Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Maintaining Foresight

After telling someone my major, I usually get the following response: “Um, Wow.  So why did you pick engineering?” Sometimes I’m dumbfounded, but then realize that not everyone is me.  It can be difficult for others to comprehend why engineers chose what they do, especially in these wondrous years of college.  This can even lead to you pondering the choice, especially after the countless all-nighters and numerous ounces of caffeine consumed over the years; “Why didn’t I just pick Psychology?”

Well, I have an answer: Maintain Foresight.  It’s useful regardless of situation.  Why did YOU choose this major?  The following reasons should NOT be the main reason why you wake up groggy every day.

  1. The money.
  2. My parents told me to do it.
  3. I like math.
Okay, now don’t get all controversial with me.  Let me tell you why these are not good reasons.  
  1. You can make a ton more money in other professions.  The hefty paycheck is a nice incentive, but should not be the ONLY incentive.  
  2. It’s your life, live it!  Your parents want what’s best for you, but if you truly aren’t into the-whole-I’m-doing-math-all-the-time thing, you are probably are in the wrong major (If you can use your abilities to your fullest, I would go for that…most parents just want to see their kids to be successful).  Also, I never want to get out of bed saying, “I’m learning heat transfer because my mom-told-me-so.”  Sorry, Mom.  
  3. Math is the basis of engineering principles.  However, MATH does not equal ENGINEERING.  Again, an incentive, but shouldn't be the main reason.

So I’ll admit.  I’ve used these answers a time or two.  To be honest, these answers do not maintain a strong argument with you or your inquirer.  Here are the questions I ask myself:

  1. What inspired you?  Machines?  Astronauts?  The Shuttles?  I always dreamt about being in the flight room during shuttle takeoff;  I would probably start smoking if I took that job, haha.  My other dream job: the packaging engineer who makes it possible to get everything inside a 2x2x1 box….but never back in once you take it out…  I always know that person is semi-genius.
  2. Who do you look up to?  I often refer to the JPL engineer as my reference.  But there are certain faculty in MAE, where I say, “I want to be in her place in 15 years…”
These two questions have helped me maintain foresight during a set of homework problems.  Where did you come from and where do you want to go?  Keep these questions in mind, and nothing will sway you from your dreamsJ

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