Arjun Nair - Third Year Mechatronics student When I say Mechatronics the first thing people usually say is “Did you mean robotics?” and to be fair they’re right. For a degree that incorporates different disciplines like Computing, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering you’d expect nothing less. So, what does it mean to be a Mechatronic Engineer and what kind of experiences can you expect to have over the course of your degree? Well what better way to answer that question that with Four Quintessential Mechatronics Student Experiences.

Experience 1 Getting hands on experience in a project 

Nearly all Mechatronic Engineers I know have been engaged in projects in some form or other as they are perhaps one of the best ways to apply the engineering knowledge you’ve learnt in class in a fun, engaging and collaborative manner. And now as part of the UNSW ChallENG Program, you can get either Credit or Industrial Training while doing project-based learning.

Join an exciting Vertically Integrated Project and get into cutting edge research. You could perhaps develop hi-tech robotic skin with Smart Wearable Tech VIP project. Or perhaps you’re more interested in drones? In which case the Student Project Flight Labs would be the perfect fit. Or maybe you just want to kick back and watch the robot you’ve built clash against another bot? Then Sumobots might be for you. Whatever your passion, I guarantee there’s a student project with your name written all over it. 

Experience 2 - Navigating campus 
Navigating Campus is tricky enough as it is for a newcomer but what makes it even harder for a mechatronic engineer (and arguably more fun) is the fact that studying a broader range of courses than other engineering disciplines means you’ll have your courses spread out over a larger area of campus. Everyone can recall the struggle of finding that one tutorial class buried away in some nook of a building or the vague directions given when needing to collect our ELEC1111 lab kits. But you’ll be blessed with finding that super niche study spot where you can study with friends completely undisturbed. 

Experience 3 – Societies           
Joining a society is almost a given at UNSW given the sheer number of them but which ones should you join and what do they have to offer? First and foremost would be the UNSW Mechatronics Society (MTRNSoc) and all the other engineering societies. Combined, these societies will provide you with all the social events, industry nights, professional development workshops and community to make you feel right at home in your degree. I would also strongly recommend Create as a go to for any budding mechatronic students. Their beginner workshops and classes provide you with an insight and hands on experience programming things like Arduinos and using distance sensors, motors and servos.

Experience 4 – Use Tools & Tech - The Makerspace 
Ah yes the UNSW Makerspaces, the second home of the Mechatronic Engineer. If you’ve ever done ENGG1000 you’ll be familiar with the Makerspace and its variety of tools and machines available for use. Packed with 3D printers, laser cutters and every contraption you can imagine, this is the place to go for all your DIY projects. Many a time have a stopped off at the makerspace to finish off some work or have a chat with the people already in there and find out what they’re working on.