Name: Gloria (Weijiang) Lin
Course: Mechanical Engineering
Hi! I am a first-year Mechanical Engineering student at The University of Sheffield who newly got into the exciting IEA scheme. Lovers of physics, graphical design, mathematics...and sci-fi literature (that's probably the main reason for me to choose mechanical engineering). Thinking about my protagonist being able to use the device built up using the pieces of materials I am holding against the rumbling machines always keeps me excited inside a workshop for hours. But don't worry, mechanical engineers do not live in workshops. In fact, for mechanical engineers thinking skills are equally important as practicing ones, and they tend to spend more time in office designing and re-designing models. In this first post of mine I will be sharing my perspective on the Department, the University and the City according to my experience in Sheffield in the past three months.
Adventure before The Adventure
I spent most of the time in my life being just ordinary until I made the decision of becoming an international student at the age of fifteen. A flight ticket from China to New Zealand invited me to a completely different world of culture and perspective, where I had a taste of independence. This experience helped with my decision of becoming a student at the University of Sheffield.
Climb aboard the spaceship UoS
When one includes the terms 'mechanical engineering' and 'Uni of Sheffield' in his/her self introduction, most people will automatically file that person under the 'smart' category (especially for female students). Apparently this is not the reason why I chose the University of Sheffield, well, not the only reason. The Department of Mechanical Engineering in UoS has been ranked 3rd in Times Good University Guide 2014, and 4th in Complete University Guide 2013. Honestly, I do feel proud, not of the numerical record, but of the fact that the wonderful experience a student can gain here has been recognized on a worldwide scale.
When I describe the University of Sheffield as a spaceship I draw resemblance between the two -- multi-functional, complexly structured, and being able to transport people through the unknown space.
I've always known that a university is never a place for studying only, but it was at the Clubs and Societies Fair when I actually felt it. I was amazed by the number and variety of societies offered by the UoS. All I remember was to keep signing up and I ended up receiving more than twenty emails per day in the first few weeks.
The complexity of structure in the UoS is typically demonstrated in the Sir Frederick Mappin Building, the main building for most engineering students. It takes more than twenty minutes to escape from this building when one fails to follow the crowd. However, much as the frustration you feel when getting lost in the maze-like building thus being late for lectures, being able to arrive at the correct location inside Mappin Building where you have not explored before brings you satisfaction.
As a first year undergrad student, I can hardly say anything about my future plan other than 'being an engineer after my degree'. However, after three month's study of my course I have been given an insight of how engineers work in reality (rather than the crazy genius in sci-fi) together with the knowledge and techniques required. For engineers, teamwork is the essential, good design the key, and commitment the indispensable. The course at UoS is designed to equip us with the skills and knowledge to become a professional engineer, including lecturers providing knowledge in a comprehensive way, tutors always ready to help, and countless discussions with fellow students. Like a spaceship, the University of Sheffield is able to guide its students through the unknown darkness before they land on a new planet and start their own exploration.
Prospective Passenger Information
Ø No panic -- for those leaving home for the first time, Sheffield is a welcoming and comfortable city and support is easily accessible (you may either apply for a Residence Mentor or post enquiries in the comment of IEA blog).
Ø Get involved -- check emails and What's On Diary for information of activities and workshops, going on a daytrip with friends is also a good idea.
Two of the key ingredients of a good time at university are learning to look after yourself and making friends. And remember, we are always here to help.