My name is Khalid Backtash and I am your Undergraduate Engineering Society (UES) President. I am currently in my 4th year studying Structural Engineering and International Development.
As an engineering undergraduate student you are all members of the UES. The UES Council exists to ensure that every society member, that is all of you, has the best undergraduate experience possible. This is a job the executive and the council take very seriously.
- The UES Council puts on social events to further strengthen the community among our Engineering students. Small encounters spark lifelong friendships.
- The UES Council supports clubs where students can embrace their passions and hone true technical expertise. Discovering what you love to do unlocks your potential.
- The UES Council provides academic and career support. You’re enabled to perform inside the classroom and change the world outside of it.
- The UES Council is the voice of students to the Faculty of Engineering at Western. When the school’s interests are aligned with the students’, progress is possible.
- Time and time again, it’s promised that you’ll remember your university years as among the best in your life. We’re here to help keep that promise.
The next few years of your life will be the most challenging and yet the most rewarding years of life. But remember, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!” — Fred DeVito
I will share some of the major keys to success that will help you throughout your journey at Western Engineering. Although no two students will have the same experience or take the same path to the finish line, I challenge all of you to do as many of the following as you can:
- Ask questions — Don’t hesitate to ask your roommates, friends, your Soph, the person you just met in the UES Lounge, your TAs, or your prof for help when you need it. If something doesn’t make sense to you, whether in the classroom or outside of it, ask someone for an explanation. No one can read minds, not yet at least.
- Offer help — If you see someone struggling with a homework assignment or understanding a concept, offer help. By helping him or her you are helping yourself. Always remember, Engineering is a team sport and we are here to help each other.
- Attend all your lectures — It will make studying for tests and exams so much easier since you will be “reviewing” the material instead of learning it for the first time. Attempt all assigned problems and questions not just for the sake of the assignment/test/exam but also for the sake of learning. You don’t want to look back and wish you had paid more attention.
- Meet new people and make new friends — Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people you meet. Talk to the person who is sitting next to you in class or at the same table during dinner in the cafeteria. Organize study groups with your new friends. Come to the UES Lounge as often as you can. I promise we don’t bite and we are super friendly. So friendly you might something is wrong with us.
- Be active outside of the classroom — Join a team or a club that interests you. Volunteer with an organization that you feel passionately about. This is a great way to meet other students on campus who are not in Engineering. Attend information sessions/lunch and learns/workshops. The difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary is that little “extra.” There are a lot of things going on at Engineering and the main campus. It is your job to seek out these opportunities. Hopefully one of you in this room will be standing in front of the incoming class in a few years telling them about all the major keys to success.
- Take care of yourself — I cannot stress this enough. Allocate some You Time in your schedule. This could be anything from going to the gym or to the movies with a few friends, or reading a book, or watching one or two or 10 episodes of your favourite show on Netflix. Get enough sleep. Call your parents or your friend who is not at Western. Having a good network of support will help you ease into University life.
Always try to stretch your comfort zone but never do anything that you are not comfortable with.
Welcome once again to Western Engineering. Welcome home!
“Beginnings are usually scary, and endings are usually sad, but its everything in between that makes it all worth living.” — Bob Marley