So, we are done!
As of this blog, we are a few weeks removed from exams, and I hope you all are enjoying a well-deserved break. It’s a huge accomplishment to finish your first year of uni, so savour the moment and enjoy the freedom!
Being the end of the year, this will be my last post up on here. Hopefully, most of you by now have made your decision on what you want to pursue as a specialisation and are rearing to get into it. If not don’t worry! There’s still a week to hunker down and do a bit of research on the specialisations that appeal to you so now is most definitely the time to be proactive. Asking questions to your first year lecturers via email, skimming through the papers that you’ll potentially do and having a cheeky Google search all go a long way in deciphering the most appealing specialisation to you. At the end of the day, there are no wrong options as a BE(Hons) from Auckland Uni puts anyone in a pretty good place for the future.
From my experience, I have absolutely no regrets in choosing Civil for my specialisation. Hopefully I’ve conveyed well enough my thoughts and opinions through these posts that it’s been a fairly tough but rewarding year. I’m definitely most appreciative of the people I’ve spent time with at uni as we chip away at the fluctuating workload. I can’t stress enough how much I’ve relied on my mates for explaining weird concepts and just generally attempting to keep on top of the work. The papers this year vary significantly but still are interesting each in their own. A huge advantage that the incoming group will have is the faculty’s improved academic support that could only have been found through Civil societies at the uni. I’ve heard there are whispers of a Civil Part II assistance centre, much like in Part I, so that would be hugely beneficial when certain concepts get a bit cloudy (the faculty have been emailing us heaps this year asking how they can improve supporting us, so fingers crossed some new instalments will be made for the future years).
Don’t think I have too much left to say at this point! Again, a huge congrats for completing the year and be sure to enjoy your summer to the fullest. Part II may seem fairly daunting, but you’ve all laid down the framework for success and it’s all just upwards from here. Through one year of Civil engineering, I can only say I fully recommend it as a fantastic option to pursue. If you are interested in structures, the environment, and/or spending your days with a great bunch of people, Civil is the specialisation for you!
Since I haven’t had time to summarise the papers we did during semester 2 in a full post, I’ve chucked down a few thoughts below. If you have any queries about the specialisation be sure to hit me up and hopefully I might see a few of you in the Leech smashing out some bending moment diagrams next year!
CIVIL 211 : The continuation of 210 from first semester (Introduction to Structures), 211 (Structures and Design 1) is a much more slowed down, methodical structures paper with a greater emphasis on absorbing a few important concepts. This paper had a lot of variation in terms of assessments such as small tests and Xorro-q tasks, but the highlight was most definitely Structures Day. In 211, we look at solving statistically indeterminate structures (along with shear and buckling), much to the contrary of what Jason preached in first year of only determinate problems being solvable! Overall I enjoyed this course, as personally I have an eye towards the structural side of Civil. Some students may find the course a bit confusing at times, but as long as a bit of effort is put in at the right times, should be all good.
CIVIL 221 : Geomechanics 1 is a dive into the world of soils and rocks and their influence pertaining to dams, retaining walls and the likes. Although it may sound possibly a tad boring, I can guarantee that playing around with soils for a second straight semester is exceptionally fun. This paper honestly feels like a perfect blend of all Civil elements that makes it interesting, especially with the number of correlations to the real world. Traditionally the class does pretty terribly on the test, but it’s assured to us that our final grades would not reflect this (the grade is scaled to how the class is performing). The team project had a fairly lenient deadline to give us a fair shake at giving a good effort, and the labs are chill and interesting. Overall a solid paper that is really well run.
CIVIL 250 : A deceptive paper that doesn’t always make it apparent about what the lecturers want from you, but was fairly great nonetheless. 250 takes a look at 3 materials that are used for Civil design and splits them up into 4 week periods. Wood being the first element was passionately described with a useful coursebook and a nice test. Steel was really interesting but heaps of content seems to be condensed with not a lot of explanation on what was expected for us to know. Concrete was much like wood, with a captivating lecturer that explained the basics of concrete mix designs while making it known what the examination would roughly cover. 250 generally was a highlight of the sem, as the content is so different from all the other papers whilst being really useful to know the basic properties of these materials.
ENVENG 244 : I honestly thought I would struggle heaps in this paper as I suck at anything chemistry related, but this paper surprisingly was a good time. We looked at water quality, wastewater treatment and even a week of reflecting on issues relating to communication with Māori as engineers. This paper had multiple lecturers that were all really helpful and courteous in the way they taught their specific sections. I often forget that the specialisation is called ‘Civil and Environmental’, and I think the lecturers make a fantastic effort knowing that a lot of us may reject the latter. There are weekly quizzes that are kind of a blessing to encourage us to not fall behind, a couple of well run labs and a unique group project to freshen up the workload. The test and exam reflected what we were told to know, and overall this paper was pretty exceptional.
ENGGEN 204 : Won’t cover this one too much as I’m sure the other bloggers would have covered it pretty sufficiently. An interesting paper with a focus on communication skills and team working exercises. Although it may not get a fantastic wrap from the whole of the engineering cohort, it’s a great alternative to the Civil courses (much like ENGSCI 211 was last semester). Learning and refining key skills not touched upon in the theory-based courses is pretty stimulating and underappreciated.