what going to school for engineering taught me

When I went into university for engineering I had very high expectations. I wanted to be someone to change the world. To make an impact. I thought that if I got into the designing side of engineering I could do that. Well actually i didn’t think “could”, I thought “would”. I figured that if I work hard and learn enough that it will be easy to make some sort of positive impact.

I’ve realized though that it is actually more of a “should”. People who work hard and want to make a difference in the world should be able to easily but it is more complicated than that. Just because I have learned a bunch of math and science does not mean that I am any more likely to make even a dent when it comes to making the world a better place. Going to school for engineering only got me a sliver closer to that goal because it made me realize that anyone can make a positive impact on the world. It had nothing to do with how much schooling you have or how smart you are. That does not correlate with how much good you can do at all. Hell I’m not smart for thinking that somehow it would.

Engineers still have bosses telling them what to do. Doesn’t matter if you are designing things if you don’t get any say in what you decide. I’m not saying you can’t make positive contributions through engineering. You definitely can, just don’t assume it’ll be easy.


Even though I am not sure if I want to work as an engineer I still can’t imagine a single other program I would rather be in. Sure I complain all the time that it is hard. It is. And I’ve heard a billion times from both my mom and practically strangers that “wouldn’t it just be smarter to do an easier program if you are thinking of going to teacher’s college afterwards anyways?”. And my answer every time is no. Maybe for someone else but not for me. Firstly, I’ve paid too fricken much and spent too much time at this point that there is no way in hell I would scrap all my work and start over. Secondly, and more importantly, engineering has taught me more than you would believe.

Engineering has taught me to be humble because there is always someone smarter than you. Except replace someone with almost everyone because holy shit some of those engineers make you feel dumb. Hell a lot of my teachers make me feel dumb. University was the first time school was hard for me and I’m glad I’ve gotten to experience that. It has taught me an amazing amount of time management, but that could also be because of how busy I keep myself. It is still to this day teaching me stress management because when you have 3 exams all worth 50% of your grade for 3 days in a row you really have to learn how to calm down and not panic. Hell I’ve probably gotten too good at not panicking. I can have a billion things to do and still procrastinate because I’m used to having a billion things to do. When summer comes I have to adjust to NOT having a billion things to do. Maybe that makes me a little messed up but I am so glad that engineering constantly pushes me. I’m proud that the stuff I am learning is now stuff that only shows up in research papers online.

I realized today though that engineering has helped me from becoming too proud. Because when you are always struggling, and you have to ask for help sometimes, and you could never possibly do everything perfectly you realize your limits. I’m not even close to the smartest out there and I’m kinda glad I have someone shoving that in my face constantly. I’m glad that I’m learning to deal with criticism.

I’m glad I went to university for one of the hardest programs out there. Even if I forget the formulas, I’ve learned that I am capable of a lot more than I thought I was.


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