I have been aware that I was interested in the area of engineering from quite a young age. I used to spend hours at the dining table drawing house plans, mazes, road networks and rail maps; anything related to construction or infrastructure – I even tried my hand at a hospital at one point.
When I began to think about careers and what sort of job I would be interested in, the first thought that came to mind was architecture, but I realised that, whilst I enjoyed spending days out looking at the designs and modelling of different building and bridges, what I really wanted to do was to be the person to make it stand up. Coupled with the fact that I was fairly handy at maths, and art was hardly one of my strengths, engineering seemed like the course for me, and it was Civil Engineering that paired itself up with the majority of my interests – ones which I had been growing since I was young.
Almost within a few weeks of starting at the University of Bristol, I had confirmed to myself that the choice had been the right one. The degree itself is very maths-heavy, don’t get me wrong, but there is also a wide range of units which deal with the socio-cultural aspects of engineering, the impacts it has on its surroundings, and the risks involved with such projects. I’ve had my fair share of research essays, which both increase your knowledge of fairly specific topics that you would not cover during the general syllabus, and prepare you for writing essays and reports in the future, especially in terms of the referencing that is used.
In the future, I’m pretty set on staying well within the field of civil engineering, although there are so many different paths you can take once there, and I am not yet sure which field I’d like to go into. Hopefully the more topic-specific units which I cover in the next two years and any experience that I can get with engineering firms will help me to discover what specifically I am passionate about and to which area I can devote the most effort.
Follow Joshua’s PhD progress here.