Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?
I've always loved working with computers. As a kid, whenever I had free time, I'd be tinkering with physical components or trying to understand how they worked. I knew I had found my passion- as working with computers has that logic aspect that I love, but also the ability to bring creativity into the mix. Computer Engineering is a good choice for those who aren't sure if they prefer hardware or software. In this day and age, your degree name does play a role in hiring. So, even though Electrical Engineering is the same program for
the first 2 years here at Waterloo, companies do have their own bias. As for choosing Computer Engineering at UW, it was the co-op which was the number one deciding factor. You just can't get this level of hands-on experience while earning your degree. I would have never thought 2 years ago that I would be working at huge companies at 18. This experience is the edge you'll have once you graduate and compete against others.
What do you think is special about Waterloo's campus life?
Overall, Waterloo is more academic than social. The community is great, and you have so many smart and talented minds surrounding you, it makes you work harder. Engineering isn't high school where you were the smartest in your class. You're all on an even playing field here.
Even with that said, I have yet to have a poor
experience with anything around campus. Food is decent, buildings are very nice (for engineering specifically), and everyone respects eachother.
If you could go back in time, knowing what you know now, what would you tell your former self upon preparing for the application?
First I would tell myself to start doing side projects. Especially for software, it's so easy yet so beneficial to have tons of projects under your belt. You'll get a crazy edge on your classmates when applying for coops- as most 1A students don't have tons of projects, if any at all.
Partially contradicting what I said above- I would tell myself to make sure to have an amazing summer. The summer before University, especially if you're going into a time-consuming course, will mean the end of these summer breaks. With UW engineering, you're either in school or working, so go take that trip this summer. Spend some cash to go hangout with your friends for a week. Money comes and goes- have fun now.
How would you describe your first year at Waterloo?
My first year at UW has been an interesting one. My first semester was all on campus, and was a constant grind. From September to December, you don't get many breaks. But when you get that test back, and see you did well, nothing can beat that sense of pride. Hard work pays big time in this program. Be ready to put in the hours.
My second term has been purely online. Things are a lot more relaxed, but since all the content is available at the start of the week, it's easy to push yourself to burnout. Find a way of tackling the courses that works for you and stick to it.
How would you describe the workload and work-life balance?
You'll have 35 hours of class a week. You should and are recommended by the university to put in the same amount outside of class into assignments, homework etc. This means another 35 hours a week on work.
Put in a nice format:
30 hours a week in class
30 hours a week doing homework
60 hours a week sleeping (7-8 hours a night of sleep, but good luck with that)
15 hours a week for meals
Total: 140 hours (there are 168 hours in a week)
This leaves you with around 28 hours for anything else you please.
For a UW Comp. Eng Student...
I hope this helps people who are deciding to apply or just want insight into the program.
I 100% would recommend ECE at the University of Waterloo. The amount of knowledge I have gained in 1 year has been insane, and the friends I've met will be lifelong relationships.
Just be ready and committed to keep grinding.
Feel free to connect with me and ask any questions you may have.
A very special thank you to our interviewee...
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