Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Five things I did in first year.

This is for all of you starting out Engineering at ANU in 2016.

I wanted to paint a picture of what my first year was like, so that you might be able to better see yours. It’s hard to imagine exactly what you’re going to get up to while at university because it’s so different to high school. You’ve got way more freedom, the teaching methods are weird, and all of the people are new. So here’s my list of five things I did in first year! I’ve sprinkled some practical tips in there, because you’re engineers and I totally understand that you want specific instructions to follow. So here goes.

1. I drank a lot of coffee. I can save you a lot of café hopping by letting you know that the Coffee Grounds is the best café for engineering students. Not only is it across the road from us, but Engineering Students Association (ESA) members get a free upgrade from small to large coffees. Also, the guys behind the counter are some really awesome dudes. They made me the napkin rose in this pic!

2. I had a lot of late nights in the labs. This is where some of my best friendships were made. At CECS we have more contact hours, assignments, and group work than other Colleges, which is great! These are things you have to do together, so we’re a stronger community of students because of it. A pro-tip for you: you can get after-hours access to the CECS buildings (find the admin team in the Ian Ross Building, up the spirally stairs).

3. I ate a lot of free food. Finding free food is a skill, but once you know where to look you get really good at it. You also learn more about stuff going on at ANU in the process. The ESA hosts BBQs all the time (pictured below), CECS hosts events too (check your emails regularly to find out about them), ANUSA has weekly BBQs, and there’s the Brian Kenyon Student Space which does breakfast. When societies or a College want you to get involved, they often entice you with free lunch. I say, take it! My friends and I even have a ‘BBQ Boys’ Facebook group where we send alerts when we find BBQs around campus.

4. I joined the ESA. The ESA has a pretty big name on campus. Outside of engineering, we’re known for our bar nights, our BBQs, our merchandise, and our awesome videos (we won best marketing on campus last year!) The ESA is great because of these things, but we’re also great because of the academic support we provide students, and the opportunities we can give them. We host a careers fair in February, and are constantly sending out info on opportunities outside of ANU for students (like work experience, competitions going on, or grad jobs). We host information sessions on things like which major to choose and we have year reps who gather your feedback on courses. I’m rambling because we do so much! But hopefully you can see it will be the best $5 you ever spend. Find the ESA on Facebook!

5. I asked for help. There are heaps of places you can go to get help with just about anything! CECS student services are awesome for any questions you have. ANUSA is great if you need financial or legal support. Clubs and societies are great for finding older students who can help out. Tutors and lecturers often love students who are engaged, and ask more questions. Finally, your friends are going to be the ones you ask for help the most. Getting through an engineering degree is a team effort, and you’ll start to see that in the culture we have.

So they’re my five! I decided to limit myself to a certain number otherwise I would have typed forever. A lot of things you’ll learn for yourself, and many of you will have a completely different learning experience to me!

I’m definitely someone that you can ask for help, or a coffee, or info on what’s happening in the College. I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Good luck!


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