Christopher Rinaldi’s Spotlight Interview

We asked the peer mentors to answer some questions about their time here at UConn and give some simple tips and tricks to navigating the campus. Meet Chris! A Junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a concertation in Energy & Power.

Christopher Rinaldi

What semester is this for you?

6th semester

When are you graduating?

May 2023

What is your major?

Mechanical Engineering

Did you minor in anything or focus on a specific concentration within your major?

Concentration: Energy & Power

Where are you from?

Enfield, Connecticut

Are you involved with any on-campus activities or organizations?

Residential Assistant at Hilltop apartments, Running Club, Peer Mentors.

Where is your favorite spot on campus to study or hang out?

Studying – Homer Babbage

Hanging out – Student Union

What would you say is the easiest part of your academic career at UConn?

My Freshman year Advisor made scheduling and organizing easy.

What would you say is the hardest part of your academic career at UConn?

Prioritizing school over friends and fun is hard. It was also hard for ne to make friends in my classes.

Plans after graduation?

Off-shore Wind Turbines. This summer will be interning at Avangrid at their liquid natural gas division. Plan to work up in the company.

Is there any advice you would give to incoming freshmen (in your major or in general)?

The main piece is that you should make friends in your classes especially on the beginning days of class. Making friends and being able to communicate about homework or find a time to do projects and bounce ideas off of it’s really important and I feel like it’s not really promoted or easy to do so sort of in the first day or week to really establish a group like that. I’d also recommend that you sort of maintain boundaries with the group so that nothing happens that could interfere with your work or your success.

Do you have any tips for navigating campus?

Google maps really helps, I think Apple Maps now has all the buildings in it as well but you know just using that to figure out where your classes are is what I did because the campus is really confusing and it’s not organized right.

How did you handle online schooling vs in person schooling? Which do you like better?

For online schooling I attended to get dressed for class like I normally would segmented my room so that you know at my desk I would be only doing work in my bed I was only sleeping in my chair I was relaxing or chatting with friends on the phone. That help me not get burnt out and to be able to actually do my work when I need to and fall asleep on time. As for in person learning you know you have to make sure that you get up in time to get to class, you have to make sure that you have space do you work so that could mean going to the library having to rent a place in the library something kind of like that. And I like in person learning more because I feel more connected to the professor and to my peers.

How was adjusting to life at UConn like for you? Would you have done anything differently? 

Adjusting to life at UConn was really difficult because I was used to the structure of high school and I tend to stick to my friends from high school who weren’t necessarily my major. So I would have made more friends in my major faster and foster those connections more so that I would not of had to struggle as much as I did.

What resources would you say are the most helpful for first year School of Engineering students?

Peer mentors, the W and Q center, the tutoring center are very helpful resources.

Any fun facts?

I like to run, want to work in Wind Energy, and I am about to be a senior!