A Week in the Life of a Biomedical Engineer
Being a doctor isn’t the only way to help sick people or contribute to the medical field. Just ask Jacqui Orme, a fourth-year mechanical/biomedical engineering student who also works for one of Australia’s most pioneering biomedical companies – Cochlear. She’s also heavily involved in musical theatre and the queer community at UNSW! Here’s a rundown of her week…
Today I am helping set up the theatre for the ’s next musical. As the lighting designer, my job involves hanging lights 6 metres above the ground!
It’s dress rehearsal time! We run through the entire musical, fix up all the accidental blackouts and add in more colour to make the musical look as pretty as possible. I can’t wait for the opening night on Tuesday!
My first class of the week is anatomy! I like anatomy because it offers a much-needed break from the heavy maths-related subjects throughout the rest of my degree. Today we are learning about the eye and ear. We get to look at histology slides and identify all the cells in the body. That’s class for the day done!
I meet up with the rest of the Engiqueers executive team for our weekly meeting. Today we are planning an industry night where our student members will get to meet with companies that champion their LGBTQIA+ employees, such as Google and Deloitte. We also get to build the UNSW float for Mardi Gras each year, check out the video below!
I head to the gym to give my brain a break from studying. I really like using the rowing machine and working on my upper body strength so I can carry all those textbooks!
Tip: When your term gets busy, don’t be tempted to give up exercise so you can do more study! Exercise helps you concentrate and makes those long study periods more efficient.
I chair the meeting for the UNSW Queer Collective. Each week we meet up to discuss what events we have coming up whilst drinking coffees and eating biscuits. The meeting is in the queer space which is a room where queer students on campus can study, chill out and get to know each other.
Tip: There are plenty of safe spaces on campus! There is one for LGBTQIA+ students, women, people with disabilities, international and culturally diverse students. These are excellent places to meet like-minded students, get help for issues specific to your minority or study.
I have a meeting with my supervisor from UNSW and the Defence Science and Technology Group about my thesis. My thesis is about how passive exoskeletons affect your gait during movement. This thesis is so fun because I get to research different types of exoskeletons (which are external frames worn to support the body).
Tonight is the opening of the musical! The lights look great and the cast is hilarious. One of my best decisions at UNSW was getting involved with the Musical Theatre Society.
More anatomy classes! This time we are doing a wet lab where we inspect cadavers. As a squeamish person, I was a bit confronted by these labs, but they do help you learn a lot.
I take a quick break to catch up for coffee with one of my old friends from the Musical Theatre Society. Joining a club helped me make lifelong friends and improved my overall university experience.
Another meeting with one of my thesis supervisors who flew all the way from Melbourne to help me! He is teaching me how to analyse the angles our bodies make when we are walking. See, all the maths does come in handy!
I am teaching a class in mechanical design this morning. It is really rewarding helping my students learn.
Thursday is my study day! I head to the queer space to study, drink coffee, study, buy more coffee.
Today I go to work at my favourite company of all time, Cochlear! I completed work experience at Cochlear when I was in year 10 and I now work there. Dreams do come true!
After a long day at work, I head back to uni to watch Rupaul’s Drag Race with my friends in the Queer Collective accompanied by some delicious free popcorn!
I go to my dentist for my 6-monthly check-up. Just because I’m busy with uni doesn’t mean I forget to look after my health!
Today is the last day of the musical so I watch the final performance and then help pack up the theatre. Its 1 am by the time we finish, and so we have a party afterwards!
Jacqui Answers YOUR Question!
Q: How do I cope with overall stress in high school and ensure that it doesn’t take over my ability to focus and concentrate?
A: When you are stressed, I recommend taking a break! Go for a run or eat some ice-cream, just let your mind relax before hitting the books again. It’s important in high school to realise that one bad test won’t make or break your marks. There are plenty of ways to follow your dreams regardless of how well you do in school!