My name is Jason Carroll and I am currently a first-year student in Engineering. 

I decided that I wanted to study Engineering during my Leaving Cert year. I began working part-time on a farm at the beginning of 2018 and as part of my job I worked with both cattle and farm machinery quite often, however I always had a greater interest in the machinery side of things. I was fascinated by the work that went into making these machines from a drawing and design aspect, as well as understanding the maths that went into making these machines work. 

 I researched several engineering courses around the country. However, when I visited UL during the open day in 2019, I fell in love with the campus. Having researched the course and seeing the amazing facilities on campus, as well as learning about the work placement opportunities available, I knew that this was the University for me. 

In engineering, we take all of the maths which we have learned so far and expand upon it and using the mathematical tools we have learned we then apply this to real-world problems. It is very interesting to see just how big a part engineering plays in the world around us. I can no longer look at the world the same way, whether I am looking at the structure of a building and breaking down the forces that keep it standing, or watching a car drive down the road and thinking about the forces involved in moving it. 

Having started college in the middle of a pandemic, my first year has been quite different from what I had expected. Due to the vast majority of the course being done online, I had very little opportunity to meet or talk to my peers. However, thanks to group projects in certain modules I got the chance to meet new people and form new friendships.  

My favourite of the group projects that I have worked on was the DBC (Design, Build, Compete) project. Our objective was to design a small battery-powered car that would traverse a 5° slope while carrying a water bottle.  

Some of the steps in our design process included creating drawings of potential designs for our car, doing calculations to find out what were the optimum wheel size/ pulley sizes to use in our car’s design and creating a 3D model of our car using CAD software.  

Another highlight of my year in UL was being elected as one of the Class Reps for my course. It was the job of myself and my fellow class reps to communicate any issues which students may have to our lecturers and vice versa. The role of Class Rep allowed me to form relationships with even more of my peers as well as with our lecturers, this was especially important to me in a time where we had to keep apart. 

Despite not having spent much time on campus, I really did enjoy using the facilities available to us. It gave me the opportunity to conduct experiments as a group during our lab hours, learn how to build circuits, or learn how to write code in the computer labs. Outside of the classroom, I got to take advantage of some of the other facilities available to students such as the UL Sport Arena. I am a lover of all things fitness, whether it be hiking, running, swimming or weightlifting, so once I had finished my studies for the day you could find me down at the arena. 

 Another great thing about the course is just how broad it is. As first years we get a taste of all the different areas of engineering such as Civil, Mechanical, Biomedical, Aeronautical, Electrical and Design and Manufacture engineering.  While I was in secondary school, I thought that mechanical engineering was the discipline for me. When it came time to choose my area of study for second year, I had decided that I would rather study Design and Manufacture engineering. This was thanks to my exposure to all the different disciplines, I really got to discover for myself what my interests were.