Engineering Science is hard. But it’s hard for a reason

When you sign up for Engineering Science, you’re not signing up for a garden-variety degree. You’re stepping into a high-performance program. ‘Challenge’ doesn’t give this specialisation justice. EngSci will stress-test you and destroy your soul if you’re not on the ball. Everyone has a course that takes a sledgehammer to their stomach. While it might differ from person to person, everyone has at least one course that is the bane of their existence.

Take ENGSCI 233 (Computer Systems and Computational Techniques), as an example. I have a bipolar relationship with this course. Why? Each week, we get a lab worth 4% of our final grade. In the later weeks, we often spend 15 – 20 hours grappling with this lab. This isn’t a fucking exaggeration. For someone who strives to ruthlessly optimise their study time, the ‘GPA per hour’ is a nightmare. What throws salt into the wound is that these labs are relentless. This happens every week. There is no time to breathe during the continuous onslaught of labs and assignments.

Keep in mind that this does not apply to everyone. I have friends who can dramatically undercut my times down to five hours. Meanwhile, these same people are stumped by BIOMENG 221, ENGSCI 211, ENGSCI 255, or even electives like MATHS 255. Since we study a wide range of topics (programming, maths, mechanics, operations research, materials, electronics), there’s a high chance that you will have a playground bully.

Engineering Science is hard. But it’s hard for a reason

The department aren’t producing graduates. They’re producing a tight-knit team of highly motivated individuals, immune to countermeasure and masters of ANY problem that they come to wrestle with. You can’t make strong world leading problem solvers if you do not stress test them (something you’ll understand in 2nd Sem). Not only do you become masters of the different topics taught, you develop the ability to stay calm under pressure and the fearlessness that is critical to tackling insanely difficult projects. You can’t slay dragons if you’re scared of getting burned. You can’t be scared of failure.

To help with our training, we have a squad of the best lecturers dedicated to transforming us into lean killing machines. Jon Pearce is still number one, but second place is hotly contested between Colin, Tony, David…..

Another lifeline are your other students. EngSci and BME have the highest GPA walls to climb, so only the best get in. The calibre of your friends in Part Two, Three, and Four is the divine motivator to excel at the highest level. The fact that EngScis often outnumber Civil students on the Deans List is an impressive example of this. What’s more important is that they make excellent kindred souls to share euphoric victories, gut-wrenching losses. The bonds forged in our Rotorua field trip have since laid the foundation for rock-solid friendships.

EngSci is not for everyone. It is not the easiest path to walk, but it sure is the sweetest when you eventually learn to love ENGSCI 233 (or whoever your bully is). If you envision yourself as someone who wants to take on the world with unrivalled technical prowess, you’ve found your place.


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