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10 GIFs That Showcase What It's Like Being A Woman In Engineering At UIUC

It's a man's world...or is it?

UIUC Engineering

Engineering is hard without all the gender stereotypes. Add in all the dumb shit we grew up hearing, and it's easy to forget how we got this far. Don't get sucked into the stereotype and don't let anyone tell you that you don't deserve to be here. You got this!



The guy-to-girl ratio is no joke. I was the girl who had like maybe two guy friends through high school, but since I've been here 90% of my friends are dudes. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes you just need a girls night. There's nothing like talking the night away with your favorite babes.

2. Lord give me the patience...

Eye Twitch

Lord, please find it in you to give me the patience to deal with all the mansplainers. Because the ratio is so bad (only 25% of engineers at UIUC are women), there are more than a few boys explaining things you already know. Find it in you to forgive them..... or don't.

3. Where is the time?

Where's the time?

It seems like time moves fast in college. But in Grainger, that's the biggest understatement. You go to sit and finish some physics homework after class and next thing you know its midnight. They were not joking when they said people live at the engineering library... perks of being open 24 hours? But big PSA from all of us on the 4th floor: please go home and shower.

4. Party school...

Party Hard

"Go to a party school," they said. "It'll be fun," they said. When you're doing homework until 11 p.m. on Fridays when the rest of the school started partying on Thursday, you'll feel differently.

5. ...or engineering school?


But then, at your 10 a.m. on Monday, you'll be thankful to be one of the 5 people in the room not nursing a hangover. Plus you'll also be prepped when that midterm finally rolls around. We stan a responsible sister!

6. Embrace the comfort clothes


With all-nighters becoming an every night kinda thing, feel free to let sweatpants become your go-to. One of the perks of living in cold country is that no one can judge you for frumpy clothes because it's too damn cold to not layer. If you still want to try to look good, the best piece of advice my brother ever gave me was, "if you care so much about how you look at least throw a scarf," and honestly with Chambana's weather, that's some pretty solid advice.

7. Where do you even start?


With all our goals and ideas, it can be really easy to let long-term objectives take the back seat when tasked with more immediate deadlines and plans. If you want that internship this summer or that research position next semester you have to start setting the foundation for those opportunities now. Make sure you schedule time into your week to touch base on your bigger goals. Focus is key!

8. I...am...going...crazy...


With all that goes on in college, it is no surprise that it feels like you're going insane half the time. Just when you figure out your sleep schedule, midterms roll around, and then it's homecoming weekend, and then more midterms, and then Halloweekend. All of this plus labs and quizzes and homework and projects. Don't even get me started on career fairs. How do you stay on top of things? Good question, I'll let you know when I figure out the magic formula for that. But one way to slow down the pace of college is to take time to do the things you love like a hobby.

9. How do I even ask for help?


Engineering is hard enough when you're not beating yourself up about not understanding topics. I know I grew up always feeling pretty smart and was the top of my class in high school. I mean we all were, that's how we got here. Sitting in lecture and not understanding what the professor is saying can be nerve-wracking, even more so when a midterm is coming up. I know I felt like I was the dumb one here for a while. I talked to my friends about it too and a lot of them agree.

When everyone around you seems to get it and most people around you are boys, it's easy to remember times when people said that we could never make it as girls in STEM. But please remember that you are smart. You can do this. Just because you are struggling now doesn't mean you won't ever get it. Reach out to the people around you, go to office hours, visit CARE, and at the end of the day know that you are making a difference just by being here. By being a woman in engineering at one of the best engineering schools in the country, you are setting the stage for generations of women who come after you.

10. Finally believing in yourself

It can be really easy to start believing that you don't belong here. There aren't that many others like you here. These classes are hard. The people around you seem to get it much easier. But know this: you made it here for a reason. This is not a joke. You have what it takes, you just have to believe it. I decided to be an engineer because some boy in my AP Chem class told me that he was the reason I passed the class when I did all the work all year. If he had the audacity to think that he was better than me with zero work or talent to back it up, I owed it to myself to realize that I could do whatever I wanted because I put the work in. It's much easier to forget that now that we are in the big bad world of college. Do it for the next generation of girls that grew up being told that engineering is a man's field. Do it until that percentage of women in engineering is a solid 50, year after year after year. Here's to us!

Get connected with these groups on campus dedicated to girl power in STEM:

WIE (Women in Engineering)

SWE (Society of Women Engineers)

WECE (Women in Electrical and Computer)

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