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Engineering Pursuing a Career In Engineering

  1. Feb 12, 2012 #1
    I am in my final year of high school and registered in engineering for post secondary. I highly enjoyed all the sciences offered in school and I also have a high aptitude and interest in English. Initially, I wasn't talented at math, but I worked very hard. Now in grade 12, I got my first A in math, and also aced AP physics (as well as AP English literature). What has driven me is my desire to understand the deeper meaning of reality -- I am rather philosophical.

    Anyways, here's my dilemma: what career do I choose?
    I never thought being well-rounded would be such a pain.

    I am interested in Engineering because it is structured around physics, and, although I highly appreciate and respect all the sciences, I have deduced physics to be the most fundamental way to explain the interactions we observe. However, I am under the impression that engineering sparsely delves into the "why" of how the universe operates, and is simply a mechanical, calculating, methodical way of applying rules that are only understood to a rather limited extent. Now, I understand that becoming a physicist seems an obvious path for me, but I am not so sure. I am an active and physical individual. A career as a physicist, to me, evokes images of stagnant desk-life and countless hunched-over hours of abstract research and studying. I would rather make something and watch it do things. I would rather use my skills to directly contribute to society.

    So here's my question: Do you think that I, being deeply inspired by the answer of "why," could have a satisfying career in engineering, which is, to what I've gathered, centralized around the application of "how?"

    Is understanding "why" not the best way to understand "how?"

    And money doesn't buy happiness, but it's sure as hell conducive to it.

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2012 #2
    A couple thoughts to consider. Having good communication and English skills will be very helpful to someone in a technical field. Secondly, just because you love physics doesn't mean you have to major in it. You can study physics as a hobby and find loads of enjoyment out of it, as many people do.
  4. Feb 12, 2012 #3


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    It sounds to me like engineering would be a perfect fit for you! But I think you should find out for yourself if an engineering curriculum will satisfy your "why" questions. I seriously doubt that you will find that it's just a "plug 'n chug" field.

    The first year or two of engineering and physics majors are very similar, so you don't have to decide right away. I'd advise you to take that path and see which appeals to you.

    Personally I think you get out of education what you put into it, and you can go as deep as you want into engineering -- there is no "don't go past this line" limit.
  5. Feb 13, 2012 #4


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    What you say about yourself could have well described me in high school. I was told that I should study engineering, but I started college at a small school that did not offer an engineering degree. I spent a year as a physics major, and a couple of years as a math major. After changing schools, I got into Mechanical Engineering and I really loved it. By that time, I was somewhat ahead in math and physics, although I was a bit behind in some engineering classes. The extra math particularly was a huge advantage all the way through, and I never regretted it for a moment.
  6. Feb 14, 2012 #5
    If you want to delve into the whys of the world, do physics. (Though more likely you'll wind up focusing a large amount of time on a select few "why's" pretty closely related to eachother)

    If you want to take things at face value and use them practically to solve problems and create things (and if you don't mind essentially being a business tool, as opposed to like an inventor or something) then perhaps engineering is for you.
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