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May 9, 2011 | by  | in Features |
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What it’s like to be an Engineering Student @ Vic

Ever wondered what engineering—one of the newest degrees Victoria has on offer—is all about? Who belongs to this secret society of computer lovers, and why don’t we see them around campus at all? What are they up to? Trying to destroy the world? Trying to make the next Facebook? Engineering students Tania Jacob and Lance Tollenaar take a break from the computers to tell it like it is.

While others are trying to bullshit their way through an essay, a small number of Victoria University students are tirelessly working through a series of mind-numbing, number-crunching assignments; learning to speak in binary, and valiantly trying to fix a seemingly useless computer program.

Unlike comparable courses offered at Auckland and Canterbury universities, engineering is still in its infancy at Vic. The four-year programme was only started a few years ago, and these days it’s possible to major in Software Engineering, Network Engineering, and Electronic and Computer System Engineering (ECEN). Which probably sounds like gobbledegook, but it’s really good once you have an understanding of what you’re actually learning. Plus, engineers earn truckloads of money. And we’re aren’t complaining about truckloads of money.

If you’re doing software engineering, the computer labs will inevitably become your second home, and coding will evolve into mindless procrastination on Facebook. At least we don’t have to line up for a computer at the library—or pay for printing.

About half of the stuff we do is quite practical, so we generally work with mates to finish stuff off. In our first year, labs were three hours long, and one of our projects involved making a motorised car that we raced against other groups’. As for the not-so-practical stuff? Engineering students cram too—we’ve been known to study for maths tests an hour before the exam. And you seriously can’t afford to miss lectures.

The lecturers are pretty awesome—one plays Gorillaz and Nirvana while we go over work in class, and ‘Pondy’, a first-year computer science lecturer, wears shorts everyday, regardless of the weather, but no shoes.

Engineers are actually quite primitive creatures. We are easily sucked into going to random events where they have five hundred bucks worth of free pizza. I’m sure we’ve had many non-engineering students join us for this kind of stuff—you know who you are.

Not all engineering students are stereotypical geeks. We enjoy sports, socialising, and fraping if anyone is ever foolish enough to leave their computer unattended. Some of us even have boy/girlfriends. Seriously.

Despite our lazy habits, at the end of four years, we’ll hopefully walk out of the door with a Bachelor of Engineering to our names, a lot of work experience, and some good friends—ready to ‘get amongst the best’

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