Still Alive… For Now

First off, huge shout out to the guy who left his MECHENG 242 exam room screaming, “FREEDOM,” like that guy from Braveheart.

Figure 1. Finishing our last exam

This semester has had its share of ups and downs: the fact that Mechanical and Mechatronics were the last cohorts to finish exams was a little demoralizing. But hey, we pulled through in the end.

Probably the biggest things that went down this semester were our two design projects for MECHENG 235 – no joke:

  1. The Warman Project, where we had to design a robot that could simulate collecting, sorting and delivering ore on a distant planet – some of us, including my team, decided to go on and build the machine for the official competition in September. This project demanded creativity, so I thought it was a real bomb.
  2. The Automatic Window Washer Project (or AWW for short), where we needed to redesign the transmission system used to move a window washing machine along high-rise buildings. We had to choose the parts from some engineering catalogues we were given, so this project leaned more towards what your average Mechanical or Mechatronics jobs would be like.

My friends who took ENGSCI 211 said they had some trouble with the coursework, especially Data Analysis (the stats-on-steroids section) since they had a different lecturer from last year when I did it and the Data Analysis questions they got in their test and exam were real uncharted territory, as well (Software peeps can agree). ELECTENG 208 was pretty challenging, too; remembering all the content for the exam was easier said than done. MECHENG 242, on the other hand was our most tank course and my second favourite course (after JAPANESE 231); all too late, many of us came to the liberating realization that almost every single question in every past test or exam could be summed up with one word: BEAMS. As dumb as it sounds, this revelation made our lives sooo much easier.

Not gonna lie; probably the hardest curveball the semester threw at us was the AWW project. You would think that having a way more specific design brief and a limited choice of parts would make it all super simple, but it comes with its own merciless share of challenges. And having to keep up with the mandatory checkpoint for building the Warman didn’t help lower the stress levels.

But through all the projects and exams, I’d say that the Mechatronics class rep was our brightest light in that darkness. She had the silly but impressive habit of drawing up comics and posting them on the Facebook page to lighten the mood, and honestly I’m surprised she’s not doing a Fine Arts conjoint or something. So thank you, class rep, you the best!

Figure 2. Sample of the artistic work of class rep

And now that inter-semester break is here, all the teams who are building the Warman project are going ham to make as much progress as possible before the end of July, when we have our preliminary run-off. Personally, I was crapping my pants thinking about how many hours it’s gonna take to complete the whole dang thing in time but when you have a squad made up of friends from both inside and outside the Mechatronics cohort, you realise that it just comes down to starting up, getting on a roll, and making sure you don’t spend more than $150 on parts.