A brief Semester Two update: Stress!!! There were two projects due within the first two days back from the break for Mechatronics – one for 270 (Object Oriented Programming) and one for 222 (Dynamics). Alongside this, the first draft for our 204, ten person group report is due within the first two days back too. So I’m not too sure if you can say I’ve had a lot of a break. Thankfully, looking ahead, these projects mean I only have two exams at the end of this semester! Now on to the main part of this blog post…
Disclaimer: I’ve never done anything to do with robots or mechatronics before uni. I chose Mechatronics because it gives you such a wide variety of courses as well as job opportunities. You could go into many different fields; both engineering and non-engineering. Mechatronics is a combination of mechanical, electrical and software engineering… so robots ☺️ I’ve also heard Mechatronics sets you up for management roles as you can work with the mechanical, electric and software engineers – everything is becoming smart nowadays anyways so the demand for Mechatronics has been increasing. I’ve also always been into design; so I’m hoping Mechatronics will lead me into a product development or research role. I like how tangible a lot of mechatronics systems are – it’s much quicker than the tangibility of civil, has the variety of going into software, mechanical or electrical, the potential for more management based roles and the more design-based problems of mechatronics.
A couple things that surprised me about Part II Mechatronics, briefly summarised:
- The amount of group work involved; this only increases as you go up the years
- Finding a cute mech group of pals to struggle through the courses
- How much I enjoyed the 201 Vex project and course as a whole
I find it really interesting to see why other people chose mechatronics, so I asked some of my fellow Part II Mechatronics students since this question is somewhat fresh in our minds…
Why did you choose Mechatronics?
Brenna: I love the variety of study that mechatronics gives you, and you receive a very well-rounded understanding of mechatronics systems that are becoming increasingly relevant. I also enjoy being in management and leadership positions, which studying mechatronics also leads into, and working with others from different specialisations and backgrounds. also the people in mechatronics are the best, and there are some really good lecturers (hazim)!!
Adam: I went into first year having no clue what I wanted to specialise in and I was super thankful we were given the first year to choose. By the end of that year I still hadn’t really decided, everything was super interesting and each specialisation had its merits. I assessed what I was good at and what interested me. I enjoyed the dynamics portion of 121, coding was a lot of fun and even after 101, I still had an interest electricity. Mechatronics ticked pretty much all of these boxes. I liked that it was a broad specialisation, you were a jack of all trades and got experience in a variety of areas. Now getting pretty close to the end of Part 2 I am so glad I chose Mechatronics. It’s so much fun, you get Hazim for two papers and the cohort has been super welcoming. It’s tough to choose but if you just really want to work with robots, Mechatronics is for you.
Merle: The Air Force told me so.
Stella: I chose mechatronics because I liked smart technology and robot vacuums are awesome 😃
Blake: Well in some form, a large influence in choosing Mechatronics was so that I could continue to procrastinate in deciding what to do with my life. One of the reasons I did first year engineering was because it allowed me to attempt every specialization before settling on my future. And because mechatronics is the love child of three different specializations, it makes it the easiest to jump ship if I have regrets further down the line. The knowledge that I could swap specializations with having overlap with other specializations was pretty comforting. Another reason was because I actually thoroughly enjoyed coding last year, But I’m not good enough to be a software engineer as I only learn how to code last year. So mechatronics allows me to continue to learn code without solely dedicating my life to it.
What is the most surprising thing about this year?
Brenna: The amount of group work is shocking.
Merle: That second year is hard af. Bc I expected it to be chill. And it’s really not.
Blake: I was pretty surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the larger scale projects so far. Yes, 235 was a badly structured nightmare, but I’ve never put as much effort into anything involving my education as what I did for that project. It most likely has something to do with having a fantastic partner to work with, but I was very proud of our final submission. So now I’m looking forward to an opportunity to tackle another large scale project.
Stella: Most surprising thing this year was probably the workload and how nice people in mechatronics are 😊😊
Adam: I think the most surprising thing for me this year was how much I loved the 201 VEX Robot Project. To quickly run through it you are given a robot which you code to run through a course. It put what we had learnt in class to practical use and depending on your lab partner a whole lot of fun. Seeing your code work after tweaking it for ages is such a satisfying feeling and seeing it interact with the physical world is even better. It was the highlight of the year and really let me know I made the right choice.
Everyone chooses Mechatronics for different reasons so I thought maybe seeing why other people chose it might be helpful as specialisation selections creep up. Huge thank you to Stella, Brenna, Merle, Adam and Blake for letting me bug them about this. We also got cute matching Mechanical Department hoodies that were designed by students. This year’s features an exploding toaster from an early 201 lecture where Hazim says something along the lines of “Toaster goes kaboom”.
I’ve also been involved with MECHA – the Mechanical and Mechatronics Student Association that was formed this semester. We’ve been hosting heaps of fun events such as a Pub Quiz and a Launch Party! We will be hosting a talk called “Future in Mech” where we will be having industry presenters as well as post-graduate presenters speak about their experiences on the 5th of October. Please feel free to come along (it’s free + there will be food 😉 ) and find out more about Mechatronics (and Mechanical)!