Why I’ll Never Be a Mechanical Engineer

Even Though I Have a Degree In It

Photo by Ben Koorengevel on Unsplash

Like most high school students, I went to college. Unlike many college students, I never changed my major, and I finished in 3.5 years.

My degree is in mechanical engineering, but I’ve never been a mechanical engineer. And I don’t think I ever will be.

And the funniest part is that I don’t want to be one.

The degree, I will admit, has been beneficial in my being employed, but aside from working with engineers, I don’t do any engineering.

And I like it this way. I didn’t realize until after graduation that I prefer the organization, planning, and writing side of engineering — but not the actual engineering.

I’m sure my story is not unique.

There are a lot of graduates clutching useless degrees being spat into the workforce, but those of us in the STEM fields were promised to basically never be out of work in our fields.

But there’s no guarantee for the kids getting those degrees and ending up in other careers. What if we don’t necessarily want to work in our fields?

How many kids go to college wanting to be a lawyer, and end up with a law degree they don’t use?

Somewhere along the line, career and life desires shifted.

But the money has already been spent.

For me, there was an unspoken understanding with my parents, who paid for my education, that I would finish my degree in four years or less. To me that meant I couldn’t change my major. I went in with a plan and did not consider anything else.

In some ways, I hate it.

But in more ways, I’m grateful.

I sometimes think of what I’d do if I could do it over again. Those plans vary a lot — sometimes I do a double major of mechanical engineering and project management.

Other scenarios have me getting a business degree with a side of astronomy, but doing all my homework in the engineering building so I’d still meet my husband.

Thinking hard about the past does nothing to change it.

While I might not use my degree in the way I thought I would, it’s given me experiences, opportunities, and people in my life that I’d be hard-pressed to imagine never having.

And that’s worth having an engineering degree I don’t use.