Guest Post: My Experience as an Engineering Student

Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Vanessa. I have my blog at therealnessonline.com and I am in full-time employment at an automotive engineering company where they sponsor me to do my degree part time. I joined the company in September 2012 where I started a 4-year apprenticeship. I was originally going to read physics at university but instead went through the apprenticeship route. I do my degree via the Open University but I go to college every week where we have teachers taking our subjects.

Typically, you would expect more males than females taking the course, and you are right there. In my class of 19, 3 of us are female. For STEM subjects there is often a lack of interest, especially for girls. I’ve had career talks before and I have noticed the main problem is girls finding the career being more suited to men and the job being dirty and greasy. Secondly, the base subjects to engineering are maths and science (mainly physics). They are considered difficult subjects so those who tend to choose engineering often like the challenge and logic to it, which I do!

To be honest, it’s not easy. It’s not a breeze in the park. I find it difficult predominantly due to the lack of resources and I personally don’t enjoy my lectures. I have had times of frustration. I have had times where I sit and cry. Somehow I still get good marks (don’t ask how) but it does feel painful doing it as I work full time. The degree is part time, so it is strung over 5 years which does feel like 5 years of slow, painful, torture. 5 years of Foundation Degree & BEng.

The only relaxing part to my degree is the non-related subjects such as Learning Skills Development and Employability Skills, which are practice report writing and self-evaluation, so for once it feels good to not think about the other topics. Most of my subjects are maths based. In my second year 4/5 subjects were maths based! Hardly that much theory to it, just sums after sums after sums!

But, even after all of it the degree will be worth having so I can climb the career ladder – that is something I am thankful for. In the end I will be in a well paid respectable career. It is such a mind boggling challenge going through it but when you see the goal at the end then it is worth it all!

A STEM career is very rewarding in my opinion, no matter what branch you go into. Yes it is hard but if you love a challenge and could possibly be a change whether its a discovery or an invention or doing something to help others I would definitely recommend going into it as a career. You will not regret it!


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