We all know people look up to engineers. Having to go through an intense program in college, people would often be amazed if one tells them he/she graduated with an engineering degree.
Unfortunately, there are engineering students who let this idea get to their heads.
While it is okay to take pride in being an engineering student, there are students who are too arrogant with their course. Not only is this frustrating, one can also miss out on meeting the most interesting people in their universities.
I should know because I was one of them.
I have developed this false pride in college where I would silently look down on people who aren’t in engineering and science courses. To me, they aren’t as smart and tough and hardworking enough as engineering students. Spending sleepless nights studying my ass off for exams and feeling stressed out with my papers and projects, I thought I was entitled to underestimate those who are studying in non-engineering courses. I wasn’t vocal about my sentiments but me not having friends outside engineering made it clear that I’m not interested in hanging out with them in college.
I was like this during my first two years in college. I appeared a snob to my non-engineering classmates. Whenever I had group work, I would always make sure I was heard and that my ideas would often win over the others. I always thought to myself that I shouldn’t let other people think I’m dumb because I’m an engineering student. I had to be the best in this group because I am the engineering student.
But when my course program started becoming harder, I was starting to have a hard time with my course. I was failing in a lot of my major subjects. There was even a time when I had to drop out of some majors because I could no longer handle the stress. The pressure got to me and I thought about giving up on my dream of becoming an engineer. But I persevered and decided to pursue my studies. Unfortunately, I had to go through one semester where I could only take one major class and the rest were general electives. It meant I had to be separated from my friends in engineering.
The first few weeks of that semester were hard. I missed my friends and I missed studying engineering lessons. I had to learn history, a foreign language, films and the art of creative writing for that semester (apart from one major class). In these classes, I was exposed to different people from different fields – the creative ones. While it was a struggle to open up to these people in class, surprisingly, I learned how to. They’re actually not bad at all. The longer I was exposed to their ideas, the more I realized that they may not get what I learn in engineering but they are still smart in their own ways. They are able to have deep and intelligent conversations with you about life, love, politics, business, books and art. Something I couldn’t always get in engineering school.
The biggest lesson I learned in that semester was that being an engineering student did not make me better than those who weren’t. By opening myself up to other people. I was exposed to different ideals and perspectives that made me a better individual compared to who I was before that semester. It made me grateful for the failure because it led me to a wonderful self-discovery and I managed to keep friends that I still hang out with up to this day.
So, to all the engineering student who think they’re better than those who aren’t, think again. What you learn in engineering will help you with your future career but what you can learn from the ones in different fields may teach you lessons about life. Remember that famous quote by Robin Williams in the movie, Dead Poets Society:
“And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”
So my dear engineering student, open yourself up to different fields. Engage in conversations with the future artists, the writers, the businessmen and other people who aren’t in engineering. Don’t forget they are also capable of changing the world just like you.