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"Making" My Way Through Uni
13 August 2019
I chose Engineering for two reasons:
1) I like building things
2) I like solving problems
I was always a tinkerer who preferred to work on a project rather than sit for tedious exams. In high school I’d often obsess over trying to build my own solution to a problem, but not have the tools to do so!
Early into my second year, I found myself drawn to the makerspaces – workshops that granted students, staff and alumni access to a treasure trove of tools. From wood and
light metal working, laser cutting, CNC machining, water jets- a practical dream. I’d say coming across the space was a true enabler for me to hone my skills and develop my passion for making.
Thanks to that experience, I’ve been granted opportunities that high-school-me could never have dreamt of.
I’ve been part of two student projects- supported by the uni to work on cutting edge UAV’s and rockets, and use them to compete around the globe. My passion for making
saw me join the casual staff for the makerspaces, which has been a wonderful opportunity to shape the campus maker culture.
Let’s go to where that all started, one of my first projects: a wooden bag!
Why a wooden bag?
Apart from the wonderful aesthetic, I’ve always wanted a hard-shell bag that was tailored to fit my belongings. It has a unique laptop storage mechanism, and convenient access panels, not to mention cushioning perfect for me!
Looking back, the bag really helped satisfy my engineering cravings that just weren’t being met sitting in class. A surprising amount of trouble shooting and problems solving was applied to producing 5 or 6 prototypes. I found myself learning new skills like 3D CAD modelling and laser cutting design methodologies all on my own.
Over the 6 months of the project, I met so many helpful individuals that have now become my mentors and friends- largely by coincidentally working on the same desk and just chatting away. There’s just something special about people sharing their individual passions under the same roof.
I learnt along the journey that the act of making can be a powerful one- an act that feeds your curiosities and opens doors for personal development. I advocate strongly for students of all backgrounds and disciplines to engage in making: whether making furniture or jewellery, or even to try fix an old TV- you never know who you’ll meet and what you’ll learn.