mechanical engineering and physics
Jake Bradbury graduated from Kincumber High School in 2012 after achieving fantastic results in Advanced English, Physics, Chemistry, Extension 1 Mathematics and Extension 2 Mathematics. He is now in his fourth year at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, undertaking an undergraduate double degree and majoring in mechanical engineering and physics.
He says his final year of high school was challenging, and there never seemed to be a time when he felt on top of his work. Jake says, “I must say the encouragement and genuine care from my teachers inspired me to work hard. They were always willing to stay back to explain a concept for the fifth time, or re-read that essay for the twelfth time just so I was that little more confident in the exam the next day.”
When Jake was first handed his enormous UAC guide, he says he had no idea what university he wanted to attend, and no idea what career to pursue beyond knowing that he enjoyed maths and physics. Jakes says, “If you plan on going to university, that’s great. If not, that’s great too. There is no right option. it depends on the individual and their aspirations in life.”
“When it comes time to do the HSC, just roll with it. All you can do is your best. If anything, look forward to the exams and enjoy the summer that begins at the conclusion of what was likely the busiest year of your life.”
Jake was sometimes distracted from his studies by friends turning 18 and obtaining their licences, and says, “There was always something more entertaining being locked up in your room with the blinds shut on a Friday night. And that’s a good thing; maintaining a balance helps ensure you don’t burn out.” Jake also kept balance by playing rugby and exercising regularly.
Although it’s a stressful time, Jake says, “When it comes time to do the HSC, just roll with it. All you can do is your best. If anything, look forward to the exams and enjoy the summer that begins at the conclusion of what was likely the busiest year of your life.”
In addition to his studies at UNSW, Jake currently teaches first year physics and second year engineering. He says, “It’s a great way to solidify your own knowledge, help other students and make rent each week!” Jake also works as an engineering intern at Inventor Pty Ltd, which is a mechanical design based firm located in the middle of Sydney.
Jake says his university studies are far more independent than his high school studies. He has found physics particularly difficult, although thought provoking. After three years at university, Jake is more confused by the subject than when he began studying. He says, “It’s a very incomplete area. If you need an example, take a look at quantum entanglement.”
Jake’s degree is particularly time consuming, but he says it’s great fun designing in CAD (computer aided design), learning the mathematics and thinking behind design and innovation. Jake says, “I hope to pursue a career in this field, ideally in hydraulic design or sustainable power generation, which I think will be a crucial area of the next few decades.”
In 2015, Jake was awarded a research scholarship and worked full time for three months in one of the leading engine research laboratories at UNSW. He worked on improving the soot modelling capabilities of computer software which predict the time-dependent statistics of petroleum based combustion. Jake says, “I walked away with insight into the nature of research and the respective engine research community.”
Jake says the social aspect of university is great, and he has recently moved out of home with five friends. Jake says, “The university has many different societies that organise social events for literally anything you can think of. There’s even a beer appreciation society, where they meet up once or twice a month to drink and discuss exotic beers. I recently went to NZ for two weeks with another 80 people from the university on a snow trip. I met so many new people and had a blast.”
Whilst living close to university is fun, Jake says there are important finances to be considered. Rent in Sydney is expensive, and he says living in The Big Smoke is only possible if you can support the rent and living costs. Jake commuted from the Central Coast from the first three years and found it difficult, but bearable. Jake says, “It just requires motivation and commitment which I believe stems from interest in the study area.”
Jake has met a wide range of people since commencing his undergraduate degree, and says, “KHS provides a great foundation for learning and education whilst teaching communication and life skills that are critical for any career path.” If he could give high school students just one line of advice, he would say, “Pursue something you’re interested in. Motivation and genuine interest outweigh the prospects of financial gain. And trust me on this, when it’s 2am on a Wednesday night, it makes it slightly more bearable if you have a passion for what you’re studying.”