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School of Engineering Blog

School of Engineering Blog

A blog for students, staff, alumni and friends of the School of Engineering.

Designing circuits and stitching dreams: my creative outlets from an engineering degree

Collage of images showing DJ decks, student Molly crocheting and colourful crochet patterns
Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Molly, first year, BEng (Hons) Electrical and Mechanical Engineering 

Beginning my journey at the University of Edinburgh to study engineering was incredibly daunting to begin with. I entered the largest and most advanced academic space I’d ever encountered, and I was eager, wide-eyed, ready to make friends and learn maths that would blow my brain.

I had been tirelessly working for a spot in this lecture hall for months before my exams, and it finally was a reality: I was ecstatic.

The pursuit of this degree requires attention, dedication, and time. However, the university experience is not confined to the lecture hall and workshops, and so I began searching for extracurricular opportunities. Soon after, I began engaging in societies such as the Crochet Club, the Electronic Music Society and the Art Society. These helped foster a calm and balancing environment when my mind needed a rest from the challenging problem-solving in my tutorials.

This balance also aids the creativity that can be found within engineering when designing a solution, and within a future career too, including emphases on time management.

Stitching socials

Crochet Club offers a calm evening each week away from complex numbers and surrounds me with talented students from various degrees and year groups. Students come in with adventurous projects ranging from a wonky scarf with missing stitches (my latest attempt this semester), to advanced sock-making with five knitting needles!

I find crochet has many more links to engineering than first assumed. Crochet flexes our brains creatively, but has a lot of underlying mathematics, with the stitches, and patterns.

My favourite thing about the Crochet Club, however, is the name of the society: “Stitch and Bitch”!

Discovering DJing

Electronic Music Society (EMS) offers much more than just recommending events at Bongos, or Sneaky Pete’s, it provides a vibrant community to share music with and learn new hobbies like DJing. Without EMS, I never would have considered learning how to DJ, and I am so grateful to now have the opportunity.

They have helped unlock a passion for music, so much so that my friends and I next year will be buying and sharing a deck, the poor neighbours!

Creative overlaps

The Art Society offers a diverse range of events including postcard-making workshops, pottery decorating, and much more. I’ve learnt that art and engineering share common ground in terms of the creativity they demand. However, the Art Society provides me with an opportunity to explore creativity purely for enjoyment.

As part of my first year doing engineering at Edinburgh, I had the chance to take an optional class, which was one of the many reasons behind my motivation for picking Edinburgh as my university, and I’ve chosen drawing and design.

Consequently, the Art Society will hold significant importance for me next year, when all semesters will be dedicated to the two disciplines of engineering I’m studying (electrical and mechanical), as it will help me find my balance and is incredibly therapeutic.

In conclusion, I owe a lot to these societies, they have helped me find my flatmates for the years to come, and my best friends at university, and inevitably have helped to make Edinburgh feel like a second home.

The intersection between engineering and these societies aids my university experience in more ways than I first thought. Effective time management becomes paramount. Setting priorities, a weekly routine, and maintaining communications with people are vital skills required to be a successful engineer, this has also been a prominent lesson in my engineering modules first semester.

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