School: what is it good for

So I have a little bit of graduation envy. The bookstore has a centrall displayed cap and gown setup and it's hard to see that or graduation announcements and not feel a little left behind. One more year to go but it sure seems like a long year, and it's hard to really accept it since I had been hoping I was graduating this year. So I guess I'm afraid to really get my hopes up and invest in myself.
Ever since I started going back to school (College Part II) I've asked myself certain questions; How will what I'm learning in school tie in to what I do on the job? How much of this will I need to retain? How much of this should I have memorized? How will my grades affect what kind of engineer I will be? What makes someone a good engineer? How do I become a better engineer?
I'm finally to the point, four years in, where I'm starting to figure out how the education connects to the job. Even working full time I couldn't quite connect the dots, so I can imagine how daunting it must be to a "traditional" engineering student with less experience. A lot of it is proving you can learn the material, and being able to teach it to yourself again if you forget or learn something somewhat related. So much of the job is measure, test, report. When you get into the senior level classes the same core class materials you keep coming back to are the same you might need on the job to run an equation or get a baseline. But for the most part, engineers are not physicists. You always run a test. And some of the smartest guys I know who can pull some wicked analysis out of their heads or put together something really impressive in matlab usually learned it on the job. So it's never too late to be a better engineer.

1 comment:

  1. That is frustrating - my advisor says that most grad students spend the last year thinking they are six months from done.

    Hang in there!