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7 Things Only Chemical Engineering Students Rant About

By Jade Alexander

Updated January 14, 2022 Updated January 14, 2022

Life isn’t easy when you’re a chemical engineering student. After all, you’re studying one of the most challenging subjects imaginable. Even if you’re going to end up with a dream job afterwards, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you would change if you could.

1. Why does there have to be this much math in every course?


2. You literally cannot escape from the subjects you used to hate


You still have to take courses you thought you’d seen the last of when you chose your major, such as physics, computer programming or numerical methods. The course assignments involving these are the ones where it takes hours and days just to complete one question. Everyone, especially your professors, will try to convince you to like it and point out how useful it will be in life but your suffering grades and complete lack of understanding say otherwise.

3. You’re lulled into a false sense of security by every single exam


At some point, you’ll have a fantastically nice professor who was incredibly good at teaching your course. As a result, you’ll feel so confident that you'll ace all the assignments and quizzes and walk into the exam room feeling ready to conquer it. That’s when the final exam actually shows you how much you don't know. Don't blame the professor, blame your foolish pride.

4. You don’t have a social life anymore 


Fridays are for fluids, Saturdays are for stats, and Sundays are for uhh…nothing else starts with S in the syllabus so…more stats? Pretty much your entire weekend is defined by what’s in your syllabus.

5. You have to forget reaction chemistry


Say goodbye to everything you enjoyed in high school chemistry because chemical engineering is nothing like it. No biochemistry, analytical, nuclear, or inorganic chemistry where we’re going. Instead, it’s orgo, aka organic chemistry. Speaking of which…

6. Organic chemistry will make you cry


It must be something in the acetone.

7. Your 4th year design project 


Well you chose engineering for a reason, didn't you? This is the pinnacle of your undergraduate studies. The one time you actually get to engineer something and get graded for it. This brings together all your personal creativity, scientific training and problem solving skills you've developed within the past four years of education. Why wouldn't we want to talk about one of our greatest achievements in our entire university career?

Maybe the fourth years talk a little too much about it though… 


Are you a chemical engineering student? Can you relate to these points, or have any others to add? Have your say in the comments below. 

This article was originally published in March 2017 . It was last updated in January 2022

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Written by

Jade is a pescatarian, a violinist in the UWaterloo orchestra, and in a Catholic Christian Rock Band. She's currently on co-op, doing an internship in a chemical plant where she has to wear steel-toed shoes. she never thought she'd have to wear the shoes her dad wears, or be part of a real band. Her lifelong bucket list includes playing alongside Bruno Mars and/or Adele and being on a gameshow.

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