Three common misconceptions about dreamteams

Hihi, my name is Mariëtte and I will be writing blogs this year about my year as an EEMCS student in the TU Delft Solar Boat Team. I will occasionally write about what I do from day to day and how my knowledge from my bachelor’s is relevant for it. I started as an applied mathematics student, but last year I mainly did computer science subjects with the goal of following a mathematics master in optimization and a computer science master in cyber security.

My function within the team is Height control engineer within the electronics department. Our boat can fly on hydrofoils, these are wings below the hull. To fly steadily, the wings are actuated autonomously by reading in sensors, calculating the best angle of attack, and then actuating the wings. I design and produce the electrical system for this part, and write the software for the actuation.

There are so many things about dreamteams that I had wrong before joining. A lot of these things kept me from joining in the first place, and I often hear others repeating them. For my first blog I wanted to debunk some of them!

3 common misconceptions about (EEMCS student in) dreamteams:

“Mathematics students are not useful in dreamteams”

The whole idea of dreamteams is to learn a lot in a year, that you cannot learn on any faculty. I get help from my predecessor, from my teammates, from companies that we partner with, but I have to do it myself in the end. Mathematics students tend to be very critical thinkers and independent workers, so they can pick up a lot of things quite quickly. There are also management positions, for which all backgrounds are welcome.

“Being in a dreamteam is very stressful”

This is half true. I work very hard, but my schedule has become a lot simpler. Previous years I had lectures at different days every day. I also did committees, had rehearsals every week and worked as a teaching assistant. This forced me to plan a lot and have very irregular days. Now I work 9 to 5 every day, and sometimes in the evenings if I don’t have anything planned and have enough energy. I make more hours, but the regularity makes everything more simple.

“You need to have really good grades to join”

On applying you are asked about your grades, but your work ethic and personality are much more important. To do a dreamteam a few personal characteristics are vital: you need to be eager to learn and not expect to know everything and do it perfect right away. You need to be a team player and be able to explain your system to someone who doesn’t know anything about it. You also need to be able to deal with disappointments. Things often don’t go as planned and you sometimes just need to pick yourself up, and go to plan B. If you have these characteristics, you would do great in a dreamteam!