Starting at the university, you are eager, excited, and ready to start (and finish) your education as an engineer. Some argue that the quality of education at a school depends on the time to graduation. At UC Davis, that number is typically 4 years and 1 quarter for engineers. Some see this as "there is no way to finish in four years" thing, and often blame the program. However, I completely disagree with this statistic (unless it's over 5 years).
Personally, I took a quarter off for several reasons
1. Washington DC. You can't get better than living in a big city. Trust me. Totally worth it.
2. NASA, hello!? I've dreamed of going big for a while. I couldn't deny the experience. (*ssshh* it's also easier to get a NASA internship outside of summer...less competition...shhh it's a secret!)
3. Experience. Graduating without experience is....unwanted. Experience gives you perspective on your career goals and makes you an AWESOME candidate after you graduate. Is 3 months really a delay when it becomes much easier to find a job?
4. The ability to travel. This past summer, I traveled across the country and to many cities (and didn't pay a single dime out of pocket). Did I also mention that finance reports are like the greatest invention ever?
5. Network. There are sooooo many people I got to meet and hear their stories. These people are driven and want to change the world, in a good way. What is life by yourself?
6. Connections. Did I also mention that I have too many career options now? Where do I go!?
7. Learning about yourself. During these trips, I got to do an extensive amount of people watching. When you people watch, you learn a lot of yourself. Also, you learn what makes you happy, settles you down, and what you crave when you are by yourself. I found out that I love to dress up (especially after living in DC). I also love to read, write, and eat delicious Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles in LA...it's something I ultimately crave.
8. The food!!!! My personal philosophy is I would much rather die happy and fat than skinny and hungry (also, unheathy people die first, which means they won't die alone :-P). TANGENT.....Anyway...
- Texas: I found my love for Ice Tea and BBQ here (oh, and Pho! - I lived with a Vietnamese family).
- DC: Popeyes, Fried Chicken, Greek Food, Falafels.... (did I miss anything Rebekah?)
Okay, now I'm hungry.
*Image courtesy of GoAskMama