Already in the Deep End

If I had written my first post within my first few weeks of being in BME, it probably would have sounded a little more optimistic, but instead, I’m writing this while taking a break from the five assignments (that is no joke) I’m currently working on that are all due at the start of next week and preparing for a test at the same time – somehow, I still love my degree, so I’ll catch you up a little bit on how I got to be here and what I’m actually doing this semester.

Early Days

The first couple of weeks in BME were an absolute treat. We (being the ENGSCIs and BMEs who are all under the Department of Engineering Science) had an epic field trip to Rotorua that involved visiting companies, bonding and white water rafting….yes you read that correctly.

It was an amazing chance to get to know the other 30 people in BME, as well as many of the ENGSCIs who we share a number of classes with in Part II Semester One. I think this field trip plays a really important part in one of the best things about the Department of Engineering Science: the collegiality.  Being in a smaller specialisation means getting to know everyone you’re working alongside well, which makes a really big difference when everyone’s (a) dying a little on the inside because of some upcoming deadline or (b) celebrating because you ended up getting through it with your soul still intact.

Class bonding in Rotorua

So what do we actually do?

Despite the very specialised title, Biomedical Engineering is actually a very broad degree  because the crux of it is the use of any engineering principle in a biomedical application. This means we dabble into parts of many of the other specialisations, which reflects in the papers that we take each semester.

Speaking of, you probably want to know what kind of papers we do and what you’d be spending your days doing if you were to choose BME:

  • BIOMENG221 – Mechanics of Materials

(aka combining fundamentals from ENGGEN121 and CHEMMAT121, adding some new concepts and drawing lots of FBDs)

Essentially looking at how forces affect materials.

  • ENGSCI233 – Computer Systems and Computational Techniques

(aka having fifteen tabs from Stack Overflow open every time you’re working on a lab)

Computer systems and coding in Python, a continuation of ELECTENG101 and ENGGEN131 from Semester Two first year.

  • BIOSCI107 – Biology for Biomedical Science

(aka hide in the back of lecture theatres to distinguish yourself from lots of really eager first years vying for spots in med)

If you know anyone doing first year biomed, you’ve probably heard about this paper. It’s a full on biology paper that does involve a decent amount of memorisation, but makes for a nice break from all the other maths/physics based papers.

  • ENGSCI211 – Mathematical Modelling 2

(aka MM1 but bigger and better)

I took this paper last year and it was probably my favourite paper in the entire year. The course is really well organised and you learn a lot of mathematical bits and bobs that start to pop up in applications in all the other papers.

That’s all from me for now, I’ll let you know how the rest of the semester goes shortly.

-Mairi

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