When I was younger, I never really knew what I wanted my career to be. When people would ask me what I wanted to be, I never had a solid answer. You would think that I would have said: “A princess!” or “A doctor!” at some point. But truly, I never actually knew. I was also never super focused on a subject. All I knew was that I would eventually attend college, study, do good, and have a successful career, I was just missing the most important part: what the career was. I got to high school and I was still just as lost knowing what to study. I would change careers every other week. I went around pretty much every single career in hopes to find one that I liked.
So what exactly made me pick engineering?
This is a question I often prefer not to answer. And if I do, I try to omit the obvious reasons that influenced my views on engineering, in hopes to make other people understand the passion that I developed towards engineering. Because in reality, our careers are not just a job, but a way of thinking and lifestyle and I surely did not want to make the wrong decision.
So, I am an engineer, I must like science, correct? Well, somewhat. I do have to admit that I always had a special liking towards math. It always made sense and I liked being able to figure out how to solve it. But as far as science… I wasn’t so sure. Biology wasn’t my favorite. Chemistry, I would definitely pass. But, there was something about the physics class that I took senior year in high school. I got to tell you, it was probably the most challenging class I took in high school, but it was also the most rewarding. It took math and gave it a meaning. It connected it to the real world, and there was something in my brain that sparked every time I was able to solve a physics problem. I liked it so much, that I went into college thinking I would major in physics.
I walked into college. As a first semester student, managed to skip 1 math class in order to place myself in Calculus 1, which also gave me access to enroll in a calculus based physics class. I was ready to take the on the world… and I was dragged through the floor. I was not ready for that. One thing is starting college and adapting into the differences in assignments, work load, and responsibility. But going through that, while also throwing myself into those classes was suicide. I always did good in school, and it had a meaning behind which I will cover in another post, so going into college and almost failing my first physics test, made me doubt myself more than I ever had. And to be honest, that doubt persisted throughout my entire time in college.
So, what kept me going? I liked it. I liked the challenge. I felt the fear, and I stayed anyways. I had also found a career I liked and I wasn’t going to give it up for 1 failed exam.
I had it clear in my mind what I wanted:
- I wanted a successful career with a steady future.
- As selfish as it sounds, I wanted good money. I didn’t want to have to worry about not making enough. Especially because of how expensive college is.
- I wanted a career that revolved the things I liked: Math, problem solving.
- I wanted to do something special. There is simply not enough Latina engineers, and I was fully aware of it so I wanted to contribute and make a change.
- I liked the challenge. I wanted to prove myself that I could do it.
- I liked the reputation that engineering had: intelligent, successful, elegant, difficult. It was a very attracting career.
- There was simply not other major that would attract my interest anymore. I felt right and I wanted to stay.
So I sucked it up. I cried over it and said I will try harder…. And sadly, this situation repeated over and over again throughout the next 5 years. So many times I felt defeated by a test, by an assignment, by a topic that will simply not make sense in my head. But I kept going.
My graduation day was probably one of the happiest days. I had made it.
Its about 6 months since I graduated and about a year working as an engineer. And let me tell you, being an official engineer is pretty great. It is all I wanted. I might not be working out math problems all the time, but I am out and about in a manufacturing plant solving problems, designing equipment to make manufacturing easier, and many other things. I love it. I am happy to go to work. I am happy with what I do and it makes me feel good, empowered, independent and a strong female.