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Engineering student in lab

A day in the life of an Engineering student

09/12/2020 |

Helen is a Master of Professional Engineering (Civil Engineering) student who has just completed her final exams. We caught up to find out about a typical day in her life.

Why did you choose this course?

I graduated from my Bachelor of Science, majoring in Engineering Science and French. Since I love travelling, I wanted a career that could take me anywhere in the world, and engineering seemed like the obvious choice. Luckily for me, there are now so many international opportunities available for engineers of every type. During my time at UWA, I’ve had an engineering internship experience at Disney World and also spent a semester in Sweden studying renewable energy.

Me sweating it up in -18° weather

What’s been your favourite thing about this course?

I really enjoy maths and science, and studying engineering combines these areas with problem solving and the application of real-world critical thinking skills. Engineering isn’t really just about calculations anymore; you have to approach problems with an empathetic mind and be able to consider all sorts of viewpoints.


I’m very much a night owl, so mornings used to consist of dragging myself out of bed to take three different legs of public transport to uni, just in time for my lectures and morning tutes. The Reid Library postgrad floor and I are very well acquainted. If you need a study environment where the air conditioning, sound levels and light never change, the postgrad floor is that freaky, oddly reassuring place.

Now that everything’s online, it’s a nice, slow wake up and a couple of lectures once I feel alive. I’m not a coffee person but food is a great motivator, so I’ll do a bit of work to get myself closer to lunch time. Having everything uploaded on LMS now means I can do five lectures in a row if the mood strikes me. If I’ve got a group assignment due soon, I’ll chase up anyone who hasn’t finished their part for the project.



Chasing down the whippy van at uni


My friends and I will often plan our schedules on the Class Allocation System pre-semester so our classes are grouped on the same day. This enables group dates where we can meet up, stuff our faces, complain, laugh and cry about how the semester is going. Broadway’s selection of restaurants and cafés usually satisfies everyone’s tastes, unless there’s something free from a UWA student club…



My friend Immy and I trying to stay awake while lazing on Oak Lawn


Having stuffed ourselves at lunch, everyone is pretty useless in the arvo and one by one, we make our excuses and go home after surfing Facebook for a couple hours. If I’ve got an afternoon tute, I’ll head there to make use of the student tutors who are always there to answer any questions your unit coordinator might have missed. Some tutors also offer Zoom help sessions or LMS discussion boards to ask questions on, which is great when you have work or family commitments during the week.

Around exam time, I’ll be getting to the postgrad floor early in the morning and leaving late at night. Too many times have I been the last person to go and the first person back the next morning! Luckily for me, there’ll usually be at least a few of my friends also chained to the library, so we meet up for random snack and morale breaks.



A quick group cram before an open-book exam

After dark

Once I get home, I zone out watching TV or do some crafts. If it’s nice weather, I’ll go out for a bike ride just before sunset so I can pretend I’m sporty and fit. I’m a major procrastinator but upcoming assignments or exams mean I’ll begrudgingly hit the books after dinner and late into the night – depending on how much I’ve procrastinated!


I love being creative and working on crafts and DIY projects, especially if it means I can make something from scratch, personalised to my taste, rather than buying it. I also love baking, reading and puzzles – I’m basically ready to retire right now.

When I’m not granny-ing out or hanging with my dog, I love going out for a meal with friends or having an espresso martini overlooking a body of water. There’ll always be something on the weekend, whether it’s a friend’s birthday or a housewarming. This helps keep me sane during semester, breaking up the monotony of lectures, tutes and assignments.

I love the opportunities to get involved in the social scene at UWA. I’ve been part of different faculty, social and sport committees over the years, and my most recent experience is with Perth International, UWA’s club for returned and visiting exchange students. Even though COVID definitely put a halt to our activities this year, I’ve met some of my best friends and had awesome experiences with people from all over the world through the club.



Perth International club

Another hobby I’ve had lately is giving blood. I’ve started a gang to go together and each time we’ve donated, we’ve gathered a couple more friends to join. It’s a super wholesome activity and then you get to have as many snacks as you want after!


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