I enjoyed practical subjects in secondary school, but I was not a student that excelled, nor did I truly apply myself, nor did I know what career path I definitively wanted to follow.
After completing the Leaving Cert, I accepted an offer for another engineering degree. I quickly realised it was not for me, so I researched alternate courses within the engineering realm. I completed an AutoCAD 2010 course which piqued my interest in computer-aided design. Finally, I applied for and accepted an offer for mechanical engineering at ATU Sligo.
With every passing semester, how each subject supported and complemented one another became more apparent. I enjoyed how the theoretical was transferable to practical teachings, building pneumatic circuits, completing material testing and experiments, or applying and experiencing mechanical principles. These experimentations and applications made it possible to gain a deeper understanding, which made the theory classes more enjoyable.
Solidworks was by far my favourite module. I’m a visual learner and love to brainstorm concepts and ideas, so utilising Solidworks to interpret ideas into a virtual platform then into a manufacturable output is quite rewarding.
Engineering technology was also enjoyable, such as learning to use lathes, welding and milling machines. All the practical skills I needed to complete the third year integrated project.
I also gained key skills in communication and critical thinking. These have helped me work across multiple industries. Since graduating, I have been very fortunate to work across various sectors both in Ireland and Canada.
In my current role as an Advanced Inventor Designer at Falkbuilt, I work on designing interior construction environments for hospitals, schools and multinational companies.
Here is my advice for any students thinking about a career in this field. Mechanical engineering is extremely broad, which leads to many different roles. Stay true to what makes you happy because having a job that you enjoy is rewarding and fulfilling.
To all incoming first years – show up, attend your classes, apply yourself, and you’ll enjoy this course. Allow yourself to be submerged in each subject; you will be among like-minded people who have the same desire to learn.