Phil Breguet

Bachelor of Science student, Phil Breguet, discusses his love of engineering and gives his advice to fellow mature-age students.

Of all the reasons influencing my decision to study at Melbourne, the strongest was the desire to be surrounded by other motivated, intelligent individuals from whom I could learn. Melbourne’s high entry standards result in every student you meet having some positive combination of smarts and work ethic, with engaging opinions and ideas of their own. This creates a dynamic atmosphere within which to become educated and grow as a person.

The opportunity to complete post-graduate study in two years as opposed to three was also enticing. As was the necessity for breadth units: for some, breadth allows alternative pathways to remain open, for others it is a chance for personal development.  For myself breadth provides a brief respite from the sciences, an opportunity to enrich my mind with more humanities based subjects.

Engineering is a career which allows me to utilise my creativity, satisfies my need for mental stimulation and provides the social dynamic I love of working with teams. The project-oriented nature of some engineering disciplines - such as civil - provides the chance to alternate between projects, work with a diverse mix of people, and constantly be challenged to learn new skills.

I enjoy problem solving and helping others. I would like to be able to benefit disadvantaged nations whose people lack the technological benefits I’m fortunate enough as a citizen of a first world state to consider mundane – such as potable water. Humanity needs to push forward, to look beyond perceived limitations and find solutions to global challenges, and I want to be a part of it. I see the study of engineering as equipping me with the tools to make the most of my talents to this end.

A late learner, the importance of basic self-care only dawned with the benefit of post-first year hindsight. You can easily get lost studying too hard, without being conscious of just how significantly detrimental the impact an unbalanced life can have. Get the fundamentals right: sleep well, eat well, exercise well, and make time for good friends. Less stress, better memory retention, better decision-making, better performance.

To fellow mature-age students lacking an education in maths and science: if you have met the minimum requirements to be accepted by Melbourne then appreciate you have the aptitude. Studying Engineering will not be easy, but with a dedicated work ethic and strong time-management it IS achievable.

There is a risk associated with full-time study in what are normally considered income-earning years, and with a time-demanding course like engineering personal sacrifices get made. But the risk is outweighed by the potential benefits of an engaging, satisfying career. And study has its own rewards. Embrace the challenge and go for it!

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