Intense. Quick. Opportunities. Work. Friends.Jason Ren

My first few weeks at UNSW summarised into just five key words, but, perhaps it’s best to start where it all began…

By the end of high school, I already had my sights set firmly on engineering so the only question remaining was, ‘Which university do I go to?’

There were two main reasons which made me feel UNSW Engineering was where I belonged. From my first visits to campus I was blown away by the amazing facilities (from industrial saws, to 3D printers, to laser cutters and more), but I also sensed an incredible community that I have since grown to trust and engage with.

Visiting the stalls and chatting with society reps at O-week, I was impressed at the professionalism of the societies as well as how friendly and open people were. Now, more than halfway through my first term, I’m embedded in the community and look forward to getting involved in many of the opportunities that arise throughout my degree.

I’ve always been a hands-on-person and enjoy designing and making things but I’m also interested in the medical industry, especially with the recent developments of robotics in surgery, bionic vision and the DNA editing tool, CRISPR Cas9. I see biomedical engineering as a path to seamlessly combine these twin interests and almost can’t wait to start working in the rapidly evolving industry. By the time I graduate who knows what kind of new fields will be open for me to explore.

Speaking of growth and change, I must admit it took me a couple of weeks to adapt to the rhythm of university life. All my courses were in full swing by day two and I seemed to have a never-ending stream of tasks. As a result, I found I was spending the vast majority of my time studying. However, I soon realised this was not a healthy work-life balance.

Of course, it’s important to study but it’s also important to make friends and enjoy life so I’ve started planning out my week in advance and using small snippets of time, such as my commute to uni, productively. I plan and visualise all the tasks that need to be done which puts me in a positive mindset and stops me feeling overwhelmed.

Organising my schedule in this way gives me time to get involved in co-curricular activities and so far, I’ve joined the Engineering Industries Program, the SumoBots competition and the Engineering Society. Co-curricular activities are a good way to relax and bring balance to my life but also provide opportunities to connect with students in higher years which has been immensely beneficial. At times, I felt the countless tasks and quizzes were pointless, but speaking to other students helped me clarify where my degree was taking me and what I could expect in the future. My involvement has also boosted my communication, organisation and time management skills and I’m enjoying organising society events and connecting with professionals already working in industry.

So, yes, like I say: Intense. Quick. Opportunities. Work. Friends. My first few weeks at UNSW have been very rewarding. UNSW has a truly amazing and tight-knit community, my journey has just begun and I cannot wait to see where it takes me.