Anders is a 20 year old student in the third year of a Bachelor of Engineering - Mechatronic (Space) at the University of Sydney (Darlington campus). He is majoring in Mechatronic engineering and minoring in Space.

What are the requirements to graduate from your degree?
To graduate from my degree, I need to pass the subjects that are set for me each semester, nothing more. While there are no electives in Mechatronics for the first three years of the degree students have the opportunity, depending on marks, to overload and do an Advanced Engineering Subject. To stay enrolled in the Space sub-major, and thus graduate that component, I am expected to maintain a distinction average.

What are your 3-5 favourite aspects of your degree?
-Being with other students who also get excited about robots!
-The Mechatronics subjects are quite technical and demonstrate practical applications of the material covered.
-By third year, I can see that the skills I have learnt in most of my subjects can actually be applied to real world engineering problems.

What are your 3-5 least favourite aspects of your degree?
-First two years involve subjects which are less Mechatronics focused than I would have liked at the time. (Although in hindsight these are more or less necessary)
-Some subjects are not taught to a very high standard and feel like a bit of a filler for the semester.
-No electives given so far. Sometimes feels a bit too rigid!

How many hours of class do you have and how many hours do you spend studying outside of class time?
I normally have around 20-25 face-to-face hours in any one semester. On top of this, I would probably spend about 10-20 hours a week doing work outside of class, depending on what assignments or projects are due. I think this is more than enough most of the time. I enjoy the majority of projects I am completing and so will spend longer than I really need to on them! It all depends on your motivation.

How do you find the helpfulness of academic staff?
There are some really helpful lecturers that I have had over the past few years. A lot of them are genuinely passionate about what they are teaching and so are more than willing to help you with any problems you may have. A lot of the Mechatronics lecturers do research with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) on campus and so are able to describe, or even show, what they are working on. Seeing engineers out solving problems in the real world is a lot more interesting than a textbook.

What have you heard about the same or similar degree at other universities?
I have heard that some other universities offer a more practical Mechatronics course than Sydney does, although I really have nothing to compare with. I find my course offers an adequate opportunity for me to develop as an engineer as long as I am motivated to do so. Having ACFR on campus means that I have the opportunity to see experimental robotics if I wish to.

What made you choose this degree at this university?
I had heard a lot about the University and knew it had a lot going for it external to what degree I ended up choosing. The description of the course was appealing (especially the name) and I got good advice from faculty members on open days.

What are your 3-5 favourite aspects of your university?
-The great social environment
-The variety of co-curricular clubs and societies that are there to get involved in if you want (or have time!).
-The location. As I catch the train, being a short walk from Redfern Station is a huge plus.

What are your 3-5 least favourite aspects of your university?
-Could have more accessible computer/printing facilities.
-Internet situation could be more accessible
-Some engineering buildings are in need of a revamp.

What were the hardest adjustments coming from school to university?
I think the new found freedom was a bit hard to get used to at first. It is awesome, but it took me a while to use it properly! The larger lectures mean that making friends sometimes takes a bit of effort, as does keeping on track with all your subjects. I found that at Uni each subject covered material a lot quicker than at school.

Was this degree your first choice?
This degree was my first choice, although I was leaning towards an Advanced Science degree for a while. I am very glad that I chose an engineering degree in the end and have no misgivings.

How do you find the social aspects/events of this university and do you get involved with them?
The social aspects of the university are one of its strongest points. There is always a sense as I walk through the campus that heaps is happening. I am constantly surprised by what clubs and societies exist, from chocolate appreciation society to the lego club. I have been involved with some clubs in the past but spend my time elsewhere nowadays. The university puts a lot of effort into holding special events throughout the year and my facebook is constantly flooded with event invitations for various things happening on campus.

Do you aim to do further study after your undergraduate degree?
Nah, I think this degree has been hectic enough as is.

What do you want to do when you leave uni?
I would love to get a job with a hands on nature by which I could see an idea of mine come into reality. I am becoming more and more interested in autonomous vehicles as I study and would love to find a job in that area. I have also been given sponsorship by the RAAF and am looking forward to working with them initially as an aerospace engineer on the completion of my degree.

What are the things you wish you had known in first year?
The amount of work required for each subject, what lectures I could skip and when.

Where did you grow up?

Do you live at home/college/sharehouse/other?
I still live at home and take advantage of the free cooking, cleaning, washing and bed. Whilst this is great it normally takes me over an hour to travel to and from uni each day. I think that living right next to uni would allow me to throw myself more into the social life on campus.

How do you get to uni and how long does it take?
I catch the train each day to Redfern station and then walk. The trip normally takes an hour from the door of my house to the lecture theatre but is highly dependent on the mood of CityRail on any given day. I think the train is also quite good in that you can spend your travel time reading, talking to people or cramming for the exam you forgot to study for the previous night.

Do you work casually/part time?
I tutor people in Maths on a casual basis, totalling from 5-10 hours a week. The good thing about my job is that I can fit it around my uni timetable and change it around at the last minute to accommodate for going out with friends etc I normally find a good balance between uni work, tutoring and my social life but am sometimes a caught off-guard and forget that I have to fit sleep in there somewhere as well.

How would you summarise your time at uni in one sentence?
With lots of commas.

But seriously, I have had a great time at uni so far, learning heaps through a degree I am passionate about and making a bunch of great friends along the way.

Some things about you!
What did you want to be when you were a kid? A firetruck.
Where’s the best place to study? On the beach, in the sun. Though I interpreted “best” as most relaxing, not that place where you’d actually get any work done...
What’s your dream job? Building robots that make life better for people.