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Dec29-12, 03:44 PM
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S_Happens's Avatar
P: 302
What Attracted You to Engineering

My trip through engineering has meandered around, but always stayed close.

I started working on cars with my first camaro at 16, firstly doing maintenance, but quickly moving into modifications. When I first went to college for EE, I only studied during class, and as soon as I was out for the day I was building hot rods. I did enough to pass, but more than passing was required to get into upper level. This turned out to be exactly what I needed, as I wasn't ready to be a real world engineer and I have since learned that I hate the abstractness of EE (although I can apply the same PDEs and such to vibrations, fluids, and signal processing without much trouble).

I left school, got a two year degree, and went to work in a chemical plant. Luckily for me it was a very progressive place and when they saw my potential I was quickly moved ahead and got into process automation. I also oversaw significant maintenance and troubleshooting of large and small turbomachinery. I got my hands into every profession around me, welding, pipefitting, millwright (ing?), instrumentation, etc. And after 4.5 years and a lot of saving, decided it was time to go back to school, this time for ME.

I'll graduate with a BSME in May 2014 and probably return to the same company, where I've have interned for a couple summers as well.

The bottom line is that most likely, your job will always be work. You may not feel passionate about what you end up getting paid to do. Most likely your career will dip into and out of things that you are interested in. That's not what it's about. After school there will be other journeys to take. These may or may not involve work. Even after all that I've already done, I'll always be on some sort of learning journey. When work isn't able to provide that, I fall back into hobbies or start digging into areas at work that are a little bit outside of where I'm supposed to be kept corralled.

I've always found that the broader the experience you have, the more tools you bring to be able to solve problems. I'm constantly surprised at how seemingly unrelated experiences can be related. And it always looks good when you can bring something to the table that no one else has, or solve a problem that nobody expects you to know anything about.

I think I wandered a little further than I meant to, but the key is not to worry. The passions that you listed mean that you'll be able to find those things in a workplace and stay occupied.