Sunday, February 27, 2011

First Year as Chemical Engineering Student

“You are learning physics and mathematics!”

A phrase was given by my lecturer when I was attending the first day of class for my degree program in chemical engineering. It sounded intriguing. I thought most of the subjects were directly or indirectly related to chemistry. Chemistry is one of the subjects that I like and it became a deciding factor when I chose to pursue chemical engineering degree.

Most of my course mates started to look at each other. The whispering noise among my course mates began to rise. “You will not be learning much on chemistry subject”, said my lecturer. “Your seniors had the same perceptions as well when I first met them. You all will be having a tough time during your first year.” We were asked by our lecturer during our first day of class on whether we are aware that chemical engineering degree is all about learning physics and mathematics.

I must admit that some of us, who came from middle or lower income group family, do not have much choice to choose which degree program that we would like to pursue. We are lucky that we are offered a place at public university. The news of getting a place for my tertiary education at public university was a great relief for my aging parents who worked as government servant back then.

During the first semester of my chemical engineering degree program, I was having a tough time learning the fundamental subjects of chemical engineering programs that were related to physics and mathematics. We were given assignments and tests almost every week till I have lost count how many assignments I have submitted or tests that I have done in class.

However, I have witnessed strong unity among my course mates. We shared our notes and discussed our assignments together. The Malay, Chinese and Indian course mates were seen learning together and hanging out at library or cafeteria to have discussion. It was like the 1Malaysia concept that has always been with us. The difficult subjects of physics and mathematics were becoming easier as we worked and solved together as a team. I began to understand and visualise how these subjects are apply for chemical engineering industry. Most of us started to enjoy the subjects and the perception of being a chemical engineer as we thought at the beginning of the semester changed as the days went by.

Little did I know the truly wonderful things that I have shared with my course mates have lead us to our second year of our degree program. Then, UPM has completed the new engineering faculty with up to date teaching facilities and laboratory to ensure all the engineering students are competence and equipped with the latest engineering practices once they graduate from UPM.

At the beginning of my second year of engineering degree program, a phrase that I have heard a year ago submerged again.

“You are learning physics and mathematics!”

The phrase was told by one of my course mates to our juniors who were attending their first day of class for chemical engineering degree program. Perhaps this is a popular phrase among chemical engineers at the beginning of their first semester and the cycle starts again!

by Engr. Ngeow Yen Wan


Chem said...

Go ahead!
I am chemical engineer from Bangladesh where I cant see my future :/

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