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Should I/Can I do Engineering School?


JVC

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Hello Everyone! If you are reading this post it means that you are curious, interested or intrigued about a career in Engineering or something related.

I am only 23 years old and I have completed an engineering degree in Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering and simultaneously received a minor in mathematics! Now I am working full time for the Canadian Coast Guard!

I choose engineering right out of high school and was successful in getting into the degree program right away. I didn’t know this is what I wanted to do, I didn’t do the most advanced math courses in high school and I wasn’t absolutely sure that engineering was for me BUT I was interested in the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) field and I love a good challenge so I figured I would give it a try. The comments I get when I tell people I did engineering are almost always the same. I find it interesting how many newly graduated students are deterred from the profession and im about to share some of those comments and my thoughts on them! Maybe you are thinking the same things and I am here to shed some light.

1.    “Wow that’s a really long program”

➢    My program was 5 years, one year longer then the average degree program because it was a coop program! It was the fastest five years of my life and at the end of the five years I still felt to young to be a professional. Don’t let time scare you! Most people are in a rush to finish school but really and truly being a student is the bomb! You make great friends and not much is expected of you when you’re first learning. Plus the extra year of coop weeded out a lot of places I didn’t want to work and assured some thoughts on where I did want to work when I graduated…no strings attached!

2.    “Wow that’s a really hard program”

➢    Was it easy? The answer is no. But with a good circle of friends and professors, some old notes, used text books and google you will get through it! Time management skills are also essential for this profession! The engineering degrees usually pack 2-3 more courses per semester then your average degree program, making your work load fairly huge however, although there will be many stressful times and late nights you will learn to appreciate them, besides, I challenge you to find a degree at a university/collage that will cause you zero stress and no late nights!  

3.     “You must be really good at math”

➢    NOPE. Believe it or not engineers (at my university) do the same first year math courses as A LOT of other first year students and other degrees. You shouldn’t hate math if you want to do engineering, you do go on to do many more courses involving some pretty advanced math but you don’t have to be a star at math! It will help you if you are, but, I didn’t get A’s in my university math courses and I didn’t do calculus in highschool and here I am with a minor in mathematics and an eng degree! Don’t let this stop you from trying.

4.    “You are probably really smart”

➢    I would consider myself smart but I will also say I put a lot of time and hard work into school, and a lot of other things. I didn’t just know how to do engineering and iv studied for hours and iv failed exams and iv gotten through, at times just barley! Anybody can be smart! You don’t have to be an engineer to be that and I have met a few engineers who I wouldn’t consider ‘smart’ because my definition of ‘smart’ is not an engineer. Apply yourself to something you love and put your time and energy into it and you can become ‘smart’.  

5.    “I could never do engineering”

➢    This one is my favorite. I actually laugh at this comment mostly. Has your mom ever told you ‘you can do anything you put your mind to’ ? Its true, you can even do engineering, BUT, do you want to. If you really want to do it, you can. It will be hard there may or may not be setbacks. I have had friends fail out and have to join the class below. I had friends who didn’t get in right away and applied a year or two after high school graduation. I had friends who never finished the degree, why you ask, because it wasn’t for them! You CAN do it BUT do you want to. A lot of us wont know until we try. Engineering is actually really different then what a lot of people think, it was different then what I thought, but if you are thinking about it there’s no harm in trying because then you’ll know and you wont wonder what if.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, I hope that its intrigued you, and helped wash away concern over engineering school.

My up and coming posts will include;

➢    How I choose engineering against all other options and how I choose my engineering discipline, Ocean and Naval Architecture.

➢ My experience with Coop program and placements

➢    What I do as an Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineer

➢    Why I am currently looking at applying to medschool

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