Advice from the Civil cohort

Semester 2 is coming to a sudden end; these last few days seem to have disappeared faster than a bag of flour in the supermarket. 

For this post on the Civil blog, I thought I’d ask the rest of my cohort for some advice to throw at you. Some of it is Civil specific, some just for first years in general.

Courtesy of this year’s Part II civil cohort, here we go!


  • For the calculation-based courses, attempt the practice problems (preferably as soon as possible after the related content was covered) to test your own understanding.

I think I mentioned this in an earlier post too, so I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggled with it. One piece of advice for this is to set a time each week/day just to work on practice problems, or meet up with friends for extra accountability.

  • Stay on top of the lectures (and lecture content). Preferably, attend in-person classes or (especially in the event of a lockdown) watch recordings at or near the scheduled lecture time (in other words, avoid ‘binge-watching’ weeks of recordings)

In-person lectures are good fun and much more interactive. I’m sure we’ll all appreciate them a lot more after this semester!

  • The second and current COVID-19 lockdown of 2021 was definitely unexpected (perhaps less so considering the Delta variant, but more so given the length – the longest lockdown Auckland has experienced.

What I took from this is that it’s a good idea to have a plan for if/when a lockdown does happen. Where will you study? How will you stay in touch with friends and family? Have you got enough toilet paper?

There was also some positive feedback from our cohort on the 3D printed beam models we were given for this semester’s structural course. It’s a kit of 3D printed parts that can help you analyse beams or frames. There are pinned roller or fixed supports, different length beams, frame corners, and a backboard to stick it all to. It’s a great way to play around with different setups and see how the beam will deflect, or what moments are created.

Finally, my own personal piece of advice for when it comes to choosing a specialisation:

Don’t let grades define your decision. Many first-years subconsciously write off a specialisation because they don’t think they’ll make the grade cut. Similarly, a lot of people overlook the specialisations with no grade boundary.

There are exciting opportunities within all the specialisations, so think more about what field you want to be working in. Think about the areas you might like to learn more about and the developments, designs, or projects you want to be a part of.

Whatever you choose, there’ll be lots of opportunities. (and lots to learn!)


Big thanks to those in my cohort who helped with this post 🙂


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