We are often told to act a certain way as engineers. If you’re studying a specific field, our teachers and parents expect us to practice what that field offers us. If you’re a civil engineer, people will tell you that you’re only limited to constructing buildings and bridges. If you’re a mining engineer, they dictate you to work in the mines. They discourage you to explore other fields since you need to start making money on your own.
People tell us that we have to immediately work after college because we need to be on our own. If we choose to study again and take up a master’s degree, most of them would wonder why do we need it. They’d ask, “Isn’t five years in college enough for you to start working?” Even our parents would complain that they’d have to continue supporting our studies, thinking it’s unfair for them that we choose to study after graduation.
While some engineers pursue research, there are others who choose an entirely different path. Some would choose to write and enter businesses. Some would choose to pursue a career in the corporate world. When society expects us to immerse ourselves in a field full of tech jargons and mechanical equipment, those who choose an entirely different career path are considered a “waste”. They often ask us, “Why did you have to pursue an engineering degree when you don’t plan to work in engineering at all?”
I’m one of those people. I know exactly how it feels to be judged for choosing to pursue my passion in writing instead of practicing the field I spent the last 5 years studying for. I really wouldn’t consider my time in engineering school a waste though. I will always be grateful for everything I learned there and for the opportunities engineering has given me. I’ve learned a lot from it. But I will choose to focus on what makes me happy. I may be in a career that doesn’t need my technical skills as an engineer but I will always remain an engineer.
So, if you happen to have doubts about the kind of engineer you’re going to be, I urge you to follow your heart. Be the kind of engineer you want to be. Be the one in the field. Be the one in the office. Be the one on the streets. Be the one making the change – however you plan to do it. You can be whoever you want to be. It’s a big world out there full of possibilities. You have to open yourself to whatever life can give you. So, pursue your passion and be the kind of engineer you want to be.
The doubters and the haters don’t even matter at all. They don’t.