Student Post: Real world lessons

Jun 27, 2014

"Time management is your best friend."

Chaz Mancino (right) is a member of the Formula SAE team.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post by Kettering student Charles ‘Chaz’ Mancino. Chaz is from Fredonia, New York, and is majoring in Mechanical Engineering.If you’d like to write a guest blog post, email jmurphy(at)kettering(dot)edu. 

By Chaz Mancino

Two years. It is not that long. Roughly 10 percent of my life. However, I have both grown and matured perhaps more than I have during the rest of my life during the last two years. Here has what the past two years of my life have taught me, courtesy of Kettering University and its co-op program

Previously from this author:

1. You are not going to be a star chef, or even a chef, right away.

Before I went to college, I was lucky enough to have a mother who made delicious homemade meals for dinner.

Despite her and my father’s best attempts to show me how to cook, I always managed to refuse to do anything but eat the food. Although that seemed like a good idea at those times, after having meals of overcooked noodles, overheated leftovers and tasteless foods, I now know that I should have paid attention when my mother was showing me how to cook properly. However, practice makes perfect, or at least good enough for a college student.

2. When on co-op, do not worry about being that star athlete you were in high school.

I was never the most athletic kid in high school, but I did participate in three varsity-level sports every year from my freshman year all the way through my senior year. I did not realize it then, but that took a physical toll on my body. Add those workouts to an eight hour work day, and they become more difficult. Add them to a forty hour work week, and, unless you are a naturally talented athlete with pre-prepared meals and have the ability to get plenty of sleep, you will want to sleep for days afterwards.

Of course, as I have realized, a balance among getting a good workout in while getting enough rest while still cooking meals and relaxing is possible. It may be different for different people, but I have narrowed down what my body is capable of. Also, since I have more in my life than just school and sports to worry about with things like the Formula SAE team, making meals and cleaning my apartment, a reduced workout may be best so that I have room in my life to do other things.

3. Time management is your best friend.

Just like the previous lesson, time management is the key to living a healthy life. Spending all of your free time on Facebook or watching television is not productive, especially when there is so much more to do. Now, I am not saying to never go on Facebook or watch television, just do it for a limited time. Believe it or not, coffee does not make up for sleep, so get plenty of sleep if at all possible. Have fun as well. Life is too short to always be working. And when on school term, study. Time management. It is perhaps the best skill that life will teach you.

4. Do not be afraid to try new things.

I do not mean try something illegal. I mean try new things that you might not have thought would perk your interest or something that seem hard. Take me, for example. I knew that I wanted to join the Formula SAE team of whichever college I went to. I joined the Kettering University Formula SAE team with just a little bit of knowledge of how and what goes into making a car. After being on the team for two years, I know both of those things including how to fabricate a chassis and how to use machines that I did not know existed. I have been asked to write a blog for Kettering University, run for vice president of the Firebirds Club and become a tour guide since my arrival on campus. Each of those things was new to me, but I said yes to all of them. I did not realize how much of an impact those things would have on me and the lessons that those things would teach me until after I said yes, but in hindsight, I am sure glad that I did.

5. Be outgoing and make new friends.

As a lecturer at a college, my mother would always tell my brother and I to get involved wherever we would wind up going to college. She was right. Walking on campus as a new student can be a little scary sometimes, especially if you are a few hours from home. My best advice? Socialize with different people. Attend club meetings. Get engaged with different activities. You will find out who is going to be your friend and who you do not want to see ever again. Another bonus: your friends in college usually have the same interests as you. Coming from a town with a rich heritage in music, most of my friends back at home were big into music, but my interests were focused around automobiles.

At Kettering University, most of the students have an interest in automobiles, which is probably because of Kettering’s automotive heritage. This made making friends a lot easier because of a common interest. As an upperclassman, invite freshmen to hang out with you or to join a club, organization, or team that you are a part of to make them feel welcome. It makes things a lot easier for them when they know that they do not have to fend for themselves.

There. Five real world lessons that Kettering University has taught me outside of the classroom. Although there are countless more, these are the biggest five that I have encountered. From my experiences and the lessons that they have taught me, I will be prepared to go out into the world after I graduate from Kettering University since it has prepared me for the real world. And those lessons are unable to be taught in any classroom except the classroom known as the real world.