We hope that you have a rewarding and stimulating experience at Stevens. You have the opportunity to discuss any problems that you might run into with your Faculty Advisor and/or with your Peer Mentor. In the event that neither of these resources is successful, an additional route is through the Office of Undergraduate Academics or through the School of Engineering Deanís Office.
|Looking Toward an Engineering Future|
Not too long from now you will be looking for a job, it helps to have some knowledge of what engineers actually do in the discipline that interests you? Maybe you have not made a choice yet, you do not have to declare an engineering concentration until towards the end of your third semester. In making up your mind it helps to have researched the engineering professions that are on your short list as to types of industry where this work is done, job functions, professional advancement paths, etc. An engineering degree is also a very good foundation for advancement into non-engineering careers such as in medicine, law, military and other government service. If that is of interest you should explore the requirements that may be needed that can be met within the engineering program and what additional preparation is required.
To help you succeed in obtaining a good job, pre-professional experience is extremely valuable. This can be obtained in various ways, through Cooperative Education assignments, through summer jobs in technical positions and through senior design projects conducted under industrial sponsorship. These experiences can help you more clearly define your interests, provide connections to potential employers as well as help create an attractive resume that extends beyond the academic into the world of work.
It is important for engineers in the future to have a more entrepreneurial outlook. Many of you will become independant professionals or start businesses, other will have to function in small companies where enterpreneurial skills are prized. Even large corporations have had to become more agile in a very competitive global economy and foster intrapreneurship. This is addressed at Stevens through the Technogenesis environment. Some of the rationale and approach is described in Powerpoint slides accessed from the right panel.
Professional licensure ( i.e. becoming a Professional Engineer or P.E.) is an important step that anchors your credibility as a practicising engineer. In some fields where the safety of the public is at stake it is essential. The first step on the path to licensure is the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination (F.E.). This is taken by graduating seniors during their last semester. It is followed by the P.E. examination after some years in suitable practice. It is a good idea to take the F.E exam even if you do not know whether you will go on to take the P.E. later. This is because as a senior the required knowledge is fresh and it is much tougher to come back to it later.
A useful exercise is to do an approximate inventory of the time you spend on various activities. Once you have completed the exercise you can assess how well you are meeting your goals, especially your ability to provide for adequate study time. The latter is an important success factor. Of course how you use the study time effectively is also important.
Create a Weekly Schedule
The next step is to create a detailed schedule for a week and try to use the knowledge from the inventory to adjust the time spent on various activities to obtain the correct balance that you need. You could do this on a piece of paper. The disadvantage is that it is then not easy to change it in response to the inevitable things that pop up during the week to knock your schedule off track. Flexibility to re-arrange the schedule to compensate for the unforseen is a major benefit to maintaining effective time management. Software that allows scheduling can be a major asset in this regard.
Some of you may already use Personal Digital Assistants (PDA's) that allow you to carry your schedule around in your pocket. However, you all have notebook computers that are loaded with Microsoft Outlook. Outlook has a number of functions such as email, exchanging information etc., which you might choose to use, but for our purpose the key ones are the Calendar and the Task List functionalities. You are strongly urged to use Outlook to create a schedule if you do not use another tool.
Using Microsoft Outlook
If you have not used Outlook before, open it from the Start menu by going to Programs and clicking on Outlook in the program list. The start-up wizard will ask you about configuring communications, if you use (and wish to keep) another email tool such as in Netscape, then choose the "No Email" option. Alternately you can configure it to be your default email tool. Apparently the latter was recommended by the Information Systems staff at Freshman orientation, so many of you may be using Outlook already for email. You will then be asked about making Outlook the default for news etc. Again your choice.
Once the Outlook program opens, click on Calendar. It is pretty self explanatory. You can choose to display one day, a week, a month. You can schedule an activity by clicking "New" on the tool bar and filling in the details. Alternately, hold down the left mouse key and drag to highlight the time period you wish to schedule and then right click on this to enter the info. You can create repeat items so they do not need re-entering for every day or week. You can even set an alarm to warn you ahead of an appointment. It is recommended that you print your schedule so it is always handy.
The Task list is another valuable personal management tool. It is your to-do list and can be displayed along side your Calendar. Double click on the Task Pad where it says "Click here to add task". The template that pops up allows details to be added, including priority and an alarm if desired. You can check off tasks that are completed.
Listing tasks and assigning priorities each day to the outstanding ones is a way to get the important things done, not just the urgent ones!!
|Effective Use of the Library|
The S. C. Williams Library is a valuable resource and you should ensure that you know how to effectively use its services. Knowledge of sophisticated research sources will give you a competitive advantage when you graduate from Stevens. The library staff is always ready to help you if you run into difficulties finding information.
The library provides access to trustworthy and diverse scholarly and professional research resources and databases, which you will need to use when you are doing research for your projects and papers. Offering access to academic journal articles, conference proceedings, online handbooks and encyclopedias, online books, patents, standards, magazine articles, and newspaper articles, the online resources will be a tremendous help to you during your college experience and beyond when you enter the professional world or graduate school. If the library does not have something you need, they will get it for you within just a few days through the Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery Service.
When you have questions about your research or about any of the libraryís services, the librarians are available in the library at the reference desk or through email, telephone, and IM reference.
The Library website is:
Success involves a number of components that we have control over (and usually some that we do not).
It is essential to set goals in order to define our direction, both short term and long term, professional and personal. To be successful we need to have this direction.
We need motivation to strive towards our goals, without it the goals are empty and are unlikely to be achieved, we will just drift on a day to day basis, doing whatever we have to do to get by in the short term.
Motivation also is the thing that will allow us to do the other important component, perhaps the hardest, to take action. Goals are just dreams until we take action, even if only in small ways day by day, to achieve the goals.
In order to take action, it is very helpful to structure our efforts through effective time management and to do this in concert with creating a task list with priorities. The task lists allows the short and long term goals to be addressed as specific action items to be built into our schedule. It is also imperative that we differentiate urgent from important when defining task priorities.
Understanding yourself can play a valuable role in achieving your goals. We are each different, no one approach fits all. For example we have different personalities. This influences how we deal with interpersonal situations, stress, problem solving etc. Also people display a number of different learning styles. One person may learn effectively by just listening to a lecture, another, only through doing something physical such as writing out notes. Some are comfortable with learning theory for its own sake, others will only learn it if they can make the connection to a practical application. Understanding yourself can help you find the most effective approaches to success. If your learning style does not fit how a particular Professor teaches, then you can recognize what you need to do to compensate, as even the best professors may not address all learning styles or not all the time.