Hello Hello Hello!
Welcome back to the second part of the ‘jump from first to second year’ if you haven’t read the first part, I recommend you check it out here because everything would make more sense: https://www.theinsideword.ac.nz/2019/04/jump-from-first-to-second-year/
If you have read the first part or just can’t be bothered clicking on the link, read on!
Surrounded by genius.
So, the specialization I ended up choosing, Engineering Science has a reputation of attracting some very bright students, and because of the small cohort (if I’m not mistaken) it had the highest GPA cut-off for 2019. I know what you’re going to say, but no, this is not a humble brag because there’s nothing to brag about feeling less than. 😔 I’ll confess, it sucks when you’re sitting in class, completely lost (possibly because you zoned out for a solid 20 seconds), the lecturer asks a question and a bunch of geniuses just always seem to know the answer.
The question of whether I was ‘good enough’ used to bug me when I first started, especially when everyone around me seemed so put together. But now, I’ve learned to have confidence in myself and not give two 💩s (Poops. Not give two poops. What word were you thinking? 🤔😂) about how I compared. At the end of the day, all you can do is to try your best, and if you did, it’s good enough!
Point is, you’re amazing as is. Chances are you’re doing way better than you realise and the people exuding the most confidence in class, might not be doing as great as you think. Have confidence in yourself and who knows, maybe someone else would look at you and think ‘woow, if only I could be as smart as them’ 😉.
Learning quickly and having to adapt.
So far, I’ve only talked about some pretty negative things about the jump from first to second year, but even though it’s been tough, I genuinely think I’ve become a better person and better engineer because of it.
I’m quite used to the learning style of being taught something e.g. a mathematical skill and then applying it to slightly different examples in a slightly different context. In second year however, I realised we have to extrapolate a lot and apply fundamental concepts to questions that are very different to the examples we go through in class. Thinking outside the box and drawing on knowledge gained from either first year, other courses, and even from google has become a norm.
The quantity of material we are learning and the speed we are learning it at is also much faster in second year. I’ve surprised even myself at how I was able to adapt (albeit I’m still in the process of adapting). Being an engineer is all about being able to problem solve, make connections and think outside the box. By pushing us to better ourselves and exercise these skills early on, UoA is definitely putting us on the fast track to be great engineers. It’s tough love at its finest.
Learning what you enjoy
In degrees like Engineering, Commerce and many others, there are a bunch of common core papers that we have to take in first year. Personally, I quite enjoyed the variety presented by the common cores, but I know that most people didn’t feel the same way. Second year is the year you specialise in your desired specialization and start taking papers from your selected major(s), so for the most part, these papers should be right up your alley.
BIOMENG221 and ENGSCI233 aren’t exactly the papers I think of when I think of a future in Engineering Science, but I reckon being such a broad specialization, these papers are still helping build the foundations of our knowledge for us to be well rounded engineers. On the other hand, ENGSCI211 and ENGSCI255 have been papers very relevant to what I imagine as ‘engsci’, and I can say these two have been my favourite courses so far (it helps that the lecturers for these courses have been top notch too 👌).
To sum up, second year is hard for most people. If you’re a second-year student like me, or even a first-year student going through the same jump from high school to university, know that you’re not alone and that it will get better. You may have reached deeper waters, but as long as you stay calm, (hold onto the floaties that are your friends, family, lecturers and piazza), keep kicking, and have faith, I’m sure you’ll be gliding through the waters in no time! 😊