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Problems of an Engineering Student: Top 5 Horrible Reasons to Major into Engineering

Updated on January 24, 2016

“What made you want to pursue engineering?”

There is more to that question than just the fact that it is used by employers as a way to evaluate interviewees. For engineering students, having a reason to join engineering keeps them motivated through the tough trials.

Some reasons, however, can end up becoming major roadblocks. In some cases where the challenges seem impossible to overcome, these reasons actually cause the student to lose focus and become less motivated to work harder. To better your chances of surviving the profession, avoid from making these particular reasons your sole purpose for going into engineering.

1) Engineering Is Where the Money Is

Unless you are already working for a well-known company, you will not be making any real money until after college. In the meantime, you will be participating in various team projects, reading at least 20 pages worth of material a week and consuming all of your time juggling homework, classes and payment deadlines.

That is four years worth of free labor with little room for a social life. Eventually, the same goal to make money will push you to other more lucrative and less stressful avenues causing you to focus less on your studies.

My advice: Like many good things, making money in the profession is a slow and gradual process. Do not focus on the money aspect. Focus on the challenges that come with getting an engineering degree. Once you overcome the challenges, you will be rewarded with job offers that come with a big fat pay raise.

2) Math Wizards Are Good at Engineering

This is probably the most common misconception that people outside of engineering have about the profession. They think that if a child is good at mathematics, then they are destined to be engineers. Mathematics however, is the father of all sciences, which includes engineering, medicine, physics, biology, etc. So why can’t a child that is good at mathematics be a doctor, or an architect or a pyrotechnician?

My advice: Even if you score a perfect grade on your Calculus II AP exam, go into the College of Engineering not as a math genius, but as a regular student who has a strong math background. It does not hurt to stay humble. Besides, mathematics is not all there is to engineering. You will learn that as you make your way to higher level courses.

3) Engineers Get To Build Stuff

This is another very common misconception people have about engineers, me included. When I entered the College of Engineering at 17, I thought I would learn how to build a car from scratch. The thought of building something made me work hard for the first year of my undergraduate degree.

However, I learned as a sophomore that the sole purpose of an engineer is to design things that help advance society as a whole. Construction of anything other than a draft falls on the backs of the technicians.

This piece of information discouraged me from focusing on my studies. It was not until my junior year that I found other ways to feed my inventive side while I prepared for graduation the very next year. Here are a few that I have listed for you. Feel free to try them out and see if one of them works for you.

  • Join an organization where you get involved in team projects that require you to use your hands.
  • Try to get an internship in either an oil or technology company. Much of the training you get requires you to use your hands to create things.
  • Call people you know and start up your own personal projects. This is a great way to gain an interest in engineering and you may find yourself using some of the theories and laws you learned in class.

4) I Want to Make My Parents Proud

Usually, there is nothing wrong with pleasing your parents. However, when it comes to deciding a major that will affect the rest of your life, you will only find heartache if you place your parents before yourself.

Why? Well for one, your parents will not be the ones taking the tests. Your parents will not be the ones dedicating at least four years of their life. Your parents will not be the ones planning your schedule. And most importantly, your parents will not be the ones to take the fall if you fail. This is the real world, sweetie. All the responsibility is yours and yours alone to bear.

My advice: There is nothing wrong with testing the waters. If you feel like you’re up to the challenges that come with engineering, go for it with all you have! But the decision should be yours and yours alone. Once you say you are doing something for someone else, you will not work half as hard as you would if you were doing it for yourself.

5) Girls Love Engineers

When I hear some guys say that engineers are walking chick magnets, I cannot help but laugh. Engineers have been called a lot of things (magicians, geniuses, environmental hazards) but not chick magnets.

Engineers do tend to attract a lot of attention mostly because of the respect that comes with the profession. But that does not mean girls will flock to engineers more so than, say a doctor or a lawyer or a famous rapper.

My advice: Many professions attract women. However, women are more into the person. If you are the kind of person who knows where he is going in life, then girls will come to you regardless of whether you’re an engineer or not. It all lies in confidence and security. How sure are you about the direction of your life? Is it exactly where you want it to be? Are you willing to fix it if it isn’t?

As always, I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any reasons you think should have made the list or you just want to say “hi,” feel free to leave a comment.

© 2014 TW Childs


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