How to ̶s̶u̶r̶v̶i̶v̶e̶ thrive in Part 2 Civil – from this year’s Part 2 Civil students | #4

With the end of the academic year coming to a close, I thought it would be really valuable to hear from other Part 2 Civil students and get their perspectives of Civil this year. So I’ve reached out to a few second year students with different experiences with how they got into Civil to ask them why they decided to go through with Civil, their tips, and what they wished they had known before entering the specialisation. Thank you so much to Sena, Prashniel, and Jade for graciously sharing their insights. I hope you find their background relatable and these pieces of advice useful!

Sena: BE (Civil)

Why Civil?

The main motivating factors for me to pursue Civil is:

  • Very broad range of sub-disciplines (structures, transport, stormwater, geotech etc)
  • I wanted to make some sort of positive impact on communities whether that be through making more liveable cities or improving the environment
  • I heard that it had a lot of good work opportunities during and after university
  • Liked the idea of doing some hands-on practical stuff and getting out on the field

During high school I knew I wanted to fulfil that second point of doing something meaningful and practical to improve our cities but wasn’t really sure how- only in year 13 did I start to realise that maybe this thing called engineering was a good way to go about it. Basically, I had very little idea what engineering was going into uni but I’m very glad I made the decision to study it, particularly civil!

Any tips / advice for future Part 2 Civil students?

  • A lot less “spoon feeding” compared to first year (especially in Civil 210) so you need to make sure you are on top of things and ask for help when you need it
  • Following on from that point, definitely make the most of the lecturers and TA’s help + part 2 civil assistance centre! They’re always very happy to help and you might find you come away with more knowledge than you intended to find out. You also may be able to get general advice from part 3 and 4 students at P2CAS
  • Start assignments and projects early, or at least start thinking about them and understand what it is you have to do for them! For example, read through the 210 project brief during the mid-semester break so when you start to work on it you already know what you have to do – the hardest part can often be trying to figure out how to get started!
  • Talk to other part 2 civils. The perk of Civil is that there are so many different people you can get to know. It’s great to have people to hang with, rant about work with, and get help on work with! I met so many new people in the engineering computer labs while we all struggled through the 201 project together (laughs)
  • For most subjects, absolutely make sure to do past papers!! There are some courses that are extremely repetitive so you can save a lot of time by getting familiar with the format
  • Find out when applications for internships open and close well in advance and get your application in as soon as possible so as not to miss out and be able to submit your best application
  • Take up opportunities to attend talks and events with industry professionals, the few that i have attended have been really cool and given me a fresh wave of inspiration and motivation – alternatively you may learn that you’re not so interested in certain areas of civil engineering
  • Do the practice/tutorial questions that the lecturers give you/emphasise in class because it is likely that these are important for the upcoming assessments!
  • Don’t be disheartened by a grade that is below what you hoped for, everybody has bad tests or assignments and it’s really not the end of the world even if it feels like it at the time

Getting involved with a club can be really fun: e.g. a sports club, an engineering society, any other extracurriculars because they are good to break up the study, awesome to meet new people, and also are great things to talk about in interviews with employers

  • If you get the chance, definitely apply to get a part 3 or 4 mentor through either WEN or CESA because it’s great to have an older student that understands the struggles of part 2 and can give you useful advice and tips!


Prashniel: BE (Civil)

Why Civil?

A bit of context for Prashniel’s answer – Civil wasn’t his first choice (it was his fourth, actually). But (hopefully) he’s enjoying himself here.  

The main reason I had Civil as my 4th choice was because I had a lot of friends in it the year ahead, so I knew I’d have help if I needed it. Civil’s not that bad. If you don’t enjoy anything then consider switching or else stick it out since there’s a lot of opportunities with Civil. You can also always switch later in your career- I’ve heard of civil engineers doing mechanical jobs.

Also, I like statics more than dynamics.

Any tips / advice for future Part 2 Civil students?

  1. Go to lectures and catch up if you miss any
  2. Understand the context for when to use certain equations
  3. Get enough sleep for the day or else you’ll fall asleep in lectures
  4. Meet as many people as you can, discussing course content with other people who’re learning the same thing will help improve your understanding


Jade: BE (Civil) /BCom

Why Civil?

I chose Civil because it is a broad specialisation – a lot broader than people think. So, it’s perfect for indecisive people like me. Working abroad had also been a dream of mine and a Civil engineering degree is a highly sort after role worldwide. I chose to do a commerce conjoint because I really enjoyed economics and accounting in high school. With first year free, I thought I would take advantage of the situation and do the conjoint degree. I told myself if I didn’t like it or it was too hard, I could drop I second year, but here I am moving into Part III still doing the conjoint. It’s very challenging at times but I highly recommend it. It gives me the opportunity to  learn so much more and definitely the challenge that I want. Highly recommend trying out a conjoint first year, you never know what it may lead to.


Any tips / advice for future Part 2 Civil students?

As a conjoint student, you will eventually have to take six papers a semester. Your timetable will be full of back to back lectures and tutorials and you will get jealous of your friends over at other specialisations with they measly four paper timetables.

I knew that before starting Part II Civil but no amount of reminders and talks will prepare you for how hectic it really is.

Super top tip, do summer school if you have the opportunity to. I did it this summer and totally recommend it. The papers are (in my opinion) slight easier than during a normal semester which is a plus. However, if you are unable to do summer school, try avoiding doing your conjoint paper in semester one as it was objectively harder than the second semester. I did my conjoint paper in the second semester and it was less stressful than the first semester where I only did engineering papers.

In general, building good habits are critical as a conjoint student. Although this applies to all students, it is especially important for us as six papers are hard to juggle at times. Getting into a routine that I was able to commit to for the whole semester allowed me to be more productive. This meant that I willingly chose to have 8 am lectures and tutorials to kick start my day, forcing me to be on campus studying until my afternoon Engineering lectures.

Thank you once again to Sena, Prashniel, and Jade!

Also credits to Jack Southee, who put together the overlays in the featured image to really hammer the wait for test results and the outcome.  The boxplot of the scores are true from this year. *cries in theodolites*

Until next time