CivilStructural.com.my 25 Aug 2013
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Story about a civil and structural engineer (PART 1)!

University….


It had to go to more than 10years back. I obtained an offer from a local public university named Universiti Pertainan Malaysia (Now called Universiti Putra Malaysia(UPM)). The offer that I got wasn’t the program I selected. During that period, the offer was Degree in Civil Engineering and I wasn’t known what the civil and structural engineering is? I tried to ask around my friend, relatives and who ever I known, but no one can told me that what the civil and structural program about. Time was critical; I had to either choose to accept the offer or enter to private institution. Due to my family financial problem, I had to accept the offer because cost of studying the program was low. It costs about RM300 per semester (+USD90). I had a live of university for about 4 years. On the initial period of studying, I still not really understand what the civil and structural engineering is? I learned theory of structural, hydraulic, hydrology and etc.

During one of the semester break, I obtained a part time work in working in a highway construction firm in Seremban (A town in Malaysia). I got the paid about RM300/month. This firm had a project to upgrade an existing road to 4 lanes carriageway. I acted as a trainer and assist a resident engineer. It was an interesting job for me, because I was working in the environment of civil works. It was unforgettable job. The work was much challenged. I had a group of workers who worked under my guidance. These workers were purely imported from India. Therefore, I had difficulty in communication with them. I had to use primitive body language to talk to them. Somehow, there were a lot of funny things happened. As for example, I asked one Indian to give me a rod, he said YES and through it away. When I asked him to crossover a road to assist me on certain surveying works, he just crossed road with alerting the traffic. Until cars which passed by had to stop to allow him to cross. Fortunately, no accident had happened. Later I found out that the India country with not much traffic. Therefore, they were not alert with traffic. I learned a number of practical works in this firm. I learned how to take levels by using leveling equipment. I learned how to check an existing level by referring to a datum level. I gained experience on measuring river velocity for obtaining the flow of river. And more on site works. It borden my experience on civil and structural field.

One of my unforgettable memory was I had help one main contractor who involved in an accident. The case was installation of bakau piles for slope protection. Piles were injected by using excavator’s arm. One of the piles was buckled due to over pressed, and it swung out and hit the main contractor. The contractor was injured. The incident happened with only Indian workers and me. I was nervous and did not know what to do. I just picked up his car key and moved him into car and drove to hospital. At the beginning, I did not know the dangerous of accidents at site. After the incident, I realized the important of SAFETY at site. From the time onward, I will be more alert on SAFETY measure. I will not do anything that I wasn’t knowledgeable. I got assistance before work into it. This was the first time I realized the works of civil engineering.

The works of part time is really enjoying. I even worked at Saturday and Sunday to gain some overtime claims. Some how, only one thing that I not prefer to is had to work under hot sun, my skin getting darker. I came like one Indonesia worker. People talked to me in Malay language.

When I was studying in university, I found out that the program of civil engineering was not easy. My friend who under other programs were simple and enjoy, where else, my ‘working’ time was from 8:00am morning until 11:00pm night. It was always busy and not much free time. The education program system also brought me into weekly exam. It made me minimum of one exam per week, until I had NO feel on exam. It also a number of course works, tutorials and projects. I was so busy until I never went home.

During my third year study, it was a practical semester. I got one offer to work as a trainer engineer in a civil and structural consulting firm in Seremban. The paid was low only RM100/month. It cannot cover my month expenses. Anyway, it was my first time dealing with civil and structural engineering practice. The working environmental was so difference to what study in university. I noticed that a number of knowledge that I study can applied into the daily works. Every thing was new to me; it made me very interesting in civil and structural field. I became to love it. I can visualize the real world with application of theory of civil and structural knowledge.

Somehow, it came to another factor of controlling the works i.e. money. I cannot work only to what I wanted; I had to fit the time frame of project. I cannot analyze a beam that took me half a day. I had to go into time management.

When working in civil and structural consulting office, I also exposed to site experience. When I went to site, it was very interesting to me. I saw people built a houses, roads, drains etc. I noticed how my design work was transferred into real world. I felt proud about my works. It brought me more into the world of civil and structural engineering. I was thinking that I had to become a “good” civil engineer in order to serve public. Since I was young, when ever I went to site, some experience contractor will take advantages on “stepping over” me on certain issue that I was no experience. They tried to frighten me and made me went out from site. Therefore, at the initial period; I was really afraid of going to site. Especially on attend site meeting. During meeting, people will ask me some queries and I did not know how to answer. It was one main thing that I could not handle.

Time passing fast, I entered final semester, it was project semester. I selected a computer programming project for a prestress beam design. This was my first time dealing with computer programming. I found computer programming so interesting. I liked to program. I had chosen a Borland C++ language to work on it. Since the language was new during that period; I got no assistance on the language. I always struggled on coding. There was a time; I got one problem that made my program unstable. I could not find the source of problem for a period of 1month. It made me could not sleep at night. My supervisor saw my problem and advised me to stop, but I refused to do so. When time of project getting short, it made me madly, until I almost wanted to change my project. Anyway, I was able to manage the problem and finished the project.

Finally I managed to obtain Bachelor of Degree in Civil Engineering. I missed the live in university. Through out the time in university, what I really learned from it was; how to become more independent? How to get the resource when problem happened? Who to refer to if something happened? How dealing with people?



Written by scchee

Disclaimer: the above article is based on writer personal opinion on civil and structural field. It will not represent any ultimate solution of any mention subjects. Writer will not responsible for any causes arise.

Reading level: Beginner.
(Updated 16/3/07)
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