A century of achievement 1913 - 2013
Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
 
 

Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Eric Grandinger

 
Eric

MPE Civil

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone in seeking out dialogue with others in your cohort because the sooner you build social capital in the form of healthy relationships with your peers, the better off you will be socially as well as academically; culminating in a fluid blend of soft and hard skills employers look for. 

Prior to starting my civil engineering journey at UWA in 2013, I went on a six month work and travel stint around India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia not knowing exactly what it was I wanted to study. Having grown up in Europe and Australia, I was used to and never really questioned the presence of high quality infrastructure in my day to day life.  It wasn’t until this trip to Asia that I realised the paucity of fundamental infrastructure in other parts of the world; ranging from open sewer mains and giant pot holes in busy intersections to severely deficient housing and public amenities.

This, coupled with my childhood love for Lego and innate desire to help others led me to pursue a degree in civil engineering and I would love to share some advice with aspiring engineers eager to hit the ground running with an engineering degree at UWA.

  1. UWA has one of the most vibrant and inclusive engineering society landscapes out of all Australian universities. Besides signing up to clubs that pique your interest and becoming an active member, I can only urge you to get more formally involved on a committee. Being a co-founder of The Civil Society UWA and seeing the club grow from 5 members to over 100, attract its first sponsors and excite the civil student body with unique networking quiz nights and technical sessions is an amazing experience and one you are able to share as part of a team.
  2. This leads me to the importance of adopting a lively mix of curiosity and initiative in your attitude. University is fundamentally different to high school in that you will spend less time in formal classroom environments and more time working towards a deadline on complex group projects that require elevated initiative and team ownership. In my opinion, that is absolutely fantastic and equips you well for the project-based engineering industry, yet not having things spelt out and tackling open-ended problems can be challenging at first. So don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone in seeking out dialogue with others in your cohort because the sooner you build social capital in the form of healthy relationships with your peers, the better off you will be socially as well as academically; culminating in a fluid blend of soft and hard skills employers look for.
  3. Finally, a key facet towards becoming an engineer is consolidating your theoretical knowledge with practical insights and skills. Uni laboratory experiments are a great first step but it is only through work experience in an engineering practice that you see how the numbers really stack up, how concrete is cast or how pile foundations bear loads. I have been fortunate to work on some thrilling high-rise and mixed-use developments in Malaysia and Germany during my studies to complement and build on the theory acquired at uni. And whilst sharing advice on how to approach the search for an internship is intricate and quite personalised, a lot of it boils down to how well you are able to convey your eagerness and passion for your chosen field and demonstrate knowledge of the industry you are applying for that will set you apart at the final hurdles.