It was really scary for me to jump right into the School of Engineering when entering my freshman year at Tufts. Like most of my peers here, I didn’t have any experience with engineering past the usual math and science classes I took in high school. I felt like I was walking in blind to a major that I wasn’t sure I would like, but the idea of engineering has always excited me. I want to build machines to help people in very specific ways. I enjoy working through challenges and thinking creatively, but quite honestly, I have never been sure what engineers do to get from point A, identifying a problem, to point B, building something to fix the problem.
All first-year engineers must enroll in an introductory engineering class. These classes are supposed to teach potential engineers about the engineering design process. Basically, I went into the year thinking that if I didn’t like the engineering process, then I didn’t have to be an engineer! The class allows engineers to explore more deeply about what interests them.
The class options range from specialties in Music & Art of Engineering class to Inventing Smart Toys for Kids, the class I am currently enrolled in. They can be geared towards different majors within the school, such as chemical or mechanical engineering, but it isn’t necessary to take a class in the major that you want to go into. My friend Kat is in the Music & Art of Engineering class as a mechanical engineering major, even though the professor is from the Electrical Engineering department. Her final project is to create her own instrument! My class is called Inventing Smart Toys for Kids. To me, this class echoed everything about the engineering design process that I wanted to learn.
In Smart Toys, I’ve learned how to use my computer to program an app on my phone and how to use tools that I definitely should have known how to use but never learned, like a hand drill. In my first week, I learned how to use a complex programming language called LabVIEW to show what time the 94 bus is coming to the Science and Engineering Complex using an app on my phone. I just recently finished a project that involved using a laser cutter to create my very own MBTA bus that displays the time that the real MBTA bus is coming to the Hill!
Engineering is about going above and beyond. My partners and I decided to make our bus decoy into an actual toy bus that moves around. We weren’t prompted to do this, but the challenge of it excited us. This is the essence of the EN1 classes. It helps engineers discover the things that excite them about Tufts. I know for certain now after only three weeks of classes, that I want to be in the school of Engineering.