Attacked by Canvas announcements and Piazza notifications – Mechatronics Semester One Summary

Wow! Semester one has gone by wayyyy quicker than I realised! Where did all the time go? Last year, it felt like uni dragged on for ages, and then this year is like being attacked by Canvas announcements and Piazza notifications NONSTOP. Honest life advice from Vanessa: second year is a HUGE step up from first year, in terms of workload, course content and what’s expected of you, so keep up and don’t fall behind (watching eight MECHENG 235 lecture recordings in a row is a bad idea).

My first few weeks as a mechatronics student was super busy and exciting. Most of our courses are shared with the mechanical students, so luckily I’m surrounded by a few more familiar faces and have friends to study with (or annoy during lecture). Our cohort is a good, medium size of about 225 people, which means most of our lectures are held in 401-401 or 401-439 (neon theatre) in the engineering building. We also have ENGSCI 211 in OGGB with the rest of the second year engineering students, which is always a fun time to catch up with mates who chose an obviously inferior specialisation to mechatronics. 😉

Finally, we have labs (loads of them) and tutorials that are held all over the place – from HSB (I swear this place is haunted – have you seen the weird carpet on the walls?), to the Clocktower, to the 6th floor of architecture. It’s probably a good time to mention now, that you should pay attention to where your classes are located when you’re generating your course timetable. That way, you can decrease the walking time in between classes and increase sleep-in time for those 8am labs you cleverly avoided because you followed this piece of advice.


Here’s a quick summary of the courses I took in semester one:

MECHENG 201ROBOTS!! One reason why I chose to specialise in mechatronics was because I enjoy doing hands-on activities and getting to code and play with ROBOTS!! Also seeing people’s expressions when you tell them you study ROBOTS!! is pretty amusing.

MECHENG 242 – Think beams and free body diagrams. This course is super interesting and a combination of my two favourite courses from last year, ENGGEN 121 and CHEMMAT 121. If you enjoy solving (challenging) problems and understanding how materials work, you’ll enjoy it. Also a shout out to Raveen, for answering my annoying questions during Friday morning tutorials.

MECHENG 235 – Make sure you get good teams for this course because there are two design projects which are worth 20% and 32%. For the first project where we had to design a robot for the Warman competition, my group wrote a 20 page report. And for the Window Washer project, our total page count was 40 pages!!

ENGSCI 211 – Basically ENGSCI 111 on steroids. Very enjoyable overall and you get to see how maths is applied in the real world. I was also introduced to the world of stats for the first time and it was a great experience.

GERMAN 301 – I took this paper as part of my Certificate of Languages so fitting it in my timetable meant I had a 2 hour clash every week. I always looked forward to this class because it was nice to get a break from my fellow engineering nerds and have $5 vegan lunches with my Arts friends.


Burning questions? Can’t decide which specialisation to pick? In search for dog memes? Feel free to stalk me on Facebook. See you in my next blog post about my totally *uneventful* holidays.


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