workers assembled various parts of the frames as the hooks came by.

After finishing the factory tour, we were shown the engineering office. There, they used SolidWorks to design various bike components and overall products. This is the same program Mrs. Paige Davis taught many of us in her CM 1020 class.  We learned how they design and make prototype models for future bikes. Overall, this was one of the most interesting factory tours we’ve had, and definitely one of my favorites!

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Computer Science Senior Encourages Students to ‘Stay With It’

Jackie RobinsonRising computer science senior Jacqueline Robinson recently wrapped up her first full semester as a squad member for Intel’s Stay With It Engineering program.

As a squad member, Robinson said she spent the past eight months “promoting any initiatives the program hosted.”

“We also try to maintain an active social media presence to showcase our journeys of becoming engineers to inspire those who follow us,” she added.

The program, an online community in which engineering students can engage with each other and share engineering related content and support, was first introduced to Robinson through her participation with LSU’s student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Robinson, who is from Slidell, Louisiana, said she was attracted to the program because of its potential for international impact.

“Many on-campus programs and initiatives are much more local to the organization members or the LSU community,” she said. “This program has a much larger focus. The organization’s purpose is to encourage students from all over the world.”

The Stay With It Program is free for anyone to join. The program has a strong social media presence, which is mostly active on Facebook, according to Robinson. She encourages fellow students to check out the program’s Facebook page.

“Some people use it when they need help with homework. You can also use it to reach out and see if there is another student or professional who is currently doing something you want to do,” Robinson said. “If you are concerned about something or struggling to get past an obstacle, you can reach out on Facebook to see if anyone else has advice on a similar problem.”

The program’s main website also hosts a blog that offers advice on topics like how to land an internship, resume templates for first time job seekers, informative videos about the diversity of the field and other engineering resources—all free of charge for its members.

Robinson said her role is centered on being the liaison between college students and the industry.

“While I don’t plan events, the insight I submit about our concerns of being engineering students and what we would like to see in the industry is important,” she said. “During my time with the program, I worked with others to launch a Stay With It Women group because we felt that addressing the gender gap was important.”

In addition to being a member of NSBE and attending Association in Computing Machinery (ACM) events, Robinson is a founding member of Women in Computer Science (WICS) at LSU. Through her involvement with these various organizations, she said, she’s gained better perspective on her chosen field and received the necessary tools to sharpen existing skills and cultivate new ones.

Robinson said the Stay With It program “impacted her socially,” and allowed for some relief from the anxiety that often accompanies entering the engineering field for the first time.

“A lot of the fear of graduating and entering the industry is attributed to low confidence and feeling unprepared,” she said. “Students seeing videos of other students and professionals make you feel inspired and more prepared.”

Robinson also said the program features a mentorship component that allowed her to grow closer with professionals and industry representatives in her field.

“I have received a lot of advice from the coordinator of the program, Rhonda Peters James,” she said. “I learned how to analyze my skills in engineering and how to properly market my talent.”

With eight months as a Stay With It squad member behind her, Robinson plans to begin her senior year this fall as an active member of the online support community of engineering students.

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For more information on the Stay With It program, visit http://staywithit.org/, or check out their Facebook page. For questions, contact communications assistant M.B. Humphrey at marissah@lsu.edu.

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5 Things Student Leaders Learned at the College’s Annual Leadership Training Workshop

In April, more than 80 current and rising student leaders filled the Frank Walk Room for a comprehensive, interactive one-day workshop aimed at preparing the organization leaders for the upcoming academic year.

Communications assistant M.B. Humphrey sat down with associate director of diversity initiatives Sarah Jones to discuss the variety of topics covered by representatives from the STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP), the Chevron Leadership Academy, Student Services and the Office of Diversity Initiatives. Read more about the valuable insight students gained below:

Leadership Training

1. What Leadership Is
Joseph Odenwald, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, gave students a thorough breakdown of what leadership is, as well as the several different theories of leadership that may be encountered within group settings. He highlighted the differences between leadership styles of the past, often role-specific and results driven, to more current leadership styles that are change-oriented.

2. What it takes to become a Transformational Leader
Transformational leadership is characterized by the ability to bring about change in an organization by developing a shared vision, values and ideas. Director Emerita of LSU’s Center for Academic Success Saundra McGuire said, “transformational leadership is a requirement for leaders of today.” She added that it is the duty of the leader to trust their team to handle their respective roles, while the leader focuses on the “bigger picture.” She explained the necessity for students to be well rounded not only in leadership, but also academically, and highlighted the resources available in the Center for Academic Success.

3. DISC
STEP manager Adrienne Steele outlined the leadership styles featured in the DISC Assessment, which stands for dominant, influential, steady and conscientious. These four main leadership styles illustrate the practices that are most common within group settings. Steele walked through the characteristics of each group, focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of each. Students were then split into groups by their leadership style and discussed areas of improvement among them.

4. Leadership Cultivation Opportunities
Director of the Chevron Center Warren Hull spoke about a new program to the College, the Chevron Leadership Academy. The semester-long program, with a large mentorship component, gives select students the opportunity to cultivate and hone their leadership skills. The program supports it participants in a variety of ways including: an introductory kick-off workshop, monthly leadership seminars and the assignment of an industry mentor. Hull also debunked several leadership myths like, “only extroverts can be leaders.”

5. How to make SMART goals
Sarah Jones and Jada Lewis ended the workshop by teaching students how to perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and how to make “SMART” goals for their organizations, as the students planned for the upcoming year. The SMART acronym—which represents specific, measurable, attainable/actionable, relevant and time-bound— acted as an outline by which the student organization leaders could plan collaborative events and activities with other organizations that shared similar goals and missions

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Spring Break is for Learning

This blog post comes from two students who are members of The American Association of Drilling Engineers – Student Section. They shared their learning and growing experiences they had over Spring Break with us!

Most college students are dying for the mid-semester break from class and schoolwork that is dragging them down. The minute students are released for spring break; they are in a hurry to make their way to the beach or head home to catch up with family and friends. This year was drastically different for me. Being over the Gulf Shores scene and consuming one too many adult beverages in the previous years, I decided it was time for me to do something new. Hearing about this great opportunity through the American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) to attend a five-day drilling and production camp at the Shell Robert Training and Conference Center, I quickly made plans for my junior year spring break.

Yes, I know it does not sound as much of a great time as spending the week with your friends having fun at the beach; however, I left with no regrets. Making sure I had one of my best friends come along definitely helped, yet I made a lot of new friends. I saw a lot of familiar faces from my classes that I probably would have never gotten to know otherwise. I really enjoyed this year’s spring break at the Shell facility. Although it was never a “break” from schoolwork, the twenty-seven petroleum engineers and I took advantage of an opportunity of a lifetime. From enjoying the amazing food there to utilizing their wonderful facilities, I was in shock at the amount of information I learned over just five days. Moreover, I was surprised by the amount of fun I was having.

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Just to give you a taste of how the Shell camp worked, here is an overview of our daily schedule. Each day consisted of waking up around seven in the morning to catch breakfast before the day started at eight (this was probably my least favorite part). We would then attend an overview of the subject we were learning that day with presentations for the next couple hours from the excellent Shell facilitators. The next part of the day would include splitting up in three groups to work on the different simulators to receive hands on training of the subject we talked about. This part was by far my favorite. We got ourselves into working the high class drilling simulator, subsea simulator, and separation/production trains. And I am talking about a warehouse filled of equipment just like you would see on a floating production platform offshore. Taking a break for lunch we would rotate roles through the different activities ending our day around four thirty.

I cannot express the amount of fun I had with my peers over this great learning experience. It was awesome to learn so much in such a small amount of time from the top industry trainers. I cannot thank AADE enough for giving me this wonderful opportunity! This definitely beat going to the beach for another year.

Written by John Dwyer
Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Houston, Texas


About three months ago the American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) at LSU was approached with the idea of creating an event to bring students out to Shell’s training Facility in Robert, La.

AADE has been involved with annual events in the past like our Wild Well Control course where we send 30 students to Houston for a three day well control certification. But, this new opportunity with Shell was huge for us. Not only were we sending nearly 30 students for a full week of training, but we got an all-inclusive stay plus hands on training at Shell’s state of the art training facility.

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Now, the process to get the camp planned and funded certainly didn’t just happen overnight. Our officers have never taken on a funding project of quite this scale, and there were times that we thought that the training camp just wasn’t going to happen. But, with dedication and hard work from our team, we were able to plan out the course and secure the funding we needed to send all 28 students.

With a game plan in place and the funding accounted for it was time to get ourselves to Robert, La. The five-day course took place over spring break from March 21-25, but we arrived the evening before in order to get a smooth start the following day.

Throughout the five days we went through lectures and hands on training in well control, drilling, sub-sea processing, and surface processing operations. After learning the different simulation software, we were able to work on live troubleshooting scenarios. This is where our members really started to shine – solving real engineering problems. We were also able to get our hands on Shell’s process training equipment which mimics a surface separation facility where oil is separated from water and gas. Students were able to take control of the processing equipment functions to direct various valves and set pressure limits in order to run a smooth separation process.

All in all this was an incredible learning opportunity for our AADE members. With the success of this first trip, we plan to make this an annual event so more students will have access to these world-class facilities that are sitting in our own back yard.

Written by Brendan Marlborough
Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Westminster, MA
Vice President, AADE at LSU

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