Rachel Shen is now about 7 years into her career, and decided to go back to school after she found the MEng program online. Like many other students in the Berkeley MEng program, Rachel was attracted to the structure of the program, which blends technical and leadership courses together.
What is your favorite part about Berkeley MEng?
I like that the MEng program provides a small community feel within a large community; I feel like I know all the MEngers really well because of it.
What do you want out of this experience?
For me I am pursuing MEng to grow my technical depth, and be back in the academic setting; those were my primary objectives. There are tons of options for online coursework I looked at, but I wanted to feel the in-person engagement and interactivity with my professors and peers, which has been really fulfilling.
What is the most difficult part of juggling work, school, and life and how do you deal with/overcome it?
It’s definitely a time constraint, that’s the most challenging part. It’s easier to manage from a desk perspective, I get tuition reimbursements so the company supports me financially and emotionally and lets me go to class when I need to. Also the support of my peers has been very beneficial for my well being; we can relate to each other very well and support each other. I wake up at 6 everyday and get home at 10 usually after class, so that’s hard, it’s difficult to find time to do the homework, but I think it’s something the whole part-time class has gotten better at and helped each other with, it just takes a bit of time to get used to.
Can you tell me something that is really important to you right now?
My personal growth. Being reflective about my personal growth, and what it looks like, and how I can get to where I want to be, is something I’ve been doing a lot of in regards to school, relationships, and work. Normally I’m an extrovert so I don’t think inwards very often, but recently I’ve been making that a priority. Oh also travel! It’s hard to travel with the program but I’m looking forward to summer so I can do that more.
What do you do to rejuvenate or relax?
I like to exercise, so I’m trying really hard to maintain some level of fitness in my life by lifting weights and working out with friends. That’s probably the most relaxing/rejuvenating thing. The rest of my life isn’t super rejuvenating [chuckles]…I don’t recommend planning a wedding, working full time, and going to school part time.