My Second Year BSE Fall Experience in the Engineering Sequence and Reflection

After attending my final class of the semester, the feeling that I was done with my BSE requirements finally settled in. From now on, as a COS BSE major, I would have much more flexibility in my class options with my prerequisites complete. Having written both My BSE Fall Semester Experience in the Engineering Sequence and My BSE Spring Semester Experience in the Engineering Sequence (which I recommend you read first before reading this), I wanted to write a final article to reflect on my experience now that I’ve officially completed the Engineering Sequence. To reiterate one last time, the Engineering Sequence is a set of five courses intended to fulfill the engineering degree requirements through an introduction to engineering fundamentals in the context of real-world applications. BSE degree requirements include four semesters of math, two semesters of physics, one semester of chemistry, and every first-year student is required to take one semester of writing seminar and fulfill various distribution requirements for general degree requirements. This semester, I took the final course in the Engineering Sequence, Multivariable Calculus, which means that along with taking chemistry, I have completed my BSE degree requirements.

screenshot of EGR 156
Course Description of EGR 156 for Fall 2023
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A Guide to Presentation

Have a presentation for one of your courses and unsure where to start? Or maybe you need to present for a research symposium? During your undergraduate years, you will come across many times when you may have to give a presentation to present your research for coursework or perhaps for an individual research pursuit. Here are some tips to help you present easily and effectively! 

individual giving a presentation to an audience
Give the most nerve-free presentation with these tips!
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A Guide to Tackling a Research Journal

Whether you’re jumping onto the wagon of a research project or are pursuing a research assignment in a course, professors will often assign readings of journal articles as a way to familiarize students with ongoing research in the field. However, for newcomers to a topic, tackling the understanding of a literature review can often be difficult with the influx of new vocabulary and complex, dense information on the topic all at once. Here are some tips on how you can tackle the difficulty of journal reading. 

Picture of someone writing. that is meant to represent annotations while dissecting a research journal.
Reading a research journal and understanding its key points can be achieved with just a few tips of advice! 
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Reading Courses: A Guide

As course selection begins, you might find yourself searching endlessly through the Course Offerings webpage, trying to craft the perfect schedule for next semester. You’re probably weighing a number of different factors— the professor, the class topic, the reading list, the different requirements it fulfills— and trying to balance these in the best way possible.There is another possibility here, which you can’t find in the course offerings: reading courses. Not advertised on department websites or listed with course offerings, reading courses are some of Princeton’s hidden academic gems. The University defines a reading course as a specially designed course not normally offered as part of the curriculum that is arranged between a student and a faculty member. These courses count for academic credit, and focus on a topic of the student’s choosing. If you’ve ever dreamed about designing your own course, this is your opportunity.

Students walk across McCosh Courtyard at Princeton University.

McCosh Courtyard in November

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TigerJunction vs ReCal: How I Plan My Courses for the Next Semester

TigerJunction Logo

It’s always a mixed bag of emotions when it comes to course selection. Personally, I find the period between when the next semester’s courses are released and before the course selection date to be especially fun—I can play around with the different ideal schedules (potentially having no-class Fridays and no night classes), look ahead to the rest of the courses that I’ll be taking during my time here, and discover new classes. Whether people end up choosing to take classes to fulfill requirements, classes that interest them, or classes that could teach them important skills, an important aspect in choosing courses for the upcoming semester is course planning. TigerApps is a group of student developers that builds apps to improve the campus life experience for Princeton students. One of the TigerApps created is ReCal, which is the most popular way to aid in course planning and ensure a smooth process for course selection. Recently, TigerJunction ReCal+, an application for course planning inspired by ReCal and designed to be an “improved” version, has made its rounds among students. As course selection season is upon us, I wanted to take the opportunity to show how I plan my courses for the next semester and provide an in-depth comparison between ReCal and TigerJunction ReCal+ to inform how other students plan their courses for the upcoming semesters.

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In a Mid-Semester Slump? Here are Five Tips to Bounce Back from Burnout

Unfortunately, many of us will experience burnout sometime during our four years here at Princeton. For those of you who may not have heard this term before, the definition is in its name: burnout involves losing that spark of motivation that previously might have kept you pushing forward through your workload. Keep in mind that burnout is distinct from things like anxiety or depression that may also be impacting your academic performance in a similar way. If you think you are struggling with these instead, you can contact Princeton’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) to seek longer-term professional help. They also offer urgent consultations for more immediate situations. Burnout specifically deals much more with the ebbs and flows that can happen as stress builds over the course of a semester. Thankfully, there are many ways to combat and minimize the negative effects of burnout. If you have a few overdue assignments, slept through a few lectures, or just generally feel you are not quite as on top of things as you may have been when the semester began, here are some of my tips for getting out of an academic slump.

Photo of girl sitting on grass, leaning against bench, face covered by open textbook.
These tips might be of use if you’re having a particularly tiring week!
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My Personal Tips for Success in Writing Seminar

Even before stepping foot on campus, I had already heard of the challenges that came with the Writing Seminar, the first-year writing requirement. Students are able to rank by preference several Writing Seminars covering different topics, which have included topics such as WRI 116: Sustainable Futures and WRI 159: Gray Matter. In each of these Writing Seminars, students develop their writing skills through a research focus, writing three research papers throughout the semester. As Writing Seminars are such a widely discussed topic for first-years and there is an abundance of advice from juniors and seniors floating around, I wanted to write a more detailed article specifically about what I did to learn how to write.

flowchart
Picture of the flowchart I created for my R2; tip #3, use whiteboards!
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The “Right” Way to Rank Writing Seminars

Course selection is coming up! Picking classes that you are really excited about can be one of the best academic moments of the semester. Doing as much research on a course as possible can help to ensure I will enjoy a professor’s teaching style, which in my opinion is just as important as being interested in the subject matter. As those of us who have dabbled in the social sciences know, survey data can be a great method for evaluation, which is why when it comes to picking courses, I tend to weigh student ratings pretty heavily. 

Writing Seminar enrollment infographic with steps for ranking top 8 writing seminar choices.
This helpful diagram from the Writing Program website outlines the steps of the writing seminar enrollment process.

This strategy for course selection, however, is far from perfect. Now that I am more than halfway through my time at Princeton, I am all too familiar with hoping to read the reviews for a course only to discover that there aren’t any. The first time I had this experience was in the fall of my first year when I was trying to pick a writing seminar. 

That’s right, first-years! For those of you who are taking your writing seminar this spring, you will soon discover (if you haven’t already) that there is no way to see the feedback provided on these courses by previous students. On top of the lack of access to course evaluations, there is no add/drop period for writing seminar; once you get your assignment, you will have to stick with it. So where should you start when trying to decide how to rank your top choices?

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My BSE Spring Semester Experience in the Engineering Sequence

After having written “My BSE Fall Semester Experience in the Engineering Sequence”, I wanted to continue writing about my experience in the spring semester portion of the sequence; if you haven’t read my first post yet, go read it! To reiterate, the Engineering Sequence is a set of five courses intended to fulfill first-year engineering requirements through an introduction to engineering fundamentals in the context of real-world applications. BSE degree requirements include four semesters of math, two semesters of physics, one semester of chemistry, and every first-year student is required to take one semester of writing seminar. The Engineering Sequence begins at the Integral Calculus (Calculus II) and the Physics Mechanics level, meaning that it will cover for the two required semesters of physics and the four semesters of math in five courses throughout three semesters. Read on to learn more about the spring sequence!

  1. EGR 153: Foundations of Engineering: Electricity, Magnetics, and Photonics
screenshot from course page. Link to course description in subheading.
Course Description of EGR 153 for Spring 2023
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A Look Inside TigerResearch: A Gateway to Princeton Professors’ Research Interests

Last year, I wrote an article on The Creation of TigerResearch, a platform created by three Princeton undergraduates (Vivek Kolli ‘24, Eric Ahn ‘24, and Alex Zhang ‘24) to help students to easily discover Princeton professors and learn more about their research focuses. Through my interview with Vivek, I was able to see how students at Princeton take their entrepreneurial ideas and bring them to life, creating new solutions that help other students become more engaged with research on campus.

Image of the TigerResearch homepage

TigerResearch homepage welcome message

This year, as I continue to explore my own research interests, I find myself returning to TigerResearch. I’m interested in learning more about my professors’ research backgrounds, particularly in what their latest and current work is on and how it relates to the discussions and material we cover in class. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to delve deeper into TigerResearch.

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