By Peyton Tierney (ENG’21) & Deema Abdel-Meguid (ENG’21)
Freshman Year (Don’t worry about the extra credits!)
Peyton: Freshman year on paper is daunting, and I’m not going to lie it wasn’t easy. Since both KHC and the engineering core curriculum are front-loaded, you will be taking 2-3 more credits than your peers who are either in just ENG or just KHC. The good news is the extra credits are primarily just for the first year, and once you get the hang of it you’re in a better place to deal with the more fun and challenging work that follows in your next few years. Deema and I survived the freshman year workload while also joining clubs and making friends so we are here to tell you that you can do it too!
Deema: Freshman year certainly was not an easy one. I was maxed out on credits, signing up for a bunch of clubs and organizations and trying to maintain the clean pink and grey aesthetic I had chosen for my second floor KHC double. Finding a balance was challenging at first, but knowing I was not the only engineering student going through it helped tremendously. I quickly got into the swing of things. My peers and I encouraged and supported each other to keep pushing through. I distinctly remember Peyton, who was amazing at chemistry, teaching me about moles using a tree and leaves metaphor when we were freshmen. Who knows what would have happened in that class without her…
Eventually, freshman year was over, and it was on to the next. Being in ENG and Kilachand is more work than your major alone, but it is ABSOLUTELY doable and highly worth it. There is a lot of talk about the retention rate in Kilachand when you are an engineering student, but the reality is that if you are willing to put in the work and you value the balanced education Kilachand gives you, you will pull through and you will make some of the strongest academic connections imaginable when you do.
Advising (Plan ahead)
Peyton: I am graduating this year as a KHC, biomedical engineering student with a concentration in nanotechnology and completing the pre-med track while having studied abroad and worked in a lab for 3 years. It takes lots of advanced planning, good time management, and a lot of hard work and dedication, but you can accomplish whatever your goals are. And you don’t have to do it alone, you have a veritable fleet of advisors to help you navigate class registration, extracurriculars, and future planning. I have a KHC advisor, an ENG advisor, and a premed advisor to ensure that I am fulfilling all of the necessary requirements for my degree. All are extremely supportive of my goals and have also helped me plan what research/extracurricular I should strive for as well as helped refine my post-grad plans.
Deema: Throughout my time in the Honors College, I worked with my ENG advisors and my KHC advisors to flesh out my schedule and academic goals. At one point, I wanted to minor in Biology, and even with my Kilachand schedule and requirements, I was able to work with the department to make it possible. I ended up starting a minor in Mechanical Engineering and was able to take a few extra classes and opportunities to work towards it. My advisors were supportive every step of the way.
Finding Balance (Class, Life, Lab)
Peyton: While good time management is essential to managing the busy schedule of ENG KHC student, finding activities you enjoy and friends to hang out with is critical to your success and wellbeing. Growing up with a family who plays a lot of boardgames, I joined the BU Boardgame club my freshman year. Through this group, I met the majority of my friends outside of KHC and ENG and used our Thursday night meeting times as both incentives to finish all my weekly problem sets a day early and to ensure I always had a night off to have fun. Boardgames have been a part of my weekly routine for 4 years now, and I am the current president of the club. Making sure to give yourself a couple of nights off every week despite how busy you are is a great way to ensure you always have the energy you need for your busy schedule. Managing lab work and classes also gets easier starting your junior year as you are finished with the engineering core curriculum and have a greater say over your electives and class schedule. This makes scheduling blocks of time to participate in research a lot smoother. Also, there are a number of opportunities for paid summer/semester research work for engineering students so you can get paid for these hours.
Deema: Looking back on my four years at BU, it was really the people I met who helped me find balance. It was the friends I made in my Dance Theater Group who made the late rehearsals after a long day of academics worth it. It was my colleagues in my research labs who were also up late nights making incredible research happen who helped me push through my own late nights. It was the Brothers I met in my professional fraternity who became my family in Engineering and made me smile during the tougher weeks. It was the KHC friends that I got to bond with during classes that made every moment in Kilachand worth it. Finding balance for me was about finding the right support groups and people who kept me on my toes and reminded me of the activities that I enjoy the most. Balance was about finding moments between classes like walking or eating at the dining hall to catch up with friends.
Making time for the things you love and the people you care about (including yourself) is absolutely key for navigating whatever academic path you choose to pursue. Taking care of your physical and mental health, whatever that looks like for you, will re-energize you and enable you to better fulfill your obligations. The road was bumpy at times, but here I am getting ready to graduate!
Peyton and I have done almost every project possible together when given the choice. We are both BME, so we have been in most of the same classes both within KHC and in ENG. We always worked together well, but it was really the common experience we shared of both being in KHC and having similar ways of thinking that brought us success and honestly a lot of fun while we worked on a ton of deliverables together. Our story is not unique, and many people in ENG and KHC tend to pair up because they are the best equipped to support each other through the entire process.
Peyton: My best piece of advice is finding a group of friends to become your study group. Since we all tend to be busy, we often schedule longer than necessary group meetings or study sessions so that we can also use these work periods to hang out. These study sessions work even when we are not working on the same sets of assignments, it’s just nice to have the blocked off to keep each other accountable and catch up on the week!