At the beginning of first year, my sole focus was to become a software engineer. Whenever I told people that I was studying engineering, I was quick to add on the fact that I hated bridges and I couldn’t image why anyone would want to be a civil engineer. You can imagine my embarrassment when a year later I had to tell those same people that I was, in fact, studying civil engineering and that bridges were actually quite cool. As a first year, I didn’t know much about the nine specialisations and least about civil, so how was I to know that statics would become one of my favourite parts of the papers I studied, and that bridges were pretty fascinating?


A change happens within you over the holidays between first and second year. During first year, I always looked around in awe at the groups of older students talking, laughing and studying together, and I dreamed that one day I’d have a group of friends like that. On the first day of second year, I realised that I had become that student I dreamed of being. I had a group of friends, and we were all discussing our holidays and enjoying each other’s company, and I suddenly felt like I was indeed a second year Civil and Environmental Engineering student (I still love throwing that title around).


So far, the biggest difference I’ve felt is the 5 papers instead of 4 this semester, and the huge change in class size from 800 to 270. It’s so much more work, and a real challenge to keep on top of everything and up to date with lectures. The atmosphere is still the same as the one I fell in love with, everyone is still just as friendly as last year and willing to help and it’s so easy to make new friends and catch up with old ones. I also love the fact that my earliest lecture starts at 12 so no more 8am’s!! The downside is having to stay until 5, but I think it’s much better overall. In first year I tried to have at least an hour between lectures and was really worried I wouldn’t be able to run across the university to get to classes on time, but that luxury doesn’t exist this year. Most days I have 3 or 4 lectures and only a one hour break in total, but as everyone has the same lectures, getting between them without a break is really quite easy. I just take snacks to eat between lectures as I always get so hungry.

Finally, the million dollar question; why did I choose civil? I love the idea that one day I’ll have the knowledge and skills to be able to maintain and improve the infrastructure in New Zealand and around the world. I’m literally studying towards a career in making the world a better place, which sounds fantastic to me. I find structures and rocks fascinating, and I love how varied the papers are because it’s both environmental and structures.

I hope I will be able to encourage and inspire you all to choose a specialisation you love as much as I love civil and environmental.

– Laura