Karlsruhe #2 – Changes Are Not Always Easy, But Good Nevertheless.

3 May

Sorry for the late post. I was so busy this past week because there was a project deadline on Monday. That brings to the story for this week. First of, as a background story, out of six classes that I’m taking this semester, two of them are the continuation of the previous semester class. Even worse, one of the classes actually is a four-semester class, and I’m taking the fourth semester one, which means I have to catch up all the knowledge from the rest three.
In this class, I’m working on a project to design the rear part of the scooter, for example the transmission system, the wheel, fuel tank, and the spring-damper system. Throughout the semester there will be three project meetings where there will be teaching assistants (TA) who will check on your progress (there are certain tasks need to be completed for each meeting) and will ask some questions to see if you understand how different components in engine works.
Let’s get back to the story. So I have been trying so hard to grasp all the basics about bearings, shafts, nut, bolts, etc., while working on the project with my teammates. However, there’s no way a normal person can squeeze all the details from three semesters and fit it in about two weeks of learning. Long story short, most the questions asked by the TA were answered by my teammates. I thought I was done for. Luckily, I still got a decent score for the meeting and still passed it (Yes, you can actually fail the meeting and you get to go through some other procedures).
This situation makes me feel quite under pressure and I couldn’t help myself thinking how cruel Purdue is for sending their student out of the country and didn’t tell in advance that I would be at disadvantage. But good thing I didn’t let my negative thinking go further. After some mind-clearing activities (whatever you think they might be :), I am actually grateful that all these are happening. It’s part of my study abroad experience to experience not just the daily life in Germany, but also the school and its curriculum system. And so far I’ve realized one thing: Purdue and KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) have different emphasis on their Mechanical Engineering bachelor program. In KIT, they have four semesters of machine design class, where you will learn about what and how to construct machines, as far as the detail to the bearings and the housing. The class also require technical drawing by hand, while in Purdue we only got one semester of technical drawing/CAD (Computer-aided Design, e.g. AutoCAD). Also in Purdue we only have two semesters of machine design, and it’s mostly about calculation of the forces in the machines instead of learning what kind of components have to be used for which situation and how to assemble them.
That’s as much as I can tell the difference for now. I love the variation I got, and I think getting exposed to them will broaden my knowledge and, obviously, will be useful for me in the mechanical engineering field.

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One Response to “Karlsruhe #2 – Changes Are Not Always Easy, But Good Nevertheless.”

  1. Karen May 3, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    Don’t give up on your projects! Even though its hard, you will feel that you have accomplished a lot in the end. This is a learning process so you’ll get something out of it. Take care =)

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