Will the real ENGSCI student please stand up?

Guess who’s back, back again?

 

Yeah, you guessed it; the handy Venn diagram for one last time.

This final blog posts is my parting gift to you; it serves as collection of some last minute thoughts and reflections in an effort to help you understand Engsci and if it’s right for you.

 

Questions to ask yourself:

“Do you like uncertainty?” Confidence intervals are a huge mood in Engsci, which is all thanks to the imperfection in our understanding of the world and the imperfection in data (see next question). So much of what we do is about going into the unknown and figuring out how close to certain we can be. You should also be prepared to feel uncertain about where Engsci will take you (although this is kind of true for all engineering). Engineering Scientists are essentially the decathletes of the engineering world. You will learn so many broad and applicable skills that can be utilised just about anywhere. You even have more elective courses than just about all other specialisations combined. So much uncertainty, but so many opportunities.

“Do you like data and mathematics?” Engsci is very much a data driven discipline; collecting, analysing, predicting, all of it. Furthermore, I recall Doctor David Dempsey saying once in a lecture that “If you guys did not consider engineering practice, conventions and ethics, you’d essentially be doing a degree in applied mathematics.”. Imma keep it real with you, to enjoy Engsci you gotta like data and/or differential equations at least a little bit, and that’s facts. If you’re on the fence about this one I implore you to think about all the wonderful things you can possibly do with data and mathematics, Engsci is well and truly the gateway to all of these things.

“Do you like understanding the world around you?” Ultimately, Engsci is about understanding and describing the world around us with mathematics and computer simulations. If you like the idea of numerical detective work and uncovering secrets and mysteries with nerdy bad-assery, then this could be the spec for you!

 

My frank final thoughts on my experience of Engsci:

It has been tough, it has been abstract, but most of all, it has been satisfying. I have found myself delving into the mathematics of physical systems, plotting data and predicting the future. My cohort is a bunch of overachievers with a big mix of backgrounds who have always been kind and helpful where I’ve struggled. It has been difficult at times to get motivated about some of the work I’ve had to do; I occasionally long for the opportunity to design robots like a mechatronics student or understand how to manipulate chemistry like a chemmat student. But in the same thought I appreciate the wide-ranging application of Engsci; it can be applied just about everywhere and you learn a lot about coding, applied mathematics and even the physics of real-world systems.

Finally, a last bonus question I still ask myself to this day: “Who is the real Engsci student?” Asides from the characteristics I have discussed above, there isn’t really a way to pigeonhole one. Engsci students come in all colours, shapes and sizes, just like building blocks (hello civil students). There also isn’t really a way to pigeonhole Engsci as a discipline, it is what you make of it, just like building blocks (ok calm down civil students). If you can find someone you know is a real Engsci student within the next week, then ask them about it yourself, they might just help you figure out if you’re a real Engsci student as well.

Well, this is it. Whether i have left you thinking “hmm Engsci might be right for me?” or “lol no way am I doing Engsci in a million years!”, either is a good result. I simply hope I have taken some of the uncertainty out of making a specialisation choice. Just know that whatever you choose is not a life sentence, you’ve just got to give it a go and constantly vibe check. Now, go forth into the wide world of engineering and prosper. I’ll be thinking of you.

Yours,

Michael

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