Your engineering major doesn’t have to mean end of your other interests
August 5, 2020
Being an international student in engineering can be quite overwhelming. You have a formidable amount of coursework due every week, classes are notoriously difficult and every time you meet someone at a party and tell them your major, you’re greeted with “oof, that sounds rough, buddy,” and you agree with them.
The Grainger College of Engineering is ranked as the 10th best school for engineering in the United States, with its computer science, mechanical, electrical and computer engineering programs being in the top ten in the country, so you know the competition is high as well.
Aside from that, chances are that most of the friends you make are from classes you take, which are mostly engineering centered or from the RSOs you join, which are also major-centered because you know recruiters at the job fair love to see those extra hours on projects related to your major on your resume. With your engineering major taking up such a big part of your time at the University, it can be hard to find people who share your interests outside of the STEM classes you take together.
But based on personal experience, your engineering major doesn’t have to be the only focus of your college experience. Part of the process of applying to different universities is making your college application reflect your strong primary interest in your major and displaying your secondary interests, skills and points of interest. The University of Illinois, being over 6,000 acres in size and the home to over 50,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, has a place for everyone and their own specific interests.
Here are some places and ideas to get you started:
The Canopy Club is regarded as probably the best venue on campus because of its intimate and local atmosphere, but it still has hosted some popular artists like Young the Giant, Led Zeppelin II and events like Urbanite. The Canopy Club also hosts virtual open mics once or twice a week opening up the stage for all kinds of local artists. The Canopy Club is definitely the place for you if you are into performing with an instrument, singing, DJ-ing or just looking to meet new people who share similar music tastes. Either way, participating or attending these events doesn’t take too much of your time or effort.
The Creative Writing Club is an RSO that has been on campus for a while. They have several social events like bake sales, open mic nights and ice cream socials, so you can meet and interact with different people who share a love for creative writing of any kind. They also have writing workshops where you bring in your work and get feedback on it. The great part is you don’t have to attend every single event, so you can attend meetings and events at your own pace with your heavy schedule.
I joined the Daily Illini to exercise my creative writing side and have been here for over a year and a half. At The DI, you can write about sports if you’re a big sports buff, share your opinions on a large variety of things with the opinions sections or just stick to a general form of journalism with the news section. You could even work as a photographer, photo and video editor or even a graphic designer.
Regardless of what your interests are, even with your seemingly overwhelming amount of coursework and extra effort that comes with your engineering major, you don’t have to press pause on your other areas of interest because the University has something for everyone.