Congratulations. You are here. You are an engineering student. And you have earned the privilege to study among some of the most talented people in one of the most challenging majors: engineering. This is not an easy goal to have accomplished so give yourself a large pat on the back. How did you accomplish this? Perhaps a little motivation, a little pressure, natural talent or a combination of several drivers. You are here because you are capable, you are driven, you are smart and most of all, you WANT to be here. Or do you?
I’m going to dare you to ask yourself – WHY are you here? You might wonder why I would mention this silly question. Most of you reading this engineering blog will most likely fall into 1 of 2 groups. Those of you in the first group have no doubt you belong in an engineering school. You know engineering is the right major; it feels right, you would not confidently consider any other major and you are mostly looking forward to your engineering curriculum. That is awesome for you.
Those of you who are skeptical or doubtful may have thoughts such as, “I hope this is the right major for me”, or “It scares me to think about my future courses”, or “I’m struggling now as it is, how am I ever going to get through all my classes.” I will go one step further and state that some of you are thinking, “I’m here because of my parents”, or “This isn’t really my choice, but I come from a family of engineers”, or “I hate calculus, maybe I’m not cut out for engineering.” Whether you can admit it out loud or not, some of you suspect (or know) engineering is not a good fit. Some of you can feel it and it’s eating you alive.
I am challenging you to be honest when you consider your answer to the question “Do I belong in engineering?” If you are comfortable with and if you like your answer, then that is a wonderful thing and you should proceed with your engineering plans as usual. If your answer is disconcerting or uncomfortable or if you are feeling doubtful, unhappy, lost, depressed, sad, apprehensive, etc., then I encourage you to confront your feelings ASAP. Do not hide behind a mask or lead a life of acting. Please do whatever it is you need to do to set yourself up for a bright future. Forcing your way and faking your way through engineering (or any major) can lead to a disastrous, self-destructive lifestyle. Each of you deserve the opportunity to create your own future. It is your responsibility as a human being to exploit your natural strengths, talents and wisdom in a way that allows you to thrive.