Wrapping up Part II Mechanical Engineering

Hello guys!

This is the last post from me this year! (time sure flies!)

All assignments are done; I just need to do my exams and head off to my internship!

My, what a year 2023 was! I remember not even knowing what a bearing was, and now I am staring at engines, brakes and suspension all day till 9pm at uni.

I literally cannot believe it’s the last week of semester 2, and that I have nearly completed half of my degree.

Looking back, it was a hectic year, with very stimulating coursework, club activities making me run around, and making many lovely friends.

So! Why Mechanical Engineering?

I say if you like design, Mechanical engineering is the degree. For example, did you enjoy ENGGEN 115? That course is similar to Mechanical Design, minus the drawing part (isometric view and stuff). You also start to view the world from a different angle; for instance, I now know how car brakes work (which is really cool, by the way), how engines work, how to calculate a person’s acceleration if they are walking in a moving train (though I doubt I’ll actually do that calculation in my free time). If you’re the type of person who wants to understand how things work, I highly recommend Mechanical engineering!

After thinking about what I should write my post on, I decided to think back to the questions I got from some of you during the career expos (I was participating as a MECHA exec!)

So! Here are the questions!

Q1. Do you need to do the drawings we do in ENGGEN 115 for Mechanical engineering?

A. Absolutely not! There is a reason we are doing CAD. Luckily, the computer is pretty good at its job (but we do a lot of CAD). You won’t have to hand-draw the isometric or orthogonal view drawings, but you will still do some drawings as concept design or conveying your thoughts to teammates (below are some drawings I did to show my group mates where everything went during the design project)

Q2. Do you do a lot of CAD?

A. yes and no. More than other specializations, it depends on how much effort you want to put into it. For example, I did around 3 hours of CAD for the Warman project because someone in my group was very keen on CAD. I spent around 20+ hours for the gear reducer, as more CAD is required. In terms of group projects, CAD can be delegated quite well. You can’t avoid it, but resources like grabCAD make life easier!

Q3. Do you need to be a buff guy to be in Mechanical?

A. Absolutely loved this question. I don’t know if you saw my picture; I am quite far from being a buff guy! I guess there is the stereotypical image of a mechanical engineer doing all the gritty jobs handling cars and hands filled with grime, which sounds cool, but Mechanical engineers are generally the people behind the production process.

We design something, go check if it’s actually manufacturable, iterate the design, compare cost and effectiveness, do more analysis on how it is, and so forth. We’re not physically making the project, but do all the processes until then.

Regarding hands-on activity, as a student, we are not necessarily required to physically build anything- till 4th year. However, you can use the maker space or make your own projects, laser printing or 3D printing for fun.

So, if you love hands-on work, yes, you can do it, but you don’t have to!

Q4. What’s the difference between Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering?

A. This is probably a huge question. I also was torn between Mechanical and Mechatronics last year until I chose specialisation (and after!). As a 2nd year, I don’t see much difference between Mechanical and mechatronics engineering, aside from the fact that we do more design and mechatronics students do more coding. (Hurray for less coding!) There is certainly a lot of overlap, and as a 2nd year, I can’t pinpoint the difference! But I will suggest that if you have an interest for many things, try mechatronics, but if you’re more interested in how things actually work, come to Mechanical. The stuff we learn at Mechanical makes me understand how the world works way better than I started, and I genuinely enjoy what I am learning. (Also, less coding and electrical stuff!)

This is my last post, and I will be ranting about everything I wanted 1st year me wanted to know. Hopefully, some of these will be useful for you!

1. It’s okay to not know something. 

I literally didn’t know what a bearing was before I came to Mechanical engineering. Sometimes I would stop my group from talking and ask them to explain what they were discussing. No matter how many YouTube videos I watched, I sometimes would just not understand something. And trust me, there will be someone who has been touching machines since they were really young in the cohort! We are here to learn, so try to not be too upset about not knowing something.

2. Get your sleep schedule sorted

There was a time when I slept at 12am and woke up at 5am; I was hobbling and shaking until I realized this was probably not it. (Haha, probably not the ideal uni life) So! Don’t be like me! Get at least 6 hours of sleep! I know some people can survive with less sleep, but don’t try your limits because, oh gosh, it isn’t good.

3. Ask people questions

Ask people questions! Your friends, lecturers, part 2, 3 or even 4s! (If you can get hold of them, that is.) People will happily answer your questions. Especially lecturers during office hours XD. If you have any questions about Mechanical Engineering, MECHA (the student association for Mechanical and Mechantronics Engineering), preparing for an exchange trip, being a part II blogger so something like that, I’ll be very keen on answering those questions!

Here is my LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julie-jeong-38aa3722a/

4. Join a club

Last year, I was just roaming around with friends from high school, and then joined the MECHA (mechatronics and Mechanical club) executive team because why not? (But I was actually shaking during the interview. I try to make it sound like a no biggie, but I was so scared!) Turns out, it was a great choice. I made a lot of good friends and had so much fun, as well as an extra line in my CV. I highly recommend it! For instance, my interviewer from my internship recognized me since they’ve seen me during speed interviews, rushing around during the event. Things like these can really boost your uni experience.

Another club I might recommend is the Engineering Revue. Personally, I didn’t join, but those who participated (like Amanda or Ashley!) told me they loved being part of the Revue!

5. Make new friends (and don’t be offended if they don’t remember your name)

My tip is to buy some mints and offer it to people. (or any other sweets!) Just turn to the person sitting beside you and say “Hi, my name is [ ], do you want a mint?” Trust me, I made quite a few friends using this method. Also, it is almost impossible for people to remember your name in one go. I just made a rule to re-introduce myself until the third time I’ve ever met someone. (Because I find it hard to remember names!) Engineering is generally tough to go through alone, and having friends going through similar experiences really helps.

6. Do random stuff – and have fun!

When stress built up to the maximum, I bought a kinder surprise egg. It was kind of stupid, but it was great!

Tiny car, just suited for a mechanical engineering student.

I also went to a random crepe and waffle run while skipping lectures. Yes, they might not seem like a smart idea, but you should have some sort of stress-relief before exploding.

7. Try to go to your lectures

This contradicts what I just said, but I highly recommend attending lectures in person! Yes, you can x2 lectures through the recordings. But if you skip lectures, it is very hard to find the motivation to find and watch the lectures, and you might suddenly jolt and realise you are 10+ lectures behind. Going to lectures also builds relationship between you and your lecturers, as well as your peers. I say try to go to lectures as much as possible, but if you are sick or have assignment deadlines really close, it’s about time to work on the more urgent stuff.

Wrapping up the blog

First of all, thank you so much for reading till this point! I hope this blog was helpful for your journey! I do realise I did speak more generally regarding coursework or advice that fits most engineering students instead of just mechanical, but again, I hope any part 1 who happens to come across this blog might have enjoyed it. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions, and best luck with your exams! That is all for me this year; I hope you enjoy your specialisation next year (or whatever pathway you choose), but remember, it is okay to change! Don’t think one choice you made during your first year in university has to define your life forever! Enough of me ranting now. Early Happy Halloween, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year~

-2023.10.22 Julie

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