We sit down with Lourdes Garcia, a current Biomedical Engineering sophomore from University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Going from an all-girls 30 student high school to a large institution- she talks about her experience.
Tell us a bit about your transition from high school to engineering at UIUC.
“I attended a small all-girls high school with less than 30 people in my year. The size of UIUC’s lecture hall could probably fit my entire middle and high school hahaha.
In saying that, I do feel like UIUC is a big school that is possible to make into a small school with the community. There was definitely a demographic change where my first physics lecture was a minority but my particular bioengineering department is an equal gender split. I also felt at home during the specific Women in Engineering orientation we had in the beginning.”
What is the competitive pace like?
“Definitely really fast-paced in general but the competitive culture depends on the classes you take. The pre-med track is very competitive and that does sometimes limit collaboration so classes associated with that like Organic Chemistry can have a similar feel. However, in saying that there is a huge level of academic support if you make the time and effort. Most professors and TA’s have open-door policies.“
And what about the career scene?
“Networking and the job search is partly based on you and partly on the school. Clubs are the main source of assistance along with career services as long as you are proactive. I would say when going into the club space to make the best use of Quad Day, the first day freshmen get introduced to student organizations. Also, bring a buddy- it can help with the overwhelming range of options you navigate through!”
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