First year is all about learning to be resilient

”Believe in yourself.“

Jasia smiling with her iron pin, in front of UBC Robert Lee Alumni Centre and cherry blossoms
Receiving the renowned Iron Pin at the end of UBC First Year Engineering

Jasia Azreen

  • Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Program: Electrical Engineering
  • Campus: Vancouver

Year: 2nd Year

Chat with Jasia


Hello! My name is Jasia and I’m a second-year student in Electrical Engineering (Biomededical Engineering option). I’m an international student here, coming from about 12,000 km away. I’ve spent all my life in South and Southeast Asia, and coming to UBC was the first time I visited a different continent so it was obviously quite daunting at first! However, the welcoming environment at UBC helped me settle in nicely. I was a First-Year Mentee in the Engineering Mentoring Program. It allowed me to connect with an Upper Year Mentor and gain access to resources that helped me transition into university and supported me in choosing my specialization in second year.

How did you decide your current UBC Engineering discipline, or why did you choose UBC Engineering?

I chose UBC Engineering because I really liked that there exist a common, foundational first year. This allowed me more time to learn about the different engineering disciplines before making a decision. As silly as it may sound, my interest in Electrical Engineering was first sparked after watching a TEDTalk on how a temporary “tattoo” could bring hospital care home. The “tattoos" were health monitoring devices that could be interfaced with the human body and used by a hospital to track a patient’s condition. After some thorough research, Electrical Engineering with the Biomed option seemed like the best way forward for me.

What has made your time at UBC Engineering memorable?

I think the best part of UBC Engineering was the sense of community throughout the faculty. I have met a lot of incredibly supportive people over the past year, something I can’t take for granted! Academic-wise, one specific project did stand out. In our last lab of APSC 160, we had to create a code for the Simon Game. It was a long and challenging project that required several hours of coding and debugging- but it was worth every second when the game finally worked! This course was also the first time I ever coded so being able to do something like this was very satisfying.

Tell us about your experience in your program. What have you learned that is most valuable?

I think most people would agree that first year had been like a roller coaster ride. The transition from high school is certainly not easy and it takes time to get used to the norms of university workload. So, one thing I have learnt in the past year is how to cope with the downs, learn from it and quickly move on. Resiliency has proved to be very important overall because with 5-7 courses a term, one simply can’t afford to dwell on one mishap for too long.

What resources or events organized by UBC Engineering have helped you in your academic, professional or entrepreneurial journey thus far?

Revision sessions held by Profs and TAs have been a great place for seeking any last-minute help before midterms/finals. Plus, office hours (highly recommend attending Professor Dragos Ghioca’s office hours for MATH 100) and EUS Mentoring events were also effective in clearing any doubts I might’ve had. For those who are still unsure about which discipline to go for in their second year, attending Engineering Open Houses definitely provides a lot of insights and helps you learn more about the student experience in each specialization.

What is one piece of advice you would share to a student entering UBC Engineering?

There’s no denying that Engineering is difficult and imposter syndrome can get very real at times. It might be frustrating to watch your grades drop from what they were in high school, but believe me when I say that all your peers are probably going through a similar experience. You’re not alone and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Piazza can be a good source for help but don’t hesitate to email TAs/professors if you need further clarification on anything or would like to discuss something in person.

Many of today’s jobs did not exist 10 years ago, and we do not know for certain what the workforce will look like 10 years from now. How do you see the remainder of your studies in the Faculty of Applied Science preparing you for the future of work?

I believe the soft skills I learnt and will be learning during my studies here will be useful in the future, regardless of where I end up working. I’m generally a very shy person and struggled with public speaking in high school, however, I now feel more confident in that area, having done multiple presentations in first year. UBC being the most international university in North America, has also given me the opportunity to meet and collaborate with individuals of diverse backgrounds, a skill invaluable for this increasingly dynamic world.

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