You just cleared high school. The results are out and you are beside yourself with joy. You probably ranked top in your school or something close to that. First of all, congratulations on the good work. You deserve more than a pat on the back. By all means, celebrate your success. However, you are now faced with the decision of what career you should pursue, and all indicators point towards engineering. Hold your horses, here are five wrong reasons for choosing an engineering course.
#1 For Prestige
They say never let failure get to your heart and in equal measure never let success get to your head. You were an academic giant in your school and now you are probably thinking you can comfortably settle in any career you so desire. While that may be partly true, it isn’t the full truth. Engineering does indeed bring societal prestige. You mention to your peers that you’re taking an Engineering course and guys respect you and perhaps the girls get impressed and of course you’ll feel nice. Take it from me, I’ve been there and it’s the worst reason you would want to take an engineering course.
First of all, prestige is not going to earn you any grades while pursuing the course. Secondly, recall how you felt while joining Alliance, Nairobi School, Moi Girls, Kenya High, or even Kabarak? How much did that prestige contribute to you earning your KCSE grade? If you’re honest with yourself probably none. It’s the same for any engineering course you’d want to pursue.
#2 You’re plagued by math anxiety
There’s something your math teachers never told you: Engineering has a lot of mathematics (most of which isn’t so pleasant). But of course, they can’t tell you that lest they lose the pride of having an extra student pass in his subject. You most probably had a love-hate relationship with math; most probably the latter. You’d do well most of the time and not so well when you went for that tough math contests-they just had a way of putting you in your place.
Perhaps you belong on the other side of the spectrum: you wish math wasn’t in the syllabus and maybe you would have scored a better grade than you got in form-four. If math was a struggle don’t choose engineering- why would you want to go through the hell-fire of math for five years while you could easily go to the heaven of social sciences for a shorter period?
#3 You know someone who studied it
Humans have a nasty habit of aping others. While this may be a good thing, don’t carry this notion over to aid your decision in choosing an engineering course. While it may have been the perfect choice for your father, brother, or some relative it may not be the case for you. You might want to become like them (and there’s nothing wrong with that) but have you considered that their aptitude and circumstances might have been different during their time? The best thing you can do is have a nice cup of coffee with them (if they are not as close to you) and ask them to be honest with you about their reasons for choosing it and experience while doing it. Maybe after watching the Avengers franchise, you want to be like Tony Stark and build an iron-man suit for yourself. By all means, go for it. Hehe….
#4 You’re a natural at being unmotivated to do anything
“It’s never that serious,” or “take it easy, you only live once.” Ever subscribed to any of the mentioned phrases or their variations? If so, you might be infected with a disease called, uzembecoccus laziness (my scientific name for the plague called laziness). Being highly motivated to do nothing is another definition. If you’re the kind that frowned at those students who would spend extra hours studying as you made stories in the dorm (or house) and got irritated when they submitted assignments on or before schedule while you were yet to start yours then you are highly likely not going to survive in an arduous field like engineering. Luckily there are other courses that won’t demand as much from you and you may have a chance there. Other factors held constant; engineering is for students who are very much self-driven.
#5 The money: You believe it will make you rich
Other than Thomas Edison and Elon Musk, I don’t think the list is very long after that of people who made a fortune by virtue of simply being engineers. Furthermore, ever heard of Steve Wozniak? I’m guessing probably not but I am sure you have heard of Steve Jobs. Maybe you should ask yourself why you know more about the second Steve and not the first yet the former was an engineer! Just in case you did not know, Apple would not be in existence if it wasn’t for Mr. Wozniak. The point is, despite having a higher ranking in the salaried strata working-class, engineering in and of itself isn’t the road to riches! Furthermore, personal financial success is 20% head-knowledge and 80% behavior.