As university is split into two semesters, I am following up ‘One year on-Part 1’, with parts 2 (Second semester)!
With the workshop experience and lab work completed in the first semester, second semester of my first year seemed to be much quieter. I began to become much closer to the girls on my course and felt more comfortable in the university environment. University life suited me perfectly and I loved every minute of it, from the social aspect to the studying (well most of it, it is studying after all!).
As I mentioned earlier, I had a relatively quiet second semester compared to my first. Maths was a continual module for the whole year, except this time the maths I was studying felt newer to me than before. If you have done further maths at A Level, then I am sure the content may have been more familiar; this did make it more challenging for me but as maths is my best subject I still found the resources provided by the lecture more than enough to help me through it.
The resources for every module provided by the lecturers were amazing! Before going to university, I was really worried about the small amount of help I was told everyone got at university. In my case, all my lecturers did, and still do put effort into notes they provide and the extra resources online. Often if you are really stuck and email the lecturer, they will meet you and try to help you understand it again. If you look for the help, you will usually get it.
Thermodynamics was half of a module, alongside side statics as the other half. I found the statics of materials (the stresses and moments of a materials torque and bending) relatively simple to understand as there is a method by which you find and answer and that method will be the same for a specific type of question (much like maths). However, thermodynamics, for me, was a completely different experience. In our very first lecture for this topic, our lecturer opened with this quote:
“The first time you go through it, you don’t understand it at all. The second time you go through it, you think you understand it, except for one or two small points. The third time you go through it, you know you don’t understand it, but by that time you are so used to it, it doesn’t bother you anymore.”
Now, I’m not trying to put people off, in fact it isn’t as bad as it sounds! But, it is very much a module in which you will learn how something works and the equations that show it, but you never seem to understand why. If you loved physics at A level then I am convinced you would appreciate and understand this module A LOT more than I did. It took a lot more time for me to get my head around it, but I definitely got there eventually!
Material processes and manufacturing as well as design were introduced during first semester and were explored into more detail during second semester. I’d recommend to anyone that is studying engineering, to pay particular attention to manufacturing and materials properties. This is because they are so important to engineering and any future projects you might do in subsequent years will 100% need that knowledge. In fact, I found that I seemed to recall a lot of the information in second year because it is repeated in so many other areas and modules.
I can definitely say that every single module you do, you will need for further study or after university. My second semester made me feel more confident in my knowledge of engineering but also much more comfortable and relaxed around the university. I love it even more every day. A bonus is also the long breaks you get compared to school and sixth form!
The lack of girls studying engineering at my university did not affect my experience one bit. If anything, I think it has meant that I have become much closer to the girls on my course than I would have otherwise. This might sound like I have isolated myself and only befriended the girls, but I have many friends on my course, including boys. Having a smaller year group (around 70 in mechanical and mechanical and medical) significantly impacted that because I find it less intimidating and you will haven spoken to most of the course by the end of your first year.
Choosing to go to university was confirmed to be the best decision I have ever made after first year was completed. It is an amazing experience, and engineering is for girls!
Women can engineer