Final verdict- it’s been one heck of a roller coaster ride. So how does one go about surviving Mechanical Engineering Part Two Semester One?
Confession No 1:
The first half of Semester One is a breeze compared to the second half, so be prepared.
First up, ENGSCI 211; The Math Paper
This half semester, you get a whole lot of Data Analysis and a bit of Linear Algebra and Matrices. Verdict, data analysis is nothing like NCEA Statistics and the first two weeks are a blur. Its only when the assignment comes around that you start to piece together the puzzle. That’s the light bulb moment. In the Data Analysis section, you are going to be introduced to R, a software which was apparently created here at the university. The software is pretty decent to pick up, it’s the understanding and the analysis that’s really going to need the extra hours to get your head around. In terms of the final exam, don’t leave studying to the last minute, the lecturers tend to enjoy testing whether you have read and understood every inch of the coursebook .i.e. don’t make the mistake of taking any concepts as “not likely to be in the exam”. I can say from experience, that ignorance has dire consequences.
Next up, MECHENG 235; The Design Paper
Confession No 2:
The feeling of being up to date with this paper is almost non-existent.
The Window Washer Project is going to be your first experience at a project which a graduate engineer would be likely to take on. First off, relaxing weekends are a thing of the past. During the week, lectures and tutorials will take up most of your time. Make the wise decision to take the time on weekends to catch up on your design project. The lecture material is being taught aside from the project material (this is what’s on the exam). One thing about the Window Washer Project is that you are going to have to know the material from your physics paper (MECHENG 242) to be able to complete the project. Hence for the first time, your 10 page report is going to contain around 20 pages of appendices, most of which is going to be just calculations. By the end of the Window Washer project, mentally I think every Mechanical/Mechatronics student feel so elated that they look as if they have just cracked the solution to global warming.
Next, MECHENG 242; The physics paper
It’s a tough course, but one that is the foundation of Mechanical Engineering. There have been times where certain concepts seem out of this world. But once you get your head around the concepts, every object in your surroundings is your mind’s canvas to visualizing the deformations as a result of applied forces. You start seeing the world in a whole new light.
Note: If you don’t like MECHENG 242 and MECHENG 235, you probably haven’t chosen the right specialization for yourself.
Lastly, MECHENG 201; The electronics paper
This is going to be your first experience at control systems and robust programming. Best tip I can give is to take your lab sessions very seriously. You have very limited access to your robot, so it is important that you have your code all typed up ready to test during your lab sessions. This paper is quite reasonable in terms of its workload, so as long as you don’t slack off, your sorted.
To conclude, I have reached the state of zen. Part Two Semester One hasn’t been a walk in the park, every challenge has kept me on my toes. But at the end of the day, I feel like I have truly been challenged to make every minute of every day count. This adrenaline is what makes me enjoy what I get to do and gets me excited for what’s in store in the future. Lastly, get your multitasking shoes on, get your thinking hat on and get cracking! You’ve got NO time to waste here in the Mechanical Department.
Until next time…