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July 27, 2021, 02:54:36 am

Author Topic: Justin's Journey Journal  (Read 2170 times)

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Justin_L

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Justin's Journey Journal
« on: February 14, 2021, 10:31:05 pm »
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Hello!

I'm Justin and this is my new uni journey! This is also like my third draft and so I've resolved to post this no matter what before tomorrow otherwise it'll never get done in which case you won't be reading this. :)

My uni preferences have changed a lot over my time here, but I've finally settled on a double degree in Engineering and Science at UNSW! I'm in the flexible stream for engineering so I have a lot of choices as to which electives I can pick, but I've locked in computer science for my science component since I've had my eye on that for a while. I could (and did at one point) write an essay on why I chose UNSW and this degree, but I'm actively trying to keep my first entry concise and so I won't stay up til midnight writing this like yesterday. I start classes tomorrow which is pretty scary, and also why I want to stop putting this off. The past few weeks have been information overload, and a lot has actually happened in the holidays despite the fact it feels like nothing has happened which is paradoxical as usual

I'm taking the standard load of 3 courses this term, MATH1131 (Maths 1A), PHYS1121 (Physics 1A), and ENGG1000 (Engineering Innovation & Design). The degree assumes HSC Maths Extension 1 and Physics and I've done neither hahaha but I did go over a bunch of the material over the holidays and I feel like I'm sufficiently prepared based on what other people have said about these courses teaching from the ground up.

Timetable


The way my timetable has come out is actually pretty good, I'll probably have to come onto campus two days a week which is nice. I'm sad that the UNSW Express routes were removed, I personally don't like the new light rail and the fact I'll have to take it every day to uni now. My first class of the year will be maths, which is a 9AM tute that I'm already regretting because it means I actually need to have a sensible sleep schedule now. I've tried to pack as much stuff onto monday as I can, and tomorrow in particular will be pretty long because I have a Makerspace Safety Induction in the afternoon until 8 where I'll learn how not to die when using hand tools and stuff. The good thing is that once I finish the initial inductions, it should be much easier for me to do more advanced modules like fabrication and electronics, which will let me use cool things like 3D printers and laser cutters to prototype things!

The only potential issues I have right now are making friends and making time. I've part of a few engineering group chats are there are a lot of wholesome people who I've met in passing at O-Week events and meetups and the like, but I'm hoping I can make more friends through my courses and joining student led projects. The problem is that there's not a lot of interactivity in tutes anymore (eg. we don't have lab partners for physics because of covid :( ) and I'm not sure I'll have time to do a lot of society stuff since I'll need to work hard to catch up on math and physics. I'm going to hope I get put into a good group for ENGG1000 since that's a group design project, and that I can effectively time manage this term. I feel like time will probably be my biggest enemy in all aspects throughout my degree, so I'm going to keep an eye out for that especially.

This entry actually ended up a lot more concise than I expected than my previous drafts which was a nice surprise. Hope this has been fun for you guys to read and I will have more updates/stories to share with you soon! (Or I have some now if you really want)

« Last Edit: March 22, 2021, 11:33:54 pm by Justin_L »
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The Cat In The Hat

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Re: It's not metaphysical conceit - Justin_L's Journey Journal
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2021, 09:24:05 am »
+1
I want more updates/stories. :)
This looks interesting!
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Re: It's not metaphysical conceit - Justin_L's Journey Journal
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2021, 11:42:15 pm »
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Hi! Could you please check your messages?

Justin_L

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Re: Justin_L's Journey Journal
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2021, 11:25:23 pm »
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The Cat In The Hat
Will do :)
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Sent you a reply!

Hey again!

So week 1 is over and somehow I'm already behind in physics - luckily, maths and engineering have been going relatively well! I'm finding that livestreamed lectures aren't really my style of learning, and so I've resorted to self learning from the lecture slides, course notes, and textbook. Content is being delivered at a much faster pace than I'm used to, but I spent a good chunk of time going through course outlines and syllabuses, and I feel prepared for it now that I understand how all these online platforms work and what is due when.

The last few days have also been pretty exciting! I've been assigned to a project for ENGG1000, which was my first preference! It's called Project eEVee (Evolving Electric Vehicles for Emerging Economies) and the premise is to design a battery powered car with the focus on finding a cheap, reliable power source. I kinda screwed up because I thought this was a renewable engineering project but it's actually a chemical engineering one, so rip my aspirations of working with solar cells or anything of that sort.

The more detailed project briefs we received today were really interesting through, we work in teams to design, test, and build a electric driven car based around a battery we design from scratch, which means I'll actually be able to work with chemicals and get in some lab time this term!

I have no chemistry background through lmao, but the project doesn't have assumed knowledge and has sent us a bunch of introductory videos on electrochemistry, so I guess that's another thing to add to my very long list of things to learn. I'm excited though, this means I get to gain some exposure to another field of science/engineering that I otherwise wouldn't have even considered, which is actually pretty cool!

We get our first project specific lecture and team assignments tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens. I'm hoping things get less hectic over the term, but that might just be wishful thinking at this point.

Hope you enjoyed this update!

- Justin
« Last Edit: February 21, 2021, 11:28:41 pm by Justin_L »
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Justin_L

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Re: Justin's Journey Journal
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2021, 11:43:31 pm »
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Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 30 days.
Unless you're sure you want to reply, please consider starting a new topic.


Hey hey! Long time no see!

So a lot has happened since the last time I've posted - I'm finished my first term of uni but I haven't enjoyed it as much as I though I would, I guess because there were a lot of things that didn't quite live up to my expectations of suddenly having independence and choosing what to study.

I think the key thing I learnt this term was that there's a subtle but distinct difference between things I want to learn and things I want to study.

I mentioned at the beginning of this year that I chose to double in engineering almost on a whim - building things is really cool and satisfying, and I still stand by that. The thing is, I haven't really found an engineering major that would offer something suitable for me. I've asked around and taken a look at notes for some high units and I can't help but feel like a lot of the content is actually too technical and formula based - I'd love to learn about how magnetic fields affect circuits on a general/high level but not really on a "thoroughly understand the mathematics/physics behind it and get assessed on it" level.

The engineering skills I've learned have been fun though - I'm still amazed that I can do a short training course then just be able to walk into a makerspace and laser cut anything I want as long with the right materials and designs. The engineering coursework has been a lot less interesting though - I mentioned that I was doing ENGG1000 which was an engineering group project where we had to make a battery which I didn't really enjoy for a number of reasons.

What I've learned overall has still been very interesting though, I was initially kind of leaning towards electrical and renewable  but after getting a better idea of what those fields actually involved aerospace sounds really cool as well - I watched Tenet recently and then rewatched Interstellar and even though it's like the fifth time I've watched it, the idea of time dilation and all the other concepts it presented just blows my mind.

Still, going back to the things I want to learn rather than study, I've largely decided to drop to just a single computer science degree. I'm keeping the double degree for now while I work out the admin but the fact I have so many more electives (8 not including computing ones) is really nice. It's three years which feels a bit short but I can always extend it by a year if I can get into honours - and more flexibility is always nice I suppose.

I dropped physics last term which was another contributing factor - it was a bit of a snap decision to fit in with the census date but I think it was the right choice. My time management and general organisation has been terrible and so my WAM has started off on a poor footing.

I can't believe that Term 2 starts next week and that I've done basically nothing these "holidays" that haven't even felt much like a holiday. Uni is a very different kind of hard from HSC, very much constant information overload. I need to figure out a better way to retain content, since right now I'm sort of just trying to absorb everything and ending up with an intuition of how to do things without necessarily the in depth understanding.

Next term, I'm taking a full subject load of MATH1231 (Maths 1B), COMP2521 (Data Structures & Algorithms), MARK3088 (Product Analytics). I'm definitely aiming for high Credits and Distinctions this term to lift my WAM to 70 this term, and to get to at least a 75 Distinction Average by the end of the year. Term 1 went by so quickly, I feel like I haven't really made any friends, just a lot of scattered acquaintances so I'm hoping to be a bit more social and make some friends as one of my goals for Term 2, although everything put together will probably be a bit ambitious.

Hope everyone else has been well, and I will (hopefully) keep this updated over the next few weeks!
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I.09

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Re: Justin's Journey Journal
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2021, 06:15:27 pm »
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Hello Justin,

I really enjoyed reading about your uni experience, so far in UNSW, as I was also thinking about doing the double degree in Engineering and Science. I have been thinking about doing this double degree for a while, but I was just hesitant about the double amount of workload due to combining two degrees. Another thing that has put me out from doing engineering is due to it being male-dominated. Are there any females in your course or is male-domintated? 

Justin_L

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Re: Justin's Journey Journal
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2021, 08:11:44 pm »
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Hello Justin,

I really enjoyed reading about your uni experience, so far in UNSW, as I was also thinking about doing the double degree in Engineering and Science. I have been thinking about doing this double degree for a while, but I was just hesitant about the double amount of workload due to combining two degrees. Another thing that has put me out from doing engineering is due to it being male-dominated. Are there any females in your course or is male-domintated?

I think it's a bit of a misconception that double degrees have a heavier workload as you're still studying the same amount of units at any given time. The difficulty with double degree comes with the length and the fact you lose many of your free electives, meaning your degree becomes much more structured which can be both good or bad depending on what sort of person you are.

I think the perception of double degrees being harder comes a lot from this loss of flexibility, as people often like to pad out their degree with easy units and electives in order to improve their marks. I'm personally against this practice as I think the point of university is to learn, and that you should pick the units which will be most beneficial to your development and understanding rather than optimising for a high mark or "prestigious" major/degree.

UNSW has really good programs like Women in Engineering/Technology, and I personally felt that my cohort has been pretty diverse although that's probably because a lot of my first year units are core units which are shared across many different faculties, not just engineering. In terms of societies, I feel that most have good representation in their executives and subcommittees, and there are often field specific societies such as WIRE (Women in Renewable Engineering) and TWEET (The Women in Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications society) not including faculty events. I think the official statistic for women in engineering at UNSW is 21%, and perhaps it's more true in the later years when people specialise into their respective engineering majors, but I haven't felt that's been consistent with what I've seen so far. (I hesitate to give a number because a large amount of my cohort are studying online and I'm really bad at estimating things lol)

You might be interested in checking out owidjaja's journal (Star) Trekking My Way to Space - Olivia's Uni Journal as her experience is probably more relevant to you and offers a very different perspective from me!
« Last Edit: May 25, 2021, 08:33:47 pm by Justin_L »
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Justin_L

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Re: Justin's Journey Journal
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2021, 10:44:41 pm »
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End of Week 1!

I'm going to try and keep this journal updated more often so I have more of a chance to reflect and stay connected to the world. What I usually find is that when I get busy, I just turtle in my room and ghost literally everyone which isn't the healthiest and so I'm going to try and improve my communication and time management.

That being said, I'm definitely feel like I'm in a much better position than last term. During the first trimester, I felt overwhelmed basically all the time but now that I know what to expect, I'm able to preempt things to a certain extent and manage my time better.

I did a last minute course change from MARK3088 (Product Analytics) to ECON1101 (Microeconomics 1) because I talked with the tutors a bit after the first tute and didn't really like how it was structured and the content they were teaching or rather, the content we would be teaching ourselves since it was a very self driven project course. I slightly regret not taking economics in high school since our school happened to have really good economics teachers and the content seemed interesting, so I think it'll be an interesting free elective to take. I've also read good things about it from past reviews and it opens up some other interesting courses game theory and behavioral economics, which is a massive plus. Even if I end up hating it, I think the content will still be valuable and I would have learned something about myself  :)

Since I did a course swap super last minute, I'm behind on the lectures already so I'm hoping to wake up early and catch up then. I'm trying to work ahead of the assigned labs in my maths 1B and computer data structures course so that I have a bit of breathing room if I hit a roadblock or particularly busy week, so I'm hoping to finish early in the next few days so I have time for that.

On the non-academic side of things, I'm going back to my high school with some friends to see Legally Blonde! It's going to be weird being in the audience and not backstage but it'll be cool to head back and see how things hae or haven't changed. I'll miss not having a headset though, it's fun to hear everything that goes wrong in all the other departments, but I won't miss the stress and lack of sleep.

All in all, uni's been pretty good. I feel like I'm actually settling in now that I've gone through a term and know how things go. It's still early, but I have high hopes for this term as of now!
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Justin_L

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Re: Justin's Journey Journal
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2021, 11:08:15 pm »
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New update - I met up with my high school friends last week to watch this year's school musical Legally Blonde! A surprising number of my them are starting to planning to go overseas and have started getting offers from US and EU universities. I lowkey regret not at least applying or sitting the SAT because having an overseas option would be pretty nice right now; My opinion is that now probably isn't the best of times to be studying in Australia although it could also totally be a "grass is always greener on the other side" kind of thing.

Anyways, I enjoyed the musical a lot and found a lot of parts surprisingly relevant. It was also a lot more deep/inspirational than I expected although perhaps I may just be overexercising the remains of my HSC English skills. It's the first time I've been back at my high school since my HSC Exams, so it was cool seeing how much it's changed.

Onto uni stuff, I'm actually enjoying content a lot more than last term. I've been having a lot of trouble following along to lectures in Maths 1B (MATH1231), so I've been watching youtube videos from 3Blue1Brown and Zach Star which have been really helpful in getting the general intuition of concepts. This will be probably by the hardest math course I have to do since the only other mandatory math I need is discreet math, so I'm hoping to stash all the marks I can pre-exam and just cruise by with a pass. I've found that a lot of the content just feels mind blowing because you start to realise how incredibly complicated the world is and how so many things like coordinate systems are just completely arbitrary or how much things need to be simplified before we can even begin to attempt solving them.

Microeconomics 1 (ECON1101) is a lot more understandable, I've been enjoying learning about building models and there's actually a fair bit of psychology involved which was a pleasant surprise. We've spent the first few weeks building models of simple interactions like production and consumption before moving onto more complex models involving markets and decision making. It's a chill subject which sort of formalises a lot of fairly obvious stuff but then goes the extra mile to mathematically model and prove it before generalising and examining the implications of these ideas. I'm enjoying it quite a lot, especially because we have in person workshops which are fun and actually helpful. I'm actually considering taking some of the later courses like game theory and behavioral economics based on what I've learnt about them so far.

Data Structures and Algorithms (COMP2521) has been a bit of a bludge unit. I was expecting this to be the most fun and relevant class, but it's been fairly disappointing. First off, it's delivered entirely online which just doesn't do very well in terms of learning and engaging with content. My tutorials just feel like extra lectures with a waiting period at the end to get my code marked off, and a lot of the content has been covered or at the very least touched on in HSC Software or COMP1511. I'm grateful for the breathing room though, I've been using the extra time to look into doing some personal projects to build up my coding skills. It's probably not the best time to do this since I'll be getting assignments over the next week but I think it's important that I actually get some experience designing and making things so that I can get more involved with student projects and other programs later down the track.

Overall this term has been pretty good so far! The only other thing is that I need to start going to more society events and meeting more people since my in person classes are pretty limited right now. It's tiring going onto campus but I think that's just because I haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet. See you guys next time!
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