Introduce yourself briefly:
Hi! My name is Richard Krijnen and I am in civil engineering and will be graduating in the class of 2022. My hometown is Cambridge, Ontario and I really enjoy many sports such as soccer and basketball. I am interested in specializing in structural engineering and hope to be designing various structures such as bridges, retaining walls, buildings, culverts and more. My dream one day is to be part of a project for a new sports stadium or arena, where I could be doing the design or the construction management.
Waterloo Engineering in one word:
I choose Waterloo Engineering because:
When I was a grade 12 student in high school, I always knew I wanted to study civil engineering and I knew University of Waterloo was my top choice for this program. The reasons why I wanted to come here was because of the co-op program that Waterloo offered and the enthusiasm that this school has for engineering. I wanted to be part of a community where everyone was excited and inspired by civil engineering. As well, I wanted the opportunity to apply my knowledge from school into the real world through my co-op terms and make a difference in the world. As well, I knew that the University of Waterloo could help me grow to my maximum potential and teach me all the tools that I need to become a successful civil engineer.
The best thing about my program is:
The life time friendships that I have made. Ever since I attended the University of Waterloo, I have met so many people who are inspired by civil engineering and have the same goals that I have, which is being able to design a building or a bridge or even manage a construction project one day. I have the same schedule and classes as all my friends who are in my program, which allows me to be able to group study with all my friends and everyone can help each other out. I spend a big portion of my day eating, studying, attending classes and hanging out with my friends from my class since they have the same daily schedule. As well, I enjoy the many projects that are assigned throughout the whole program, which allows me to be creative and apply the knowledge I learned on a smaller scale before I take the skills into the real world.
About my Co-op experience:
My first Co-op experience was with the Region of Waterloo Facilities Management group. I was a Student Project Coordinator and my main task was to help manage small construction projects with my supervisor related to government facilities such as office buildings, recycling centers and more. I learned so much about managing contractors and how things work in the construction industry. This co-op position allowed me to see the construction aspect on the government side. I also gained important skills such as communication, a bit of project management, etc.
As well, I did several co-op terms with EllisDon, who are known for building the Rogers Center in Downtown Toronto. I was very excited to work with them since I knew I would learn so much about construction and even be on site to witness how everything was built. For one of these co-op terms, I was a project coordinator and field engineer that worked on a big condo/hotel development project in Downtown Toronto. Another project I also worked on was assisting with the construction management for a new river and island in Downtown Toronto. This was a great experience since there were many challenges on this project and I got to witness how a river was developed. I was exposed to learning the many challenges of managing construction projects in the constraint areas of Toronto. As well, I enjoyed receiving and doing challenging tasks, but I knew I had my site team there for me if I ever needed any tips or assistance.
After doing several co-ops related to construction, I decided to get some experience in structural design. I did a co-op term at GHD in their structural design group where I got to learn a lot about designing all sorts of structures. I assisted Structural Designers and Senior Structural Engineers with various tasks including preparing proposals and doing engineering calculations. I specifically got to even assist and learn to design a retaining wall and apply my knowledge my geotechnical knowledge from school into this design.
I have been able to make a lot of connections with people from the civil engineering and construction industry, which is a huge perk when you get to do co-op. To this day I still stay in touch with previous supervisors or co-workers.
I wish I had known before I came:
I wish I had known the resources that are available at the University of Waterloo. When I was in high school, I always thought that I would have to figure everything out on my own once I got to university such as studying for midterms or finals or applying to co-op jobs. The school has so many resources to help you succeed in this program such as co-op advisors who can assist in making your resume look amazing or providing tips on how to do interviews. As well, there are many academic advisors who studied engineering as well and can provide many helpful study tips to succeeding in the program. As well, Waterloo hosts many workshops on how to write midterms or how to prepare for an exam or balance your daily schedule with studying and your other interests.
Outside the classroom, I’m involved with:
- Engineering Ambassadors (Open Houses, High School Shadow Days)
- Intramural Basketball
- Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE)
One more thing about me:
I believe that my program has made me grow up quickly with being able to gain the skills I need to be able to apply to my future goals and using all the tools I learned to be able to contribute in a big way in the civil engineering world. Email me if you have any questions or just want to get more familiar with what civil engineering is all about!