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Anyone regret their engineering decision?

  1. May 30, 2008 #1
    I picked chemical engineering as my major and I think I am starting to regret it.

    I get pretty good grades, so I'm not that bad in my classes. I just dont find it very interesting. Its just hard for me to find pipe flow or saturation curves (the stuff we learn in class) interesting no matter how hard I try. As a kid I would always tinker with electronics and self teach myself. As a result, I am pretty handy with the soldering iron and am pretty familiar with basic electronic components. In general, I find electrical stuff very interesting and think I would have made a better electrical engineer. I regularly read up on electrical related issues/topics, yet I never really do that for chemical stuff.

    I also managed to score myself a fairly high paid summer job working for an oil company. Its a pretty ok job, but I just dont think I can get myself interested in flowing gas, well measurements, compressor engines, or etc... Sure beats flipping burgers, but still nothing too particularly interesting or exciting.

    So I'm just wondering if anyone else had felt they made a wrong choice in the type of engineering to go into? Perhaps the work life of a chemical engineer isnt as dull as the stuff we have to learn in class?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2008 #2
    Not at all. But I chose to do electrical....which is what I've always been interested in. Just curious...how did you end up doing ChemE instead of EE if that's what you like?
  4. May 30, 2008 #3


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    I started in Chem E, and was awarded a 5-year scholarship in a pulp-and-paper track, but by that time, I had decided that I hated the grind, and dumped engineering for a double major in English literature and Philosopy. My first job out of college (after a stint in construction)....process chemist in a Kraft pulp mill. Fate intervenes.
  5. May 31, 2008 #4
    I did regret it, but made a change.

    I started out as a math/physics major. Those were happy times.

    Someone coerced me into civil engineering, I figured it'd be like building with legos. Legos were rarely if ever brought out, so I switched to mechanical. It was kinda like civil, but with more air conditioning. So I switched to engineering physics. Almost back to the starting point, but at least I stayed on the four year track
  6. May 31, 2008 #5
    I'm in ME right now. Does anyone know if it's fun, or is it like all about the Physics and applying it. I heard you hardly ever use Physics, but only once in a great while.....
  7. May 31, 2008 #6
    I am currently a computer science major but I'm taking as much as EE courses as I can. Also I plan to do a MsC in computer engineering which is somewhere between EE and CS. In the last few years I figured out that being a computer programmer isn't that much fun after all...
    It's funny because when I finished high school I knew I certainly didn't want to do any engineering. I wanted to understand how nature works and not how to use it in society. Now, two years later, I'm thinking the opposite...
  8. May 31, 2008 #7
    Making a decision no matter what direction you head for always always give you back some results that are good from some standpoints.
    Life is short, and this world is small.
  9. May 31, 2008 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    If you don't like chemical engineering, switch! This should be a no-brainer - complaining to us isn't going to make things better. Switching majors can.
  10. May 31, 2008 #9


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    Not sure if my experience would translate to chemistry and chem eng, but it's certainly a different mindset moving from pure science, to science in an engineering context.

    I've always been physics-minded with a large splash of engineering inclination, but my satellite engineering masters (coming from a physics major/astrophysics minor) has made be realise that I'm definitely a physicist who can bluff his way in engineering and not the other way round.

    The mindset and personality between the two cultures is close, but not close enough that there isn't a lot of confusion and frustration between the two groups when anything serious has to be done. I think if I were in your shoes I might feel the same as you.

    Perhaps a move from chem eng to chem would help?
  11. May 31, 2008 #10
    What attracted you to chemical engineering in the first place?
  12. Jun 1, 2008 #11
    I'm an EE. I've lost interest in EE after my two internships. I don't mind doing it, but I'm not as passionate/interested in it as before.
  13. Jun 1, 2008 #12


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    I agree. Start talking to profs from other departments...maybe EE would be a good place to start.
  14. Jun 1, 2008 #13
    At the end of the day, all professions suck, and you will hate your job no matter what it is. Those who deny hating their jobs are LIARS. Engineering is a huge waste of intelligence; i.e. for the same amount of intelligence, you could be making more money as a lawyer or dentist. And yeah, right now the oil patch is doing well, but it won't last forever.

    You should just go for the money - make a list of the most lucrative professions you can tolerate, then move your way down until you find one that works. Trust, me, you'll be glad that you did.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
  15. Jun 1, 2008 #14


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    My favorite part of my day: getting home, with my daughter, and husband, and cat, and two dogs are all there. Pure heaven.

    My second favorite part of the day: getting to work. My work is infinitely challenging, with the rewards of success ripe for the picking. My coworkers are like extended family - such enjoyable people!

    I hope, Usaf, that you will someday enjoy your job like I enjoy mine. My life is GOOD.
  16. Jun 1, 2008 #15
    Are you trolling, being sarcastic, or are you just plain selfish and ungrateful?

    You do not speak for everyone if you can't find a job you enjoy.

    Also, if engineering is a waste of intelligence, what, if I may ask, would you say a good use of it is?
  17. Jun 2, 2008 #16
    Engineering is exactly the opposite of a waste of intelligence.
    Engineering is applied intelligence.
  18. Jun 2, 2008 #17
    Wow, a very hostile reaction indeed. No, I'm not trolling, as should be evident from the time I've been on this forum. I'm trying to give what I consider to be good advice based on my experience. I've taken engineering, and I grew up in a family of engineers. They are all underpaid and consider their jobs a chore - i.e., if they won the lottery, they would quit. Accordingly, I chose to become a lawyer instead, mainly for the money - and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

    By waste of intelligence, I mean society will benefit from your intelligence, but you won't. Good use of intelligence (i.e. that will allow YOU to benefit from it) is: business, law, accounting, medicine, dentistry, chiropractic, and a few others.

    Your unduly hostile reaction is exactly why people who dislike their jobs don't just come out and say it - and exactly why the next generation ends up in underpaid work.
  19. Jun 2, 2008 #18


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    I see nothing hostile in Mathemaniac's post. Look again at your post:

    My profession does not suck, and I love my job. Are you calling me a liar?
  20. Jun 2, 2008 #19


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    liar, liar, your pants are on fire!!! (-:

    just kidding.
  21. Jun 2, 2008 #20


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    "By waste of intelligence, I mean society will benefit from your intelligence, but you won't. Good use of intelligence (i.e. that will allow YOU to benefit from it) is: business, law, accounting, medicine, dentistry, chiropractic, and a few others."

    Chiropractic?? Maybe to you scamming people out of money with quackery is a good use of intelligence, but I think that most people want to have at least some balance between personal income and making a positive impact on society.
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