Why Majoring in Mechanical Engineering is so Useful

I’m not just talking about the breadth of jobs available to mechanical engineers to choose from post-graduation, but I’m also talking about the opportunities available for you in college.

When I talked to alumni who graduated from the college of engineering, most of them who graduated from mechanical engineering had nothing but gratitude for what the degree helped them with in joining the work force. And when I spoke with those with a degree in civil engineering, most of them claimed that they wish they had done mechanical.

This is all from a job I used to have, by the way, the Lehigh Liners.

But during your time at Lehigh, it’s definitely for your benefit to try to pursue some minors along with your major. There are a plenty of minors for which you only need to take one or two extra classes, such as aerospace engineering or something like that.

So keep your eyes open for opportunities, there are bound to be a lot of them if you major in Mechanical Engineering. I’m not even selling out here or anything, this is for real.

Creating Solid Bodies From Multi Views

A major concept in NX or CAD modeling is the ability to look at an object from different angles, sketch out the different views (top, front, right, back, etc.), and then sketch a solid body either on paper or in NX.

While the concept is easy, when the shapes begin to get a bit more complicated, things start becoming much harder. It’s important to label notable edges/vertices to keep track of where your different faces connect with each other.

While it may be tedious, if you approach it diligently, you can get through these sorts of problems without breaking a sweat. Here’s an example of something we had to do.

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If your in ME10 and you had this homework assignment and your sitting there thinking “Wait, this guy got it wrong,” I purposely put an altered version in to avoid being cited for plagiarism or whatever. If any of you guys even read this blog.

“Minimum GPA”

Two words (or one word and an acronym) that strikes fear into any prospective candidates for universities, jobs, internships, or what have you.

Sometimes, you feel comfortable because you’re well above the required GPA, so you have nothing to worry about. Other times, you believe you have zero chance of getting in because your GPA barely met the required GPA.

Well, you could be wrong in both cases.

As I’m starting to look through internship opportunities, many websites have a preferred GPA, but even if you don’t make the cut, if you shore up your weaknesses with other activities, such as leadership positions, being involved in different clubs/societies, and just making sure you put your name out there.

Likewise, if you have a 3.9 GPA and you don’t do anything on the side, like literally nothing, you might actually lose the position to someone with a lower GPA but demonstrated that they know how to function in the real world, outside of an academic setting.

Because after all, once you’re in the job market, especially as an engineer, people don’t care about whether or not you had a high GPA in college, they care about whether or not you can get the job done.

Long Term Planning

So the first of our midterms are still nearly three weeks away. However, to avoid a repeat of last semesters disaster, it’s probably a good idea to start studying already.

Rather than cramming everything into three days of studying, or even worse, one day, it’s better to just study one hour a day. Small increments of studying helps you remember each specific subject better. Then, study one hour a day, every day, until one day before the midterms, where you review the key points of each subject you’ve covered.

I’m being pretty hypocritical here, lecturing when I haven’t even done what I just said you should do. But I think it’s solid advice, as it’s what every professor and every teacher I’ve ever had recommend me.

 

Job Fair

The Job Fair was held yesterday, and as a sophomore, it’s not really required for you to go. If you’re a freshman, going is more often than not just a waste of time.

However, with nothing better to do, I decided that I would take a look. Of course, without too much experience under my belt yet, and the fact that I’m still unsure about my future, I didn’t get too much out of it, but seeing all the companies there is reassuring in the sense that there are so many available positions in so many different fields after you graduate.

In addition, getting to see graduate students and what they do was super interesting, as it’s a path that I’m considering. Not to mention that Lehigh also has some of the best undergraduate research programs to get you started on that path.

Also, just getting to talk to the other students there about internships, summer programs, and all the other opportunities available to Lehigh students was very enlightening.

Sorry if the post was a bit general, but to get a better sense of it, you should definitely go. This goes double if you’re a junior or senior. At that point, it’s pretty much required for you to go to the Career Expo.

Problem Solving

One thing that every engineering class has taught me so far is how I should approach my problems. Not in the sense that the classes tell you exactly what to do, but each class emphasizes that each problem must be approached methodically.

For example, in Thermodynamics, for every problem, you start by extracting all the information you can out of the question. You start with the knowns and the unknowns. Then you draw the picture or Free Body Diagram, then you write out all the equations that relate the variables to each other. Then, you manipulate the equations and then plug in the numbers needed.

Everything has a certain rigidity to it, but that doesn’t make it boring, it makes it efficient. And not everybody has the same method to approaching a problem, everyone has an approach that works the best for them.

Even though it’s kind of stereotypical for engineers to try to make everything as efficient as possible, it’s not exactly only engineers that do this. Mathematicians, physicists, and many other scholars all have a method in which they approach to solving a problem, and more often than not, the methods overlap.

So instead of just dumping numbers down on your paper, writing everything out in an organized fashion not only speeds up the process once you get used to it, but it also makes it harder to make careless mistakes.

ME104-Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is an integral part of an engineers curriculum. Thermodynamics, summarized, is pretty simple: it is a study of how different types of energy such as heat, mechanical, electrical, etc., interact with each other.

When I first found out I needed to take Thermodynamics, I wasn’t the happiest guy around. But now that I’ve gotten two weeks of classes down, I’m beginning to appreciate the importance of the class.

While not the most challenging in terms of memorizing formulas and solving complicated problems, thermodynamics helps you gain an understanding of how energy creates work, one of the simplest concepts in physics.

And although I hate heat diagrams and anything that even remotely has to do with Chemistry, it’s important to understand why you have to take certain classes. Lehigh’s College of Engineering didn’t get its reputation by clowning around and forcing students to take useless classes.