Engi(nerd)ing Lifestyle

We love math and science and are proud of it. In a way almost all college students at Illinois are nerds for some subject, and a driven passion for higher education is what makes the technological world turn. I’m not talking about the stereotypical nerd that can’t interact socially or maintain an active lifestyle, but rather that adoration for education that exists within all of us, no matter how deep it is buried. It’s okay to embrace the positive aspects of nerd-dom as long as you maintain a well-balanced lifestyle. Typical events at the University of Illinois are Engineer’s Week and Engineering Open House. These kinds of events on campus are not restricted to engineering, but that’s what I know about so that’s what I’ll talk about.

Engineering Week was in February this year so there were events all week in which teams could participate and build up points. There were free t-shirts and cheap food served in Engineering Hall as well as a semi-formal event at the end of the week. You can head on over to the website to see more pictures. Engineering Open House was early in March and is typically a big deal on the Engineering Quad. I talked a little before about how most engineering classes are cancelled because the rooms are necessary for exhibits and displays. I don’t know if anyone south of Green Street is affected in any way but engineering students at the very least have a free day. As a side note, “south of Green” is a common term for all things non-engineering because if you take a look at campus, all the engineering buildings are north of Green Street whereas the other majors generally use buildings south of Green. If you’re an engineering student you should be well versed in this lingo to discuss topics with your fellow engineers.

Of particular interest during Engineering Open House is the guest speaker brought in to talk during one of the evenings. For all you Discovery Channel lovers out there you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the guests brought in. Previous speakers include Grant Imahara of Mythbusters and Deanne Bell of Smash Lab, and this year, Jeff Lieberman of Time Warp gave a talk. I, like many others, love Discovery Channel shows but am often disappointed the sometimes shallow crowd pleasing tactics used to attract larger audiences. I was therefore very pleased to learn that Jeff Lieberman was much deeper than some guy who wanted to slow a bunch of stuff down and make a TV show out of it. He gave a really inspiring talk about how our perception of the world affects our decisions and our choice to operate outside those boundaries helps us achieve greater goals. These hosts are way more interesting outside of their television personalities in my honest opinion. He also discussed how he incorporated his love of art and his love of engineering together, showing that it is very possible to incorporate your inner nerd with other subjects. At Illinois, engineering isn’t just a curriculum but rather a lifestyle which I honestly love being immersed in it every day, but it’s not the only lifestyle choice available. Come find yours.


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Kenny W

April 5, 2011, 10:30 pm

That sounds awesome, Evan. See you later this year then. Ps I’m from IMSA too.



April 6, 2011, 7:30 am

Hi Evan,
My son is in Jr. High school this yr and thinking to do Computer Engineering in UIUC. We are little confused about AP Physics B exam, should he will get credits towards college graduation? We read that 10 credits that he will get will NOT apply towards graduation then where those 10 credits will apply? towards free elective? is it worth it to appear for AP exam this year? He is planning to take AP PHYSICS C next yr during senior yr.If he does not get 5 on Physics C Then those 10 credits of Physics will help him to take Physics 211 class as prerequisite please help us. thanks.



April 6, 2011, 5:05 pm


AP tests let you bypass certain courses and get graduation credit for them but they don’t count towards your grade point average. There are also placement tests and proficiency tests that students can take. To put it briefly, there are no downsides that I know of to taking AP tests besides the cost of the test.

I hope that helps,



April 7, 2011, 12:47 pm

My son is a Jr, and interested in ChemE, but he also plays baseball, so when are you going to have another Engineering Day for athletic Enginerds?

And like Padma’s kid, he plans to get a 5 on AP Physics C next year.

And lastly, I see that IL has some res college communities, but I didn’t see any for Engineers… will that change anytime soon? My son’s main competitor to IL DOES have a res college for Engineers, so this is an important point.

Thanks for answering.



April 8, 2011, 8:12 pm

Excellent summary of the program especially Jeff Lieberman’s speech.



April 12, 2011, 9:56 pm

J D,

Engineering students at Illinois are so diverse that probably the only thing that ties us all together is our love of engineering. There are tons of student athletes in engineering disciplines as well as on campus in other disciplines. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by res college communities, but the housing system at U of I does have what are called Living-Learning communities for students, there is more information on the housing website