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Karen Elorm Dzandu

Dear First Year Me,

You made it into university! Engineering wow. It’s not easy but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It’s tough but once you prioritise, manage your time and study you’ll be good.

Take good notes in your lectures and try to read them after every lecture don’t pile them up and tell yourself you’ll pull an all-nighter the night before the midterm. Odds are, you’ll have three other midterms that week and you’ll be exhausted (tried and failed in the future).

Do. Not. Start. Your. Project.Essay. The. Night. Before. It’s. Due. It worked in high school but sweetie it won’t work in uni. You probably will get it done on coffee -you don’t drink coffee, do you? Me neither. We’ll survive- but you’re going to get a horrible grade, trust me (once again, tried and failed in the future).

This is the time to step out of your comfort zone, girl. Make friends in your classes, say hi to that stranger, you’ll probably become best friends, or not, no big deal. You’ll need help with your assignments, notes from people, a study buddy. Make friends and keep in touch.

Get involved! You really should stop spending all your spare time in bed watching Netflix. Go out and join clubs, groups and meet people in engineering. Networking is very essential.

Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it. Go to your professor’s office hours and get clarification when you need it. I can personally tell you that seeking help from professors increase your chances of passing the course. Also, your prof may be nice enough to give you that one mark you need to get an A because he can see the effort you put in.

Finally! To be honest this isn’t something you’d want to be told but it’s the truth. Don’t be discouraged if you fail, but then again don’t be comfortable with failure. You only find a better method of studying and doing things when you know which method doesn’t work.

Finally, finally. Have fun! You only have one first year. Don’t spend it buried in books. Do something different, you’ll like it :)

Engineering is fun (and stressful), but at the end it’s worth it.

P.S. You’ll probably be one out of 20 girls in your class of 200 people. Don’t let that bother you.

Rock the world,

Future Me.


I’m Karen Elorm Dzandu, a second year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Ottawa. I love cooking, reading, listening to music and watching Grey’s Anatomy. I love people and chats so feel free to reach out to me.

For more about Karen:

 : [email protected]



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