What is it like to be a girl in Mechanical Engineering? This is one of the two most frequent questions I get asked nowadays. The other being “Why Mechanical?” Well, let me break it down for you. Yes, I am one of the dozen girls in part two Mechanical Engineering but that doesn’t make me any different to the other Mechanical Engineering students. We are all in the same boat, each facing the challenges that come with stage two engineering courses. Part two has been a new beginning, one that has opened my insight into the field of Mechanical Engineering.
I chose Mechanical Engineering as I wanted a job which encases my skills and interest in design. Mechanical Engineering has provided me with just that. Being given the first design project for the semester one design paper on the first lecture was a bit of a shock. Soon the shock wore away as the Adrenalin of getting to design a robot took over. In the five weeks, we were given for this project, I feel like I have learned so many skills, skills which I can put towards the next project which is bigger and meatier than the previous. Amongst all the fun of learning the key design principles of Mechanical Engineering, part two Mechanical/Mechatronics students get the choice of actually building their robot and competing in the Auckland Regional Warman Competition! Guess who put their hand up for the challenge?
Apart from the design paper, part two Mechanical Engineering students also take the general math paper, a physics cum materials paper and an elective electronics paper during semester one. Although the electronics paper came as a surprise to me, having not expected to learn electrical/electronics material in my Mechanical Engineering course, it has worked out to be a pleasant surprise. The electronics labs consist of learning to program VEX robots! What makes it even better is that Hazim Namik (“best engineering lecturer of all time”) takes the VEX module for the course! The physics/materials paper started off slow, with the initial weeks mainly being the revision from Part One. The course content rapidly graduated onto looking at the more complex intrinsic behavior of materials, giving students a stronger skill set for making refined material choices for future design projects.
It was around about the middle of the first semester that I came face to face with the sudden realization of how interrelated my courses are. That feeling was accompanied with the adrenaline of knowing that I am this much closer to my dream job in the industry. From my experience till now, the best tip I could give to upcoming second years is to gain control of your “Part 2 blues” early on and let to your passion take charge of your career path for the coming year.