Alison Ahearn, Constructionarium lecturer:
There is nothing unusual about field trips with students. There is nothing unusual about quite difficult ones. But doing a construction field trip with 100 novices is always nerve-wracking because construction is an industry where even the experts have a death rate. And since I am one of the few non-engineers on site, it’s much more likely that one of my students could accidently kill me than that I would kill myself. So it is no surprise that we put the students through two full-on days of briefings and training on ways to obey the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”. And it seems they have paid attention. They have arrived on site all geared up to conquer engineering in a week flat. And, despite rain, they seem likely to do it.
Camilla Nicholson, student:
After a week of solid sunshine in the capital, the students known as “second year civ eng” awake across SW London at 6am to a battering of rain. It’s the morning of constructionarium. After a coach journey just long enough to catch up on our sleep, we arrive and are allocated our rooms. People quickly suss out who is living closest to the bar and boastful phonecalls begin.
Then its dinner time – something Alison (our lecturer) had warned us about several times over the last few days. So we are relieved to find a feast of chicken burgers and vege as fuel. Its raining so hard that our first site visit is cancelled – but anticipation i building for the first day of construction (Monday) and the team gather in the Conference Centre to eagerly go over plans and speculation ov the week’s weather conditions for construction. Only time will tell.
Hamish MacKenzie, student:
So. Constructionarium. A brief moment of respite as we settle into our rooms after a sleepy coach journey. Then the discussions begin, and brows begin to furrow. It’s raining. It’s cold. We being to realise we have pretty limited knowledge of what we’re about to undertake. “We don’t even know what ‘formwork’ looks like!”.
Suddenly the glorious role of team leader loses its halo, but with top notch organisation and communication, our group leader brings a steady hand to the wheel of HMS Team Green, and an air of confidence makes a welcome return to the group.