Welcome to Mechanical Engineering!

Kia Ora!

My name is Julie and I will be your Part II blogger for Mechanical Engineering! My dream was to build a theme park (but other moving things all sound cool!) which is why I am here! My hobbies include reading, writing, and watching comics. I usually hang around the engineering building, so if you do have any questions feel free to come and chat with me! (I don’t bite!) Trust me, I was in your position last year, pondering all my options, and I hope my blog posts will make your engineering journey somewhat easier.

New Semester, New Me!

How did you find the first semester of engineering? Easy? Hard? Enjoyable or not so much? Well, I hope you all had a good semester and a great rest. I have to admit last semester had been a bit hectic for me personally, trying to sustain my GPA while balancing my two jobs (wow, I have three now!), my club activities, and trying to have a social life. For my blog, I will write some advice I wished I had heard last year, and I do hope it will make your decisions much easier.

So Why Mechanical Engineering?

Like most of you here, I chose engineering because I liked math and physics throughout high school (or so I hope you liked it too!). Another thing I really wanted was to create something, and I thought engineering was the perfect degree that combined all my interests.

After days and days of pondering over my options (we have 9 wonderful specializations offered in UoA!) I chose mechanical because:

  • I wanted to go into theme park engineering (this was a long story…)
  • I love making stuff!
  • I wanted to create something that moves and makes people happy

What is Mechanical Engineering?

According to our lovely University website, Mechanical Engineering involves designing, installing, and maintaining systems in the real world. This could mean designing or maintaining machines such as boats, airplanes, rockets, heating systems, or pipelines. The flexible nature of Mechanical got me hooked, as I could potentially work in any area where objects are moving (or so I hope..)

Mechanical vs Mechatronics Engineering

For those who looked at our specialisation list, you will quickly realise there are two degrees that sound awfully similar. That’s right, there is “Mechanical Engineering” and “Mechatronics Engineering.” I have to be honest; I had a hard time trying to choose between these two options last year as well.

I won’t go into explaining what Mechatronics Engineering is too much (you can go to James’ blog to see what Mechatronics is about!), but from my understanding, mechatronics is when you learn about mechanical, electrical, and software, so you pretty much know a little of everything.

What’s the actual difference? Well, mechanical is more about creating and designing a system/machine, whereas mechatronics is more focused on making this device “smart.” I liked the idea of creating the actual system more, so I opted for mechanical. (This is my conclusion after many reddit posts and frantically reading the course viewer provided by the University)

However, please don’t stress too much! For the 2nd year of your studies, in semester 1, Mechanical and Mechatronics have the exact same papers, and in semester 2, we have one paper difference. Mechanical has MECHENG 236 (apparently, we get to design cars!), and Mechatronics has 270 (software design). Please take your time considering your options, but do remember you can always change your degree if you discover that this is not the path for you 🙂

If you are the following, Mechanical is for you:

  • You liked playing with Lego when you were little (yes, we have labs where we have Lego gears to play with)
  • You love machines, specific areas such as aerospace, cars, boats etc
  • You enjoyed ENGGEN 115 and ENGGEN 121 (and CHEMMAT 121 I suppose)
  • You are the master at design and CAD (lots of CAD is coming)
  • You like group projects. Or at least, don’t mind them. MECH – group projects = 0. Yes, unfortunately, we have a lot of group projects.

That is all for me today, but if you do have any questions feel free to come to say hello!

Cheers, Julie

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