I am currently studying my masters in London and this is a typical day as for me as a remote working student during a pandemic.
My name is Naomi, and I am a master’s student studying structural engineering at Brunel University. This week marks week one of my second term of the course. After this term I will have a final one that will run throughout the summer until the end of September where I will submit my dissertation.
My dissertation topic is focused around structural fire engineering and to be more specific, the effects of fire on steel multistory buildings. Since there are lots of travel restrictions and university constraints in place, I have, alongside most of my colleagues on the course, had to focus on desk studies instead of lab work. So this project will use lots of software analysis, so learning that will be interesting.
My course is a taught masters programme, so I have 8 modules that I have to complete alongside my dissertation and I have completed 3 already (Results pending) and I am beginning the remaining 5 this term. This has meant that I spend a great deal of time in lectures each week and sometimes it can be difficult balancing the lectures and assignments alongside the research for my project. But as the year progresses I’m fine-tuning my study habits to get the balance.
I have always been interested in learning things and taking things apart, so I think when I decided to become an engineer it wasn’t a surprise to anyone who knew me. There is so much to learn and do.
The journey to engineering however was in no way a clear path. After gaining my engineering bachelors I actually found myself in the charity sector managing social housing in prisons and hostels and I spent the majority of my twenties doing this and working my way up the corporate ladder. But I always had a niggling feeling of ‘what if’ so I decided to pack up my things and I moved to the west of England to a coastal town call Bournemouth for over a year and that’s when I got a job as a civil engineer.
So I say all of this to say that life isn’t always clear cut, and I don’t regret any of the choices I’ve made. I’ve made life long friends and experienced things that have allowed me to mature and grow.
So that brings me to now, I started up a blog at thecivilgrad.com, and I started documenting my transition into engineering and I also started my Instagram @thecivilgrad where I share my study journey and engineering tips. I’ve got so many ideas and this year I’m hoping to really get some momentum behind the two platforms to help publicise the opportunity engineering and academia in general can provide.
08:30 AM – I’ve begun waking up at around 6.30 AM, but due to the dark, cold mornings I usually just lay in bed for an hour or two listening to an audio book. Once I get up and out of bed I’ll usually drink a glass of water as I really don’t drink enough throughout the day. I’m not really an early morning breakfast person, so I usually skip it until midday ish.
09:00 AM – First lecture of the day is Research Methods and Professional Development. Today the guest lecturer is teaching us about statistics – correlation and regression. I have minimal knowledge on statistics, so I always find these lectures really important and fascinating.
11:30 AM – The next lecture is infrastructure management which consists of asset management and bridge inspections. Today it is all about bridges and all the ways they can fail due to a lack of maintenance.
13:30 PM – Yoga and stretching is something that I don’t do as much as I should. Sometimes when the days are jam packed I forget to even move from my chair for anything besides food and water. The stretch is always appreciated.
14:20 PM – I forgot to get my coffee in the morning since I had lectures back-to-back, so I finally found the cold leftover coffee in the machine that my family made earlier and made a quick iced coffee. Perfect pick me up. I had lunch/breakfast but forgot to take a picture before that was demolished.
15:00 PM – Last lecture for the day is about construction materials and retrofitting technologies. How to make buildings more sustainable, safer, stronger etc after they have already been built. It’s really relevant stuff since a lot of buildings aren’t as eco friendly as they could be. But my eyes ache and I’m glad that’s the last lecture for today. I had a total of 6 hours of lectures.
17:00 PM – Since it’s the new term I needed to download all the relevant documents and pdf books and filed them away for easy access.
17:32 PM – I noted down what I needed to do for tomorrow and any small tasks I needed to complete before I forgot.
18:00 – I played Bojock Horseman while I tidied up my room then went downstairs to make dinner and chill for the evening. I usually fall asleep by midnight, 1AM the absolute latest.
And that is my day in snaps. It’s been an honour being able to share it with you and if you want to reach out to me just hit me up on my Instagram @thecivilgrad or my blog thecivilgrad.com. Thanks for reading!
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