Mechanical Engineering is not just for men – as the story of Mirjam proves.
My search for what to study started in vwo 5. At first it was strange to think that I would go to university and go and live somewhere else. But visiting various Open Days gave me more insight and certainty about my future. I knew that I really wanted to study something technical with a lot of physics and mathematics. The first time I heard about Mechanical Engineering was during an Open Day at the university in Eindhoven. I never had a special interest in engineering. With Lego, I used to build little houses with flower boxes rather than big cranes. And I had never tried to fix my bike or take an appliance apart. So it did not seem like a suitable course for me.
A year later, I was at the University of Twente's Open Day and I had time to visit one more programme. Out of curiosity, I decided to drop in on Mechanical Engineering again. I realized then that being a handyman or –woman was not a condition for studying in this field. After comparing other studies and talking to someone inside the technical sector, I came to the conclusion that Mechanical Engineering was the degree that best matched my interests as well as my plans to become a teacher or to work for Defence. I finally chose Mechanical Engineering because of the broad technical foundation you get, the many opportunities on the job market after you graduate and because of its practical applicability.
In this last year I have learned an incredible amount. I was expecting a lot of physics and mathematics – and we certainly got that! But for every module there are also two practical assignments. That is how I learned different ways of welding. We also altered the structure of pieces of steel. This practical side of the programme ensures that you get a feel for the material you learn about in the theoretical classes.
I am not always good at motivating myself for subjects that are less appealing to me. At university, no one checks to see if you are doing your homework. You have to plan and decide yourself which assignments you are going to do. And you find out during exams whether you have done enough or not. So far, my exams have always gone well, but sometimes the week before exams has been pretty rough. The moral of the story, just like in high school, is: 'Start studying early'. Unfortunately, that has not changed.
I chose Enschede because I could picture myself walking around there. The university and campus are very spacious, but still small-scaled compared to Delft and Eindhoven. I have a room on campus that is right on the edge of the woods, which I find very restful. Down-town Enschede has a lot of options for leisure activities. And I can always go to my student association for drinks and social contacts.
All in all, in Enschede I have found an interesting programme with fun practical assignments and plenty of depth as well as a good balance between rest, fun and hard work.
First-year Mechanical Engineering student