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Guest Post: Created Unequally: Why I Chose Engineering

I speculate that perhaps there’s an inherent indecisiveness that plagues some students; I myself was halfway to a Bachelor’s in psychology when I decided to change not only my major but also my university. I was becoming increasingly more concerned about my career path. My frustration with Industrial and Abnormal Psychology grew inversely with my slipping grades. I contemplated the possible cause, but to no immediate avail, and then as now I don’t think that that type of uncertainty ever beleaguered the majority of my peers; of course, common law suggests that the solution to a slipping grade is to devote more time and energy to the subject, and ultimately the issue will be resolved. As it stood, I know factually that I was devoting more time over most of my peers, a habit which I’d grown accustomed to in grade school out of necessity. So I thought it was very odd that I was slipping despite the increased effort on top of that. I speculated that perhaps I was less interested in psychology than math, but frankly this notion felt artificial considering my vested interest in the former.

Some people preach trusting your gut; well, that’s usually a last resort for people like me. We like to think things through to the end, to consider all the variables (which, admittedly, can be excruciating). I chose a career in psychology after nearly a year of mulling it over. I concluded that it would grant me the exclusive understanding of the human condition which I desired. I didn’t want to be a mental health counselor, far from it in fact; what I really wanted was an opportunity to understand humanity to the extent that I could facilitate the integration of our growing technological prowess. Full disclosure, my long term plan, like so many of us, was to change the world for the better.

But at the end of my second year as a Psychology Major, I abandoned that career path and transferred to an engineering program. It wasn’t very well thought out; actually, I made the decision based on observation alone: namely, I was slipping in psychology and excelling in mathematics, and my gut told me to follow the math, and I listened. While I retrospectively consider it to have been rather impulsive, it was also one of the best things I could have done for myself. I didn’t change careers because I felt it contributed to my long term goal, or more accurately that was not the thinking behind it at the time. It has taken two years of careful consideration to come to that conclusion, to conclude that I made the right choice. I realize now that I am actually better prepared for my goals now with my more eclectic experiences than I was without them. I did indeed gain a deeper understanding of the human condition, but now with my technical expertise, not only can I advise humanity on the right direction to take, I can literally help shape it. Two years of progressively more stressful math courses, and now the checkered flag is coming into view, and just beyond that I can barely make out the faint silhouette of a podium, with some big trophy resting on top and the rest of humanity crowded around in the stands. All the hard work is on the cusp of paying off. I’m now armed with a new, comprehensive understanding of our physical world, and my arsenal continues to grow, and thus I submit to the world that I’m grateful that I trusted my gut; for every tedious hour spent studying I inch closer and closer to making a name for myself. One hopes that two more years from now I will see the world in an entirely different light. Until then, the tedium continues, but from now on, it’s greeted with arms open wide.

Robert Kemp

Robert Kemp is a third year engineering student from Palm Beach State College. He’s been recognized for his service as the president of the Florida Engineering Society Delta Chapter and as a project leader on several of their engineering projects. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida and hopes to work professionally in technology systems integration.

To learn more about Robert click here.

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