Testing the Waters

It seems every girl in high school who is good at math and science is told to pursue engineering. Statistically speaking women are underrepresented in engineering. Fewer than 19 percent of engineering students in the United States are women (compared with 25 percent at Lehigh), and only about 13 percent of working engineers are women (SWE). So for the sake of womenkind it made sense for me to major in engineering. I was also very interested in renewable energy and saw mechanical engineering as a way for me to learn the skills I need to make a difference in that field. However, after freshman year I began to wonder if I really wanted to be an engineer. Like every student in college I began to question what I wanted to do when I grew up.

This past semester was a piece from a novel in itself for me. I joined a start-up University in San Francisco whose goal is to create citizens of the world. I realized though that online learning was not what I wanted even though at the time it sounded amazing to travel to 7 different cities around the world. I didn’t think that would mean being in 7 different cities and interacting with my classmates through a skype like platform even though they were in the same building. It seemed awesome, but I came to realize quickly that it just doesn’t make sense. I then took a flight back home to Boston where I applied for internships, yet somehow got a job offer, which I had to refuse since I was coming to back to Lehigh in the Spring. Then spent the rest of my time trying to start my own multi-level marketing company and waitressing. On top of all of this I auditioned for the Voice and had shoulder surgery for a second time, since I tore it out climbing. I also spent a lot of time volunteering at my local Boys and Girls Club and an animal shelter. I really began to question everything.

Long story short upon returning to Lehigh I decided to try business instead of engineering. A few weeks later, and I realized that I am definitely an engineer. I missed the classes that challenge my brain and are not just about memorization. I missed the problem solving aspect of engineering. Someone once told me an engineering degree is more than just a degree, it is a way of thinking. I understand this now more than ever, but I am also glad I didn’t just settle and explored my options. Some people stay in a situation just because they think they don’t have an option or are to afraid to make the leap. I learned that I am a risk taker and and am willing to try anything. One thing I am not is someone who settles. So my advice to college students out there is to face your fears and don’t just settle, life is a journey and its time to explore.


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