Time to shoot for the stars!

This is not the last you’ll hear of this. In fact, I’ve mentioned it several times, most notably in my post moaning about having second thoughts regarding my course of study.

I’m an English Grammar/Composition/Literature type of girl. I’m a fan of foreign languages. I dabble in art.

I’m an engineering major.

Weird, right? I’ve always thought so. It was actually literature, not science, that inspired me to go into engineering in the first place: Ayn Rand’s description of the geniuses who secretly run things, the engineers who are the true movers and shakers of the world.

I’m not a fan of Objectivism by any means, but Rand’s words stuck with me. I wanted to be one of those geniuses. So I declared the major and figured I’d see how it went.

Taking calculus and physics and chemistry was fine (if occasionally torturous), but I never felt the same passion I’d felt when I read Atlas Shrugged. Part of the problem was that my program is dual degree (3 years at one school for a BA, 2 years at another for a BS in mechanical engineering), which means no actual engineering classes until this upcoming fall. But I was still nursing a hunch that for me to be truly passionate about a class, it needed to be words-based, where I could logic it all out with reading and writing. English. Foreign language. Philosophy. History, sometimes. Politics, maybe.

Thinking in words is easy. Thinking in math is hard. I’m learning, slowly, but I can only think in algebra at best. Thinking in calculus is still beyond me. I’m about to transition from a small liberal arts college to a university with real engineering classes, and it occurs to me that this might be the point where my lack of passion leaves me dead in the water.

Luckily, just the other day, I found a goal.

It was strange, because the idea has always been there, but it snuck up on me again when I was talking to my older brother on the phone the day of my going-away party. I told him, “You know, my dream job in engineering would be designing a device for personal flight.”

We chatted about it for a while, and then I had to hang up and go greet the guests at the front door. The next day, when my mom and I were driving to church, I told her what I told my brother, and it occurred to me that I could pursue graduate study in aerospace engineering. See, I’m in a 5-year program for two undergraduate degrees, but for one extra year, I can get a master’s degree. No GRE required. If I get a good first year GPA, I’ll even get a fat scholarship. They’re practically begging me to stay that extra year.

If I master in aerospace engineering, not only will that set me up to follow my dream of soaring through the skies, but I’ll also have a background to pursue the coolest hobbies ever. RC planes and helicopters. Drones. Piloting. Wingsuit flying (not that I wouldn’t do that one anyway. Aerospace engineer or not, wingsuit flying is the coolest thing ever).

Whether I end up using my aerospace degree or not, it sounds freakin’ fascinating. And now I might actually be able to muster up some enthusiasm for my coursework. As I suffer through Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Mechanics, Computer Aided Design, and Engineering Math next semester, I’ll think…just keep flying, just keep flying, just keep flying, flying, flying.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Norman Vincent Peale

10 thoughts on “Time to shoot for the stars!

  1. Don’t forget that language studies aren’t all sunshine either. I’m constantly being told that there is no future in my field, and after ten thousand exercices you will go insane as well.

    But good thing you have found something you really want to do! Keep us updated on how that works out.

    • Yeeeeeah, there are a lot of downsides. I witnessed my English-major roommate’s suffering. But I honestly prefer suffering through essays to suffering through calculus problems 🙂 “Exercises” sound pretty bad, though.

  2. Yup – part of me regrets taking my writing degree. Sitting there for three years being forced to write uninspired stories for an extremely subjective grade (believe me, some tutors hated my writing, some liked it) and now, now that I’m out of university, I feel like I haven’t gained as much as I should have. I’m probably completely wrong, but if I could go back, I’d reconsider and take purely literature instead. But even that wouldn’t be fun and games either!

    Congrats on your epiphany, and I hope you reach your goal 🙂

    • Eek, that sounds bad. Since my main group of friends have majors in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mathematics, and English/Communications, we did a lot of comparing and contrasting of the difficulty of our majors. Of course, out loud, we all agreed that every major has its own challenges, but we also agreed that the difficulty of English lies more in quantity of work, whereas math/science types have to deal with the fact that sometimes our professors ask us to understand the incomprehensible.

  3. Good job on having a goal! It may change, or it may not, but you still have it as motivation. I had the same crisis with my major (history). I’d declared it because I was good at it, but had no clear goal. When I decided I wanted to teach, then things started to make a bit more sense. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m focusing on paying off some student debt and then pursuing a masters. Best of Luck to you!

    • Sounds like you found the right path for yourself! If I’d done the same and declared something because I was good at it, it would’ve been English, but I would have had no idea what I wanted to do with it. I instead decided to major in something that leads directly to a job, but that I’m not so naturally good at. We’ll see how it goes this fall and thanks for the luck…I’ll need it!

  4. I can see we have a lot in common. I’m a writer to my soul…..yet my degree is in Environmental Science because IT’S JUST SO DAMN FASCINATING. Science is……le sigh. I lurve it so hard. The cool thing is, I’ve been able to use it in my fiction a TON. So there’s that.

    I think your new inspiration is awesome. Just see where it takes you. (I’m tempted to insert the quote: “it’s about the journey not the destination”, but I hate to elicit an eye roll from you). 🙂

    Also? Wingsuit flying IS the coolest thing!! I’m fascinated with it. To witness, not attempt, but still – its SO AMAZING.

    • Lookit you go, you’ve managed to inspire me all over again! If you did the science thing, loved it, kept writing, and let it make your writing even better, I guess I can, too, right?!

      Ahahahaha. Thank goodness you didn’t insert that quote. Especially considering we all know that English majors have a great journey with an uncertain destination, while science majors can look forward a starry future at the end of a horrendous journey 😉


  5. OMG…..those charts….hahahahaha! But so very true!

    I don’t think I could ever, ever, ever regret my major. It’s just so much a part of me; I was compelled to honor it. I took a couple writing classes throughout, but only in what sounded interesting. I learned and was validated, which played a huge part in my confidence to write, but I was still able to spend most of my time immersed in science.

    P.S. y-e-a-r-s later I took more writing courses just for fun. You can always go back and take continuing ed stuff. I love that!

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