Tag Archives: Mechanical

My co-op experience with the Vancouver Airport

For my second co-op position, I was offered a job at YVR. Now, I’m not one of those people who knows every type of plane, but come on, who doesn’t think planes are cool?

My role was in the Engineering Services department, which mainly deals with building and alteration permits. The department often gets involved with little side projects as well, which always kept things interesting! My primary task was reviewing HVAC and plumbing drawings, as well as doing site visits to ensure the construction was consistent with submitted drawings. Before working at YVR, I had zero experience with HVAC and plumbing. Because of this, I was a bit nervous to start. However, I quickly realized that the point of co-op is to learn, you’re not expected to be a professional in your field.

At YVR, I really appreciated that the staff wanted you to get as much out of your experience as possible. Even though I was mostly reviewing drawings, almost every week I would get a chance to be in the terminal building, airside, or in other cool places. Some of the highlights include:

  • A tour of the baggage system
  • Sitting airside and watching planes take off
  • Many visits to the secure side of the airport
  • Getting a tour of the Air Canada hangar (which included lots of pictures with the planes)
  • Going on a big construction site for a pump station replacement
  • A tour of the Ground Run-Up Enclosure
Many wires, tubes, small tanks, and more inside the compartment.

Underneath and inside of the plane… so much to look at!

I would love to say that through this co-op I discovered my passion for HVAC and plumbing, and ever since have been excited to learn more, but I’d be lying. I’ve since realized that my interests are more geared towards robotics and applications in the medical field, which is quite different than the work I was doing at the airport. So am I sad about spending my four months learning about systems that are not directly relevant to my future goals? No way! Any co-op and work experience you get is worth it, even if you end up hating that industry. Maybe I would’ve spent my entire degree thinking I wanted to work with HVAC systems, but that four month co-op saved me time by telling me no, HVAC is not my calling. No co-op term is a waste of time. In addition, I gained many transferable skills that are very beneficial when applying to future jobs. Scanning these plumbing drawings for small flaws requires being very detail oriented, and having to pick up so many new skills and programs in such a short time forced me to become a fast learner.

A plane and some equipment sits on the apron.

All in all, remember that no experience is bad experience. Despite not finding my passion in HVAC and plumbing, I very much enjoyed my co-op at YVR, and gained so many useful skills. Don’t feel discouraged if you are not enjoying the technical aspect of a work term as much as you thought you would. We are all just students trying to figure out what we want to do after our degrees, and sometimes that involves some trial and error.

Tis’ the season….to write midterms

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I hope your semester has been going well so far. If you’re like me, and like most all students on campus, you’re probably in the midst of midterm season.

This week I have my first midterm in MECH 368: Engineering Measurements & Instrumentation. Basically, MECH 368 is a course about electric circuits and how they can be used to represent and measure quantities that we can apply in things such as vibration analysis. I know what you’re thinking: “Electric circuits? MECHANICAL engineers don’t study electric circuits! Leave that to the electrical engineers.”

I thought the same thing.

When I was applying for a second year specialization, part of the reason I chose Mech was because I wasn’t very strong at electrical and I thought that I’d never have to take another electrical course again. I was wrong. Each year, since I’ve been in Mech, I’ve had to take an electrical course. As mechanical engineers, we work with things and systems that move. Nowadays, many of these systems are integrated with electrical systems. It’s inevitable that, one day, you could even be working with an electrical system or an electrical engineer. These electrical courses are tied into our Mech curriculum to allow us to have a basic understanding of electrical systems; so that we can communicate with, or atleast, understand, those electrical engineers one day.

Although I still don’t particularly LIKE electric circuits, I can atleast say that I understand them and their importance better now.

For you first-year readers – I know midterms can seem like a really big deal and can be incredibly stressful. That doesn’t change in upper years (unfortunately), but what does change is your approach to studying for midterms. So a few things that I’ve learned are:

  1. Study early (Avoid those night-before cram sessions)
  2. Study with a group
  3. Ask questions
  4. Do the suggested problems the professor assigns (They are suggested for a reason)
  5. Get enough sleep before midterms!!

Midterms come and midterms go. So, whether you’re studying Taylor Polynomials or figuring out a free-body diagram for some system – remember to take some time to breathe and relax and enjoy your time as UBC student!

Best of luck!


So you want to be a UBC Mech student…

Do you think you have what it takes to become a UBC Mech student? Huh? Do ya? Do ya?

Welcome to the UBC Mech Ambassadors Blog! Your one-stop-shop for all things UBC Mech.

You want to know what it’s REALLY like to be in Mech? You’re in the right place.
You want to get all the insider details on courses? Bingo.
You want to get an idea of what the UBC Mech student community is like? We’ve got you covered.
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My co-blogger, Siddhant, and I are so happy to have you join us. We would love to hear from you – so please feel free to leave us comments and ask us questions!

So, bookmark this blog and join us as we continue our journey to become UBC Mechanical Engineers.

Until next time,