To explain how I choose engineering out of high school I am going to paint you a picture of my personal journey and maybe parts, if not all of it, will sound familiar to where you are to in your life or, where you may find yourself in the days, months, or years to come.
In high school I did very good academically. I didn’t find high school overly challenging, I studied for all my exams and got great marks. I, unlike most students but maybe like some, was conflicted between science based programs after high school and so I somehow managed to do grade 11 and 12 biology, physics, chemistry and advanced mathematics. Most students only did one science some did two. I did them all because my post-high school dreams included med school, engineering, chem/bio/phys degrees, maybe I should do biochemistry maybe I should be a police officer, I wasn’t sure, I didn’t know, and I certainly didn’t want to close any doors.
It’s a good idea to have an idea of what you would like to do post secondary. This is not because you should hurry to finish school and get working OR because you have one chance to get it right this is mainly because many post- secondary institutions will have pre-requisite courses or averages required from high school to directly enter a program or faculty. Obviously, if you have your site set on entering engineering, for example, right out of high school you should know if the schools you are applying to require certain courses or averages for direct entry. Furthermore, if you don’t know DON’T WORRY, all post- secondary institutions have general/first year studies, this is not a bad choice, in fact I would recommend it to many, but, if you didn’t get that specific course you needed or you didn’t do that well in chemistry, or maybe your not sure if you even like math, general studies will allow you to take a variety of courses and grant you time to figure this stuff out! Besides university is a whole new ballgame and a general year is a really nice ease into that lifestyle.
Back to my story…. I was confused and wasn’t sure, so how did I end up in engineering? Well my high school physics teacher was the reason I ended up there. He studied engineering after he left the military and before he studied teaching. He was someone who always brought up the topic of university or collage and he was the guy who eased my mind over and over about decision making. It can be stressful to feel like you have to decide what to do right away and it can be stressful trying to predict your future and determine if you’ll like a certain career or excel in a certain degree. My physics teacher always affirmed those feelings and thoughts to me and guaranteed they were normal, but, he would follow up with “ just because you study it, just because you apply to the program, just because your good at something does not mean you have to work in the field, finish your career doing one thing, or even accept the acceptance letter to the programs you apply!”. He would give us stats on the number of Canadians that change career paths throughout their working lives, and he was a class A example that it was okay and possible to change careers based on feelings, passions, and academic strengths and weaknesses. Knowing that it was not a concrete end-of-the-world-if-I-didn’t-like-it decision and knowing that I was free to change my thoughts and academic/career plans and goals whenever I wanted I applied to engineering, and gave the program a try.
Why did I not pursue my other ideas your thinking….. WELL my logic was this: to apply to the medschool of my choice I needed an undergrad degree first that could be ANY undergraduate degree, including engineering if that’s what I decided to pursue after. Secondly, chem, physics, biology, and biochemistry degrees historically send you teaching or put you in a laboratory, things I am not cut out for, after you finish the degree. I could apply to med school after those degrees but what if I had a change of heart and/or didn’t qualify to get in or straight up didn’t get into medschool at all, I would be left with a degree I could do nothing that I wanted to do, with. Thirdly, my personality needs organization and goal setting and basically a clear cut path to a certain career at the end of a five year degree was what I needed and felt very comfortable signing up for, even if I wasn’t 100% planning to stick with it this it seemed like a pretty good decision for me at the time.
Now, my classmates. Some of them knew from the gecko engineering was for them, some actually said they tried it because they knew they could make good money with an eng degree and they ended up liking it! Some flunked into it by just trying it, some hated it and left, some finished it and then went to do business school after we graduated! Your story is unique and how you enter the program and how/if you finish it will be different and unique to you BUT you will figure it out one way or another!
I can tell you that I fully and wholeheartly enjoyed every aspect of engineering school. I didn’t think about leaving the program after I entered and yet even now I am not 100% sure this is what I want to do for the majority of my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but your working years are the majority of your years on this earth and you do wanna enjoy what you do! My physics teacher still to this day eases my mind when I think of changing career paths but you’ll have to continue following my blog to read more to see how, why and where I am today and what my plans are for the future.
NEXT UP: My up and coming posts will include
➢ How I picked my Engineering Discipline of Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering over other choices like Mechanical!
➢ 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