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REALITY CHECK

Am a student engineer. Cool right? I must be so smart to pick such a profession. Madam engineer, that’s what my friends call me. My ego is on the roof. Am doing a ‘hard’ course. And if I graduate I’ll earn a lot of money. I’ll be solving your electrical and telecommunication needs. I’ll change our Kenya country and get it on the map technology wise. Am building castles in the air again! I got to stop this, it won’t do me any good anyway. Pause.

Back to reality. The 2016/2017 academic year results have just been released. It’s not that good. Where did the missing marks come from. I did my exams, I collected the papers. What carelessness?What went wrong? Maybe the marks decided to go on vacation. Maybe the marks are still in the oven. It’s baking for too long these, marks of mine, I hope they don’t get burnt. Am trying to be funny again. Am not Eric Omondi I need to stop this. Pause.

Let me be serious now. THE FOLLOWING STUDENT IS RECOMMENDED TO REPEAT :

1.AUMA LYDIA VERA –  TLE/03/15 percentage fail 30%

What did I do wrong? It must been those Five hard courses. I used to be good in maths. The best in my region. I was excellent in physics. I was undoutfully the best student in my school. I’ve never repeated before. Why now in university? I blame my bad karma. What will I do now? How will I tell my Parents? Their bright girl is repeating. Can I appeal? How do I even appeal? Why did I pick this hard profession? Am stupid? Am a failure? How will my friends and classmates see me? What will I do now? Why am I feeling hot? This heat is too much. Where is this headache coming from? Am feeling stressed. My mind is wondering off again. I need to stop this it won’t change my situation. Pause.

Let me ‘still’ my mind now. Am a student engineer! AUMA LYDIA VERA – TLE/03/15 ;THE FOLLOWING STUDENT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED ON ACADEMIC GROUNDS!…. Discontinued? Why? How?. I totally didn’t expect it. What course will I do now? My parents will kill me. My friends will laugh at me. My classmates will degrade me. I need to see the exam coordinator. I should have cheated in the exams when I had the chance. Maybe it’s time for me to choose a profession in line with my passion. Talent, that’s is something that is in the back of my mind. I want to be an engineer, then my parents will be happy. Now that I’ve been discontinued should I pick an easy course? Am totally screwed. My life is a wreck. My A plain of 82 points has played me. I feel cheated, I’ve duped myself. Am overthinking again . I need to stop this what’s done is done. Pause.

My mind is back on track again. I’ve been approved by the Engineers board of Kenya. I didn’t get any supplementary. I passed. Am so happy. My parents will be proud. All my classmates will want to sit next to me during exams. My Mwakenya and PDFs was a sure thing. They served me right. Am a student engineer. I earned my respect. Now bow down before me. I’ll get a good job. I’ll have a big house. I’ll buy my mum a car. May God be good to me so that I may get a first class honors. Maybe even get post graduate scholarship abroad. Those people who think I’ll help them during exams should think twice, they might hate me for it but my brain is mine and mine alone. They should read more if they want to pass. They should concentrate in class. They should attend the labs. They should do their assignments. Am a clever girl. May I serve my country right. Am day dreaming again. I need to stop this I can’t tell what tomorrow holds. Pause.

REALITY CHECK :

Being a graduate doesn’t guarantee employment. First class honors doesn’t guarantee success in life. Repeating doesn’t mean you are a failure. It’s a second chance, it’s a free do over. Being discontinued doesn’t mean you are not good enough. It’s a chance to explore your passion and talent. A chance to do right by you. Even an opportunity to start that business you have been thinking of. We give a certificate way too much power over our futures.

Vera

3D PRINTING -REAL REVOLUTIONIST IN CONSRUCTION INDUSRTY

 

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Some few months ago I had an appointment with Moi University Radio station (MU FM) to discuss 3D printing. Even though I had some commitment and failed to attend the interview, the 3D PRINTING IDEA (an idea that is still new to many) drew my interest. The result of my curiosity proved terrific and eye opening to where the world is HEADING, in all dimensions of life.

3D printing, or rather Additive manufacturing, the very idea of one Chuck Hull was founded in 1984. And ever since, the world’s technologies that is aligned to presentation and visualization have been changed a great deal. The technology has been used in offices and homes for creating models, and recently, the Construction industry.

The idea of printing 10 housing units within 24 hours leaves one wondering how this is even possible.

This fete is no longer a dream.

Thanks to WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co., that used a massive 490-foot-long, 33-foot-wide, and 20-foot-deep 3D printer to print cheap concrete.
The various structural components can be fabricated either on site or off-site then joined together with the highest level of accuracy. Currently Winsun’s approach is the most efficient. Time will tell if it will stand the test.

The question then becomes. Can we scale down a building, and model it with a material/ material whose engineering properties are similar to those of the building to be erected? And if so, subject it to simulated forces and characteristic loads that are to be expected in that given environment?

For example, in a wind tunnel test, simulated earthquake loads, and if necessary internal loads? If the building then meets its structural integrity, then it can simply be called a structural analysis and design by experimental verification method.

Or something of that sort.

That’s my thought.

3D printing in construction has been tested, and proven an economic and time efficient method of construction, and should be adopted in engineering faculties in Africa and the world over to prepare future engineers for this technology in industry.

This is just a shift from classical methods of construction into the modern futuristic era, where time, structural integrity and cost are becoming a must have for every construction project.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A CIVIL ENGINEER?

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Here’s a little tale of four young interns who are working for a reputable company here in our great city of Nairobi. As you may assume, all are students doing Civil Engineering from the “Big Three” in Engineering Studies. In order of superiority these are Moi University, Jomo Kenyatta University Of Agriculture And Technology (JKUAT) and University Of Nairobi (UON).

Anyhow onto serious business, I happened to ask these four why they chose to pursue this degree and the answers were as baffling as they were interesting, but before that let me give some highlights on Civil Engineering.

There has been a myriad of definitions spewed around about this profession. Some of them (with some hidden truth) are:

Mechanical engineers build weapons; Civil engineers build targets.

• The existence of vowels is one of the important facts of civil engineering. It helps them change bulldogs (bldg) into buildings and many other miraculous feats! All engineering students should know how to include vowels in their work.

• Most civil engineering projects are very mundane. Subdivision grading, drainage projects, roadway design, retaining walls… creative and really cool bridge projects (the sexiest part of civil engineering) are very, very, very few and far between.

• If you get pleasure in designing the ordinary things that everybody needs and you never knew then – civil engineering is for you!

Civil engineering is a practical discipline whose application is easy to see. This is because the discipline is everywhere.

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I mean let’s take an example of the President of Kenya. He has woken up from his beautiful sleep in his palatial home in which an engineer had designed.
He then proceeds to the bathroom where he relieves himself, takes a shower, brushes and maybe drinks some water for that good old morning rejuvenation exercise. All those four activities would not have been done if the waste and water system that operated the appliances had not been designed by an engineer.

After dressing up he gets a phone call from his fellow president of Buganda, who happens to be camping by the road for some good old network. As for the people who are second guessing the relevance of this tale of civil engineering being omnipresent, my answer is…. Wait for it…. A big cookie for the person who said yes to a civil engineer promoting communication.

Later on ,he heads to JKIA to board a plane that has to use a runway for ‘Rais’ and join his fellow African honourables for an AU summit in Rwanda at 11 am! All these wonderful inventions of Mr Engineer has enabled Mheshimiwa to run the country comfortably and it’s not even noon yet. This Engineer guy needs a Nobel prize, eh?

The point I’m trying to pass across is that Civil Engineering is as easy as saying ABC.

It is everywhere!

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It’s soaring in the air in the form of dizzying skyscrapers, as it is on the grounds in the form of roads and below the earth in terms of foundations, underground tunnels and retaining walls.

However as easy as it is to understand its application, it is also quite overwhelming to explain what Civil Engineers do. It’s like trying to feed a whole cow to a baby. It simply is too much to consume all at once.

So the baby has to be patient for the cow to be slaughtered, its parts stored in the refrigerator where it will be fed slowly to the very last bite. 

In the coming articles, I will introduce you to the world of Civil and Structural Engineering and show you why it’s the most interesting thing. Ever!

Now back to the four guys I’d asked for their justification on pursuing Civil Engineering. All of them gave confused answers.
The first one wanted to show his utmost love to the car of his dreams by constructing a beautiful and comfortable paved road.
The second wanted to emulate Michael Schofield (of Prison Break) who was a Civil Engineer in the show. The third simply confused Civil Engineering with Architecture.
However, the last gave the most interesting reason: ‘My marks guided me there’. Is that too much power you’ve given to two digits to determine your entire life?

As confused as my colleagues were about the awkward answers they’d given, I asked another question: ‘Do you regret your choice?’

In unity, they all sang ‘NO!’

Don’t mind the critics and the confusion you may have about this profession. If you are willing to take a chance of a lifetime and have a wanderlust for adventure then Civil Engineering is a fine bet.

Sam