By: Will Tople | Civil Design Associate
You will choose a college based on its reputation. You will major in engineering based on the fact that your father did it, and so did his.
No matter what you do, you’ll have no idea what you are about to get into.
You will have a crisis your sophomore year because you hate your major. You will want to change everything about yourself. You won’t—something about that major appealed to you to begin with. You’ll continue. You will pick up minors in the things you love, like writing and acting.
Towards the end of your senior year, you will begin to pull your hair out. You will think this is how people go bald. You’ll research Rogaine, half-joking, half-not.
You will apply to, literally, a hundred jobs. You will hear back—with some luck—to 1% of them. No matter how many internships you had—no matter how good your grades are—your friends will start getting offers long before you do. You will hate them, but you will also find inspiration in them.
You will check your inbox everyday. Then hourly. You will finally hear back from more places.
You’ll interview for a firm that makes your feel comfortable. You’ll be yourself in the interview. You’ll get an offer. Your friends will hate you, but you will inspire them too.
By necessity, you will learn how to wake up in the morning. That means you will stop watching Netflix until 1 in the morning.
You will learn to pack your lunches like you did in high school. You will run out of lunchmeat on Wednesday night because you are too tired to make anything but a sandwich for dinners too.
You will wait in line at the grocery store to get more lunchmeat and someone will ask you, “What do you do?” In fact, you will get asked, “What do you do?” a lot these days. You will think of an answer that makes your job sound cooler than it actually is because most people don’t know what an engineer does. In the end, you will tell these people that if they walk on it, drive on it, or flush it, you have probably designed something similar to it.
You will learn how to cook, if not but to impress somebody.
You will lose contact with a lot of friends. You will gain even more. You will go out to drinks on the weekends. You will buy tickets to football games. You will attend plays, or concerts, or mixers because you can finally afford these things.
You will love your job most days. You will be annoyed on the others. You will open up at work and make more friends. If you’re lucky, these friends will be like you. They will be able to talk like you and joke with you. They will make getting up in the morning worthwhile.
You’ll go back to school to visit for the weekend. You will finally realize what it means when your parents say, “I feel old.”
You will get bills. You will find financial responsibility because you have to now. You will realize how dreadful student loans are. You will think you are drowning for a while, and will search for a life preserver. You’ll be broke but will find out that you can still manage. You’ll start to worry about your retirement fund, even at this age. The car you have been driving since high school will die in the middle of a busy road during rush hour. You’ll pull more hair our searching for a new one. You’ll realize all of these lunchmeat sandwiches aren’t helping your ever-growing gut. You will spend your nights at the gym. You will forget to call your mother on Wednesday night, like you always did, and she won’t like it. You will have to make emergency trips to the hospital that you can’t afford.
A lot of the things will go wrong.
And you will realize this is just your first year out of school. And you will realize you have so many more to figure these things out.