engineering

Majoring in Engineering

There was always one dilemma that puzzled me while in college - a question so commonly asked in college conversations and even more perplexing as you delve deeper into it. Why did you choose X major? I've asked many of my college peers what made them select a certain major, and it was always because they excelled in that subject or eliminated all other alternatives. When I was faced with my own existential crisis, I began to challenge the notion that you should major in something that you're good at.

The classic story of an engineer is as follows - played with Legos as a kid, was bullied in school, developed a penchant for math and sciences. It's interesting to me how the media and society are so obsessed with destiny, as if your future is dictated by your past. Using prior events isn't very intuitive to me when it comes to these scenarios. In fact, I find it incredibly limiting to use your past as a marker for your future. I believe that by prospecting into the future, you make better decisions in your present. So  I think that you shouldn't choose a major that you're good at, but you should choose something that you can become good at it even though you suck at it presently. 

Something that most people don't know about me is that I was really artsy growing up. I wrote poetry, painted, played instruments, etc. In high school, I was more theatre kid than Science Olympiad buff. I applied to college as a Journalism major because people thought I was a good writer. When I got to college, it really dissatisfied me that I couldn't figure out why I did so poorly in math and sciences in high school. To me, I saw college as an experimental four years where I could do something a bit contrarian and choose to major in my weakest subject. If there was a time to challenge myself and be completely vulnerable to failure, it's here and now. If I was truly going to get the most out of my four years of college, I had to do something I otherwise couldn't imagine doing. I was determined to make it through engineering, no matter what it took. 

Now that I'm almost graduating from Materials Engineering at UCLA, I still look back and see majoring in engineering as one of the best decisions I've ever made. I learned a lot about myself and what I'm capable of. I still don't feel like I quite fit in with my hardcore engineering friends, but that's a future blog post. My takeaways are: Do what you're uncomfortable with, live up to the challenge, and high expectations for yourself begets high achievements.