And heyho! Summer break’s over, it’s the my third year in college and the start of Michaelmas now. A whole new world of exciting studying, homework-rejoicing and sociallife-killing fun awaits! Oh bummer.

Cambridge

Third year engineering here in Cambridge is where the specialization in your field actually starts, as you actually get to learn what you (or for most Singaporeans here, what your scholarship provider) want to study, with specific modules students get to choose beforehand. The case here is different to those in other UK universities, say Imperial college, where they are known for engineering themselves and where specialization of the course starts explicitly on day one (just like what they do in NUS and NTU too). The last 2 years beforehand here on the other hand were spent literally learning everything an engineer should know under the sun- electronics, thermodynamics, statics, dynamics, information, computing, mathematics, etc. That’s why my first 2 years (particularly the second) here are usually the toughest years for engineers in Cambridge university.

Looking back, as what my Directors of Studies like to say, it offers somewhat a more holistic learning viewpoint to engineering, the interesting stand here in Cambridge is that even if you intend to be an electrical engineer, you will have to understand at least civil, structure and mechanical engineering. So you won’t be a complete idiot in the other fields with at least tertiary understanding how buildings stand, mobile phones or turbine engines work. But of course at the expense of your sanity with the breakneck speeds they teach their courses here. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world where you get to pack on so much to study in such short term time here.

But what doesn’t kill you does make you stronger. Having said that, you will get to some what specialize in your third year, choosing relevant modules in your chosen field of specialization. Each module has it’s own set of requirement like laboratory sessions, supervisions (often with TA, PhD students) and technical reports to write, which will be grade on positive credit.

In comparison, this is somewhat similar to the system in the States where you can jump all about different kinds of unrelated modules in your first 2 years, but not to the extent of completely going of engineering, say taking physiology, anthropology or arabic studies for instance. Only that the choices are more structured and related to engineering here. It’s somewhat a free, but not so what-free based engineering course in terms of the compulsory courses you have to go through in the first 2 years, namely called the part I and part II of the course.

Time do flies as a third year now, long are the excuses of being naive anymore, in no time I will be on my senior graduating year soon. So lets take on the new academic year in a positive light.

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