Take time figuring out your career

Photo by Sara Schmitt

hough my major — Electrical Engineering — was set in stone, I was still very confused about what I wanted to pursue.

The problem with being given so many options is that I want them all. I was pre-med for two semesters, and I wholeheartedly enjoyed taking Organic Chemistry. I decided that standing in the middle of a cadaver lab with my eyes closed during a high school field trip was a sign I would not enjoy medical school — my burning love for “Grey’s Anatomy” notwithstanding.

After taking two ECE biomedical electives, I regretted not continuing with my pre-med track. Not because I still wanted to go to medical school, but because I realized I missed learning about how the heart functions and the mechanisms of respiration.

Albert Einstein once said, “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” I understand this now. There are so many classes at Tech that I want to take, so many things that I want to learn, and yet I would never sign up for those classes.

Some are hard and would make it difficult for me to maintain a certain GPA for graduate school admissions. Others are too time-consuming.

It is quite ironic that I am at such a wonderful institution and yet I cannot indulge myself as much as I want.

In my third year, I had a mid-life crisis. I spent every free moment exploring all possible career options for someone with an EE degree. I found so many.

I could be an intellectual property or patent lawyer — so I contacted a dual Ph.D./J.D. degree program. Public policy was a viable option, so I reached out to a friend of a friend who worked at the Department of Energy and looked at policy-related degree programs. A common trend is to go into technical consulting, so I raided the internet. I drove myself crazy looking at the options.

This is my last semester at Tech. I know what I am doing for the next five years, hopefully. I am waiting for EE graduate programs to get back to me. You would think that would calm the raging creature within me craving a passion to latch on to.

I still have not found exactly what I would love to do, but that is OK. People say that if you love your job, you never work a day in your life. I want that, but I will settle for a job that I like until I finally get there.

I think the most important thing that Tech has taught me is that it is OK to be interested in everything and anything and nothing at all.

You can do a million different things, and yet at the end of four (or sometimes more) years, we all walk across that stage with the whole world at our feet, and the sky is not even the limit because we have the tools to go beyond that.

The greatest lessons learned on campus are not the ones found in the pages of textbooks or on the whiteboards in your classrooms — unless you had a profound professor.

Tech throws you in the deep end. Some people make their own life jackets from what’s in their pockets; others learn to kick their feet until they break through the surface and breathe in lungfuls of fresh air.

It is quite beautiful because everyone has their own method. Some seem similar, but upon closer inspection, we are all quite unique in what motivates us to the finish line and how we get there.