Engineering Science ≡ Suffering (I’m being serious. This isn’t a joke)

Engineering Science ≡ Frustration

Frustration is a staple ingredient in the computer programming diet. Programming is a staple ingredient in the Engineering Science diet. Therefore, frustration is normal in the Engineering Science degree. I’ve already written about that.

Engineering Science ≡ Failure

You must have ambition and brains if you’re thinking of signing up for Engineering Science. You probably breezed throughout high school and through Part I engineering with flying colours. You’re not used to getting bad grades.

That’s all going to change when we officially welcome you into the EngSci world. Engineering Science will make sure to push you to your limits. Part of being pushed to your limits means overstepping on those limits and dropping a bad mark or two. This might be on a programming assignment or on a biomechanics test paper. It doesn’t matter where you drop the ball. It will happen.

Engineering Science ≡ A Pissing Match

Like I’ve said, EngSci folks are highly motivated high-achievers. No one wants to be the bottom of the pack. Of course, someone must be the class dunce. But EngScis don’t like that. As a result, everyone tries to outperform each other – often to ridiculous extents.

This was crystal clear to us when we had our ENGSCI 263 project. Here’s how it went down: Team A sees that Team B has done 10% more work than Team A. Team A counters with an additional 20% of work. Teams C and D feel inadequate about their awesome work and doubles down on their already-killer project. Teams A, B, E, F…. you get the idea. Project teams launch into a war to outdo each other.

But Tyler! Doesn’t that competition make them all better? Yes, but at what cost? After a certain amount of time, surely this added work isn’t adding much more value? There’s no point spending 100 hours on a 20-hour project. Diminishing returns kicks in after the first 30 or so hours. Time is better spent elsewhere.

It’s important to know what truly matters. One thing that truly matters is producing quality work. This does not have to resort to being the *best* student. That’s a tough gig to win. Only one person gets to be the best student.

So Tyler, why the fuck do you study EngSci? It sounds fucking awful!

Because it makes me a better engineer.

I LOVE Engineering Science. I doubt you could find someone who loves Engineering Science more than I do. I love that, at the end of the day, the department is training some of the best engineers in the country. It’s a special programme. You get out what you put in, and a lot is put into EngSci. The tribulations that I write of, that’s what makes EngSci special.

You learn that frustrations don’t matter. It’s normal. Programming is an emotional rollercoaster. Some days you’re on the up. Some days, you’re tumbling down and wondering how they let a dumbass like you into the EngSci club. It’s all part of the process. Frustration and dead ends are to be expected. Do not let that rattle you.

Even if we feel like we’ve failed, we’ve still achieved a lot. That’s what happens when you try hard things. Sure, you might fall on your ass a couple of times. This is not a problem since falling on your ass is expected when you go slay dragons. Don’t believe me? Consider this: the lowest mark in a recent COMPSYS 202 test for the EngSci students was 19/20. The class average was 12.8. “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success” (James Cameron).

Even though you might slip into competing with the other EngSci students, these same students are your crew mates. We’re all in the same battleship. We’re not on a lazy cruise ship with pools and shuffle boards. We’re in a battleship with a mission to carry out. And your EngSci crewmates are dedicated to ensuring your personal success and dedicated to ensuring the success of the entire crew.

So. To answer your question, yeah. Engineering Science might sound awful to you. But that’s precisely what makes Engineering Science worth studying. Besides, all engineering specialisations are hard. Make the most of the inevitable suffer-fests.

I can’t wait for you to join us.