When I first registered into the department of civil engineering in the spring of my freshmen year, I remember looking forward to the types of classes I would be taking; I’ve always wanted to go into structures. When talking to different friends at the time who decided chemical engineering, materials, or a science major they were mentioning the number of labs they would have to take and the long lab reports that came with them. I felt like that was something I was going to avoid being in the CEE department, but I couldn’t be more wrong.
Last semester I had my first big lab class with Intro to Environmental Engineering (CEE 170 is required for all CEE students), which turned out to be tougher than it seems. That was the class where I first learned how to type up an official lab report because the CEE department has specific formatting guidelines that students must follow for lab reports. Now this semester, I have three classes that have labs, Fluid Mechanics, Soil Mechanics, and Materials. Materials has a lab due every week, while Fluids and Soils are about once a month. It just happened that this week all three classes had a lab report due.
On Sunday night, I got together with my partner in Linderman Library at 7 and typed up a 10 page Fluids report summarizing a lab experiment on the force of a water jet stream on different types of plates. We finished around 10 o’clock. Monday afternoon I met my group for Materials in FairMart Library to work on a lab report about the different strengths of the concrete cylinders and beams we had made and tested. After dividing the report into different parts, the three of us put together the 8 page report in about 2 hours. My group for Soils lab didn’t start on it until the night before it was due (Wednesday) because we had been so busy with other reports and structures homework. We split up the work and did sections on our own to combine them. The full report came out to be 11 or 12 pages and I spent nearly three hours on my sections alone, not going to bed until 1:30-2 when I had an 8 o’clock class the next morning. Now all that is over and I can focus on registering for classes for next semester. Looking at the suggested schedule, it looks like I will only be taking one lab in the spring.