• Balance

    Fletcher Clugston

    Cannon Contributor

    Engineering at UofT is hard work. We put in more hours than most full-time jobs. It’s easy to let school take over, especially when it is midterm or exam season. When I came to Engineering the workload was a shock. I was forced, or at least I thought I was, to give up all of the things I had done for fun. My hobbies got pushed to the side and forgotten about. I stopped reading and didn’t even bother to get a library card in first year. I stopped drawing and painting, thinking that I didn’t have the time to spare. All of the hobbies I had enjoyed in high school were put off. I would pick them back up when I had more time I told myself, perhaps after midterms, or after that big assignment. The time never came for me however, I didn’t jump back into painting or a good book or anything that I truly loved to do. Engineering took up all my time.

     

    After a year of mediocre grades and tons of stress I decided I needed change. My first year was the worst year I had in engineering. I was homesick, struggled to make good friends, felt overwhelmed by school, and considered dropping out. I felt like school was consuming my life. In my second year, I knew I needed to things differently. I changed how I studied and how I scheduled my time. I took days off from studying and went out with friends. I made sure to make time for the things I loved. Things that had nothing to do with school or engineering. I started reading novels again and drawing in between assignments. I forced myself to make time for the things I actually enjoyed doing. The amount of time I spent studying and thinking about school in general decreased. School was still a priority in my life, but I just made sure it wasn’t the only priority in my life. I became happier and felt less stress from school, even though second year was more academically challenging than the first. Throughout my second year, I started to feel the weight lifting off my chest. 

     

    Counter to my intuition, my marks soared. I was studying less than in first year, but I was back to my high school marks. Making time for the things that made me happy paid off. Engineering was still extremely difficult and stress-inducing but I’d learned how to deal with it more effectively. Making time in my life for things that had absolutely nothing to do with school such as reading a book, drawing a picture of my favourite character from a game, or simply hanging out with my friends allowed me to spend the time I devoted to studying more efficiently. It’s important to have balance in your life. School is important, but so is your happiness. If I wasn’t happy at school, I couldn’t do well no matter how much time I spent studying. Studying less and investing my time in my own well being paid off more than I could have hoped for. 

     

    Fast forward to a few years later, I have great friends, a growing portfolio of art, and several books on the go. I’ve become a tap dancer and am working towards creating a performance piece in the future. I also have the best grades I have ever had and I still don’t spend the same number of hours studying as I did in my first year. Learning how to balance my life was the best thing I ever learned how to do. Balancing life is part of becoming an adult. When we enter university, our time becomes our own. It is up to us how we choose to spend it. Finding out how to effectively use my time is one of the greatest lessons engineering taught me. Engineering doesn’t have to be four years of stress and sleepless nights spent studying. Most of us only go to university once, and it’s important to spend our time here as best we can.

  • Women in Engineering

    Dean Amon - "Boundless opportunities to address the world's most pressing challenges"

    In honour of the International Day of the Girl, we present to you some of the women in engineering saying what being a woman in engineering means to them (and an important reminder from your VP Academics). As of 2015, women account for 30.6% of undergraduate engineering students at UofT.

    The complement of female faculty members has more than doubled in the past decade, from 21 in 2006 to 44 in 2014. 17 percent of faculty members are women, which is three points higher than the Ontario average (14 percent) and four points higher than the Canadian average (13 percent).

    These numbers are expected to grow in the years ahead, as early-career faculty members move up in the academic ranks. More than a quarter (27.8 percent) of UofT Engineering’s associate professors (early-career, tenure-stream faculty members) were women in 2015, compared to an Ontario average of 15 percent and a national average of 15.7 percent.

    An article compiled by the Faculty details the timeline of women in engineering.

    Dean Amon - "Boundless opportunities to address the world's most pressing challenges" Prof. Dionne Alemon - "Why not?" Prof. Belinda Wang - "Make things happen." Susanna Ramsey - "It means I make really cool things!" Lia Codrington - "Bringing a different perspective!" Kashish Verma - "It means being given an equal opportunity to do what I love and bring a POSITIVE change to the world." Hannah Bendig - "Being a woman in engineering means I can be a role model." Nasteha Abdullahi -"I can let my ideas shape the way the future looks" Saaraa Ali - "I can empower other females. If I can do it , so can you." Pavani Perera - "Courage, strength, and determination will let you accomplish anything you set your mind to. Put yourself out there and you'll be surprised at how far you get :)"
  • Keeping Future Generations in Mind

    June 15th marked the 7th annual Signing Ceremony hosted by A Promise to Future Generations (or PTFG), one of several student-founded sustainability initiatives within the Skule community. Taking a somewhat broader approach than other such groups, PTFG’s mission is to “drive a paradigm shift […] to ensure we are considering the needs of future generations in all of our decisions”.

    As in previous years, the ceremony was held on the same day as engineering convocation. The difference this year being that two ceremonies were held – in the morning, then in the afternoon – instead of one, in order to accommodate students who were convocating at different times of the day.

    Signees listened as keynote speaker and engineering alumnus Paul Cadario spoke on the role of innovation in sustainability, giving noteworthy examples of when engineers designed with future generations in mind. Similar to the purpose behind the iron ring ceremony, the signing ceremony serves as an opportunity for signees to reflect on, and make a voluntary commitment to, sustainably serving the public interest in their future engineering works. In place of a ring to symbolize this commitment, signees pick up framed copies of the “Promise”, a list of principles based on Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s “Bill of Rights for Future Generations”.

    The organizers hope the ceremony will help foster a community of “like-minded colleagues to share innovative ideas, provide advice and encouragement through difficult decisions”. Though originally focused on graduating civil engineering students, the ceremony has grown to include all engineering disciplines in its list of signees.

  • Project Voyager showcase at the Starship Congress !

    voyager

    Project Voyager,an innovative team made up entirely of UofT students, and  run by a SKULE alum  associated with Icarus Interstellar is developing its alpha phase of software development this week, and general development will be continuing through the year. An early version of the software will be showcased at Icarus Interstellar’s Starship Congress this September in Philadelphia.

    The showcase will reveal more about this Project which surrounds the development of an interplanetary and interstellar mission planning tool. This is being built as a next generation tool for space agencies, academic institutions, and space enthusiasts the world over.

    Voyager is in essence a map which will allow users to plan missions to other planets, asteroids, comets, and even other star systems. Mission planning will be beautifully intuitive, taking cues from modern video game design. Mission simulation will be at least as detailed and accurate as the best software on the market, and we aim to make it even better.

    Our Mission is to accelerate the growth of the space sector by providing better tools to all levels of this industry. Through the development of novel mission planning and analysis tools we can boost the success rate of young space companies, enhance the capabilities of mature government space agencies, and enable more hands-on space science education for budding scientists and engineers all over the world. Voyager can be used for initial mission planning, detailed analysis, and potentially even as in-flight mission software for modern spacecraft.

    Voyager invites younger space companies to join its mission which will benefit them from having access to accurate, flexible, and powerful mission planning software – giving them a better chance of success in the market, and enabling them to play on the industry stage much faster. It is a perfect platform to give young space organizations a boost into orbit.

    Voyager is also intended for established space organisations in the private or public sectors, who can benefit not only from the above mentioned system capabilities, but the ease of integration into existing environments. Our software can provide a standardized system for mission planning, which can export data into a variety of formats. It also provides complete capabilities for documentation, reporting, and mission analysis.

    Voyager has been built from the beginning to make use of a modern 3D interface, stunning visuals, and an accessible learning curve which – along with its accuracy and capabilities – makes it a powerful educational tool. The software is designed to be accessible by students from elementary, to post-graduate levels of education. Further, the accuracy of the software makes Voyager fit for academic research as well.

    The development and release of the software as a whole will be very beneficial to younger students as it acts as an interactive space map – excellent for both teaching, and for hands-on learning. For high school and university students, it is a powerful physics tool, ready for use in both lecture and laboratory settings. As an educational tool, Voyager can provide an incredible tool for educators the world over.

    If you are interested in trying out the software in its development stage, please join us at Icarus Interstellar’s Starship Congress this September in Philadelphia.

    Zachary Fejes (article author) is Project Lead for Project Voyager. He is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, with a Bachelors in Applied Science (Electrical Engineering). He may be reached by email at zfejes@icarusinterstellar.org or on twitter @zachfejes

  • Project Voyager Showcase at the Starship Congress

    voyager

    Project Voyager, an innovative team made up entirely of UofT students, and run by a SKULE alum associated with Icarus Interstellar is developing its alpha phase of software development this week, and general development will be continuing through the year. An early version of the software will be showcased at Icarus Interstellar’s Starship Congress this September in Philadelphia.

    The showcase will reveal more about this Project which surrounds the development of an interplanetary and interstellar mission planning tool. This is being built as a next generation tool for space agencies, academic institutions, and space enthusiasts the world over.

    Voyager is in essence a map which will allow users to plan missions to other planets, asteroids, comets, and even other star systems. Mission planning will be beautifully intuitive, taking cues from modern video game design. Mission simulation will be at least as detailed and accurate as the best software on the market, and we aim to make it even better.

    Our Mission is to accelerate the growth of the space sector by providing better tools to all levels of this industry. Through the development of novel mission planning and analysis tools we can boost the success rate of young space companies, enhance the capabilities of mature government space agencies, and enable more hands-on space science education for budding scientists and engineers all over the world. Voyager can be used for initial mission planning, detailed analysis, and potentially even as in-flight mission software for modern spacecraft.

    Voyager invites younger space companies to join its mission which will benefit them from having access to accurate, flexible, and powerful mission planning software – giving them a better chance of success in the market, and enabling them to play on the industry stage much faster. It is a perfect platform to give young space organizations a boost into orbit.

    Voyager is also intended for established space organisations in the private or public sectors, who can benefit not only from the above mentioned system capabilities, but the ease of integration into existing environments. Our software can provide a standardized system for mission planning, which can export data into a variety of formats. It also provides complete capabilities for documentation, reporting, and mission analysis.

    Voyager has been built from the beginning to make use of a modern 3D interface, stunning visuals, and an accessible learning curve which – along with its accuracy and capabilities – makes it a powerful educational tool. The software is designed to be accessible by students from elementary, to post-graduate levels of education. Further, the accuracy of the software makes Voyager fit for academic research as well.

    The development and release of the software as a whole will be very beneficial to younger students as it acts as an interactive space map – excellent for both teaching, and for hands-on learning. For high school and university students, it is a powerful physics tool, ready for use in both lecture and laboratory settings. As an educational tool, Voyager can provide an incredible tool for educators the world over.

    If you are interested in trying out the software in its development stage, please join us at Icarus Interstellar’s Starship Congress this September in Philadelphia.

    Zachary Fejes (article author) is Project Lead for Project Voyager. He is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, with a Bachelors in Applied Science (Electrical Engineering). He may be reached by email at zfejes@icarusinterstellar.org or on twitter @zachfejes

  • Project Voyager Showcase at the Starship Congress

    voyager

    Project Voyager, an innovative team made up entirely of UofT students, and run by a SKULE alum associated with Icarus Interstellar is developing its alpha phase of software development this week, and general development will be continuing through the year. An early version of the software will be showcased at Icarus Interstellar’s Starship Congress this September in Philadelphia.

    The showcase will reveal more about this Project which surrounds the development of an interplanetary and interstellar mission planning tool. This is being built as a next generation tool for space agencies, academic institutions, and space enthusiasts the world over.

    Voyager is in essence a map which will allow users to plan missions to other planets, asteroids, comets, and even other star systems. Mission planning will be beautifully intuitive, taking cues from modern video game design. Mission simulation will be at least as detailed and accurate as the best software on the market, and we aim to make it even better.

    Our Mission is to accelerate the growth of the space sector by providing better tools to all levels of this industry. Through the development of novel mission planning and analysis tools we can boost the success rate of young space companies, enhance the capabilities of mature government space agencies, and enable more hands-on space science education for budding scientists and engineers all over the world. Voyager can be used for initial mission planning, detailed analysis, and potentially even as in-flight mission software for modern spacecraft.

    Voyager invites younger space companies to join its mission which will benefit them from having access to accurate, flexible, and powerful mission planning software – giving them a better chance of success in the market, and enabling them to play on the industry stage much faster. It is a perfect platform to give young space organizations a boost into orbit.

    Voyager is also intended for established space organisations in the private or public sectors, who can benefit not only from the above mentioned system capabilities, but the ease of integration into existing environments. Our software can provide a standardized system for mission planning, which can export data into a variety of formats. It also provides complete capabilities for documentation, reporting, and mission analysis.

    Voyager has been built from the beginning to make use of a modern 3D interface, stunning visuals, and an accessible learning curve which – along with its accuracy and capabilities – makes it a powerful educational tool. The software is designed to be accessible by students from elementary, to post-graduate levels of education. Further, the accuracy of the software makes Voyager fit for academic research as well.

    The development and release of the software as a whole will be very beneficial to younger students as it acts as an interactive space map – excellent for both teaching, and for hands-on learning. For high school and university students, it is a powerful physics tool, ready for use in both lecture and laboratory settings. As an educational tool, Voyager can provide an incredible tool for educators the world over.

    If you are interested in trying out the software in its development stage, please join us at Icarus Interstellar’s Starship Congress this September in Philadelphia.

    Zachary Fejes (article author) is Project Lead for Project Voyager. He is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, with a Bachelors in Applied Science (Electrical Engineering). He may be reached by email at zfejes@icarusinterstellar.org or on twitter @zachfejes

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