What to Expect
Construction management students need to have top-notch problem-solving
"The best thing about this program, and engineering in general, is the
thrill of solving problems," says Paul Carr. He studied construction management
at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
"To model what happens every day in the world around us, in mathematical
terms, arriving at solutions to the physical challenges of civilization is
something that makes all the hard work worthwhile, knowing someday you will
make a difference because of your education, training and talents."
Make no mistake about it, it will be hard work. "There is no typical
day," he says.
"However, the approach to an engineering education can and should begin
early each and every day with a start right after breakfast. There is always
a new assignment or one yet to be completed or be improved, so expect a
full day that will run into the evening hours with research and papers."
Former construction management student Karla Knight agrees that it's a
hectic life. "School can get pretty busy. At these times, it's important
to use your time productively."
Carr says he spent three to four hours a day on homework that consisted
of projects, lab work and lots of reading.
Knight says she spent between two and three hours per night on homework,
mainly assignments. "These were usually anywhere from two or five or 15 questions.
Kind of like math problems, but much more complicated. Often, one question
would take two hours to answer and be two pages long.
"There are also lab write-ups to do. These usually weren't too hard.
Then there's the occasional paper to write, [but that's] not very common in
most classes," she says.
Carr believes the rewards will make the hard work worthwhile. "You
will get out what you put in," he explains, "and when you will someday be
entrusted with the lives of the people traveling across the bridge you designed,
or working in the office building you constructed, it is critically important
to both you and those occupants and travelers that you have made the effort
to become an excellent engineer."