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Hey, I graduated TJ class of 2007. Now I’m at the University of Virginia studying aerospace engineering. I will graduate in May 2011 and you spend your first year doing just regular basic engineering courses. You don’t declare until the end of your first year.
So, I declared aerospace engineering, just because, I knew it was something I always wanted to do, I knew it would be a challenge, and there are a lot of opportunities that open up. For me I knew I was going to be joining the Navy but even still if I didn’t do the Navy there are a lot of cool jobs out there for aerospace engineers.
So like I said the first year courses are basic engineering courses, general chemistry, physics, nothing too terribly difficult, you just have to get used to college life first. But then your second year, third year, the courses start to get a little more difficult. They become more specific and more major related, you get specific physics courses like statics, dynamics, strengths and materials, those will take up a good amount of your time.
Your third year though is when it gets really tough, and I’m not gonna lie, the aerospace engineering major is probably one of the toughest ones there. It’s a lot of homework, a lot of working in groups to try and understand the problems and stuff like that. You’ll spend a lot of your time with your major which at UVA is only about 30 kids. So I know them pretty well. But you know what, I would totally say it’s worth it because some of my best friends are in that major and now, and just through doing well in those classes they got great internships with companies like General Electric, Boeing, Rolls-Royce was a big one, UVA has a good partnership with Rolls-Royce, who doesn’t make just cars. They make jet engines.
And after that your fourth year, your classes still get kinda tough but you got a lot more free time to do what you want and that’s one of the cool things about UVA engineering is that they have a thesis writing program. So a lot of engineering curriculum at other schools they don’t require you to write anything up at the end of it there may be a capstone project but there’s not necessarily a thesis. UVA has a good combination of both.
Aerospace engineering we have a design project and then you have your thesis which can be related to your design project or it can be completely unrelated which gives the students a lot of freedom to explore their own research opportunities which I think is really neat. One thing you do need to be aware of though is that like I said before it’s going to be a lot of work. I live with an aerospace engineer and I think that works out really well. He also went to TJ he’s a good friend of mine from TJ. So I think that’s a pretty good arrangement.
In terms of life at UVA, I love it, I can tell you it’s the best university out there, lots of tradition. You gotta live it, as much as I said homework’s a big deal, and for me I do ROTC there and that just takes up a lot of time you gotta make to take time for yourself as well. And at UVA there’s a lot to do and a lot of people to meet. So that’s definitely one big piece of advice.
For me I’ve lived, your first year you’re required to live in dorms, that was a good experience, I chose a random roommate, turned out that he smelled really bad and he and I aren’t great friends anymore so that’s fine. But after that I told you I’ve lived with my current roommate for the past three years and he’s a cool dude. But we’ve chosen to live off-grounds because that gives you a lot more freedom to do kinda what you want. You can live anywhere, have whoever over that you want, that’s a pretty big perk, the whole parties in your room or whatever, that’s pretty sweet. So other than that, have fun. College is time for having fun. So be serious, get your work done, but also have fun.