Copy pasta of a recent comment I wrote on /r/engineeringstudents of my thoughts on the life of an engineering. Mostly personal anecdotal advice.
Forethought: the comment posted on /r/engineeringstudents pertained to the question of what I enjoyed about studying engineering, specifically, what I enjoyed about a particular low-level course.
For things you don't enjoy, you either have to suck it up (literally) or just create the desire. I am doing Linear Algebra this quarter, and while in the beginning, I didn't see the use or found any enjoyment in solving matrixes of numbers, I did find out Linear Alg. is widely used in video game programming. Thus, I looked more into it, and "created" my own desire.
As for Materials (which is a general course that has 1% relevance to my major), I just sucked it up. I fucking hate it. I see no need in it. I find it overly tedious. I have no interest in learning about molecular structure - but what can I do? It's not like I can do anything about it, right? So either I create the desire for it (which I cannot for Materials), or so I suck it up and just accept the fact that I'll need to do it, and at least put into 50% of the effort I do in my other classes (my last mid-term for Materials was still 7 points above average, so, what does this mean? I'm not doing too poor right?).
Engineering (or life in general) for me is:
1. Creating the desire
2. Developing an insane work ethic while trying to balance my entire life for social, exercise, leisure, sleep, and emotional well-being (which sleep is entirely dependent on, for me)
3. Sleep. I will argue that sleep will affect 90% of people. There is a 10% population that doesn't need it. You're probably not that 10%. So don't fucking skip sleep. Having a clear and emotionally balanced mind during classes, crunch weeks, mid-term weeks, finals weeks, assignment-pile-up weeks is goddamn essential.
4. Exercise. I cannot stress this more. Good exercise affects sleep, affects your mental/psychological/emotional well-being. No offense to the keeners, but sitting on your chair for 10 hours is *not* attractive.
5. Accept the fact that you *will* have to sacrifice leisure/social during the week and week-ends to maximize your study and concentration time.
6. Find friends with similar principles as you. I cannot stress this enough, either. Good friends will motivate you, support you in need, and will provide myriads of emotional/psychological/moral/ethical/technical help than doing alone will ever provide you. "You don't have to do this alone."
7. Be yourself, but don't use "be yourself" as an excuse to not improve. Being yourself means striving to be the best you can and working to become the best you. Be yourself first and foremost, and the friends and relationships will come.
8. This is point is purely about me. The introvert in me. The single most important to me, for my sanity, and for my emotional well-healing, is time alone.
I can type so much more. But doing well in engineering requires you to understand yourself. Understand how much sleep you need. Understand how long it takes for you to get into the studying zone. Understand *WHICH* studying method is best for you. Understand what makes you tick and what doesn't, and apply appropriate techniques to enhance *and* make-up for what you're both good and bad at.
tl;dr: Create your desire. Understand yourself.