“It always seems crazy, until it’s not” — Larry Page

Huh. This article left me utterly baffled, honestly. I have never had any of these criticisms or awkward conversations or had anyone ever ask any of the questions you described. Well, not while studying engineering (currently I’m on medical leave so the questions about where I work or what I study have their own brand of awkwardness). When I said I would study chemical engineering, all I heard was how great the job market there was and how I will never have to worry about getting hired. One of my best friends in college is a MechE and has been offered jobs since she was a junior. My male engineering student friends experienced a similar pick of jobs- some of them had a bit less options offered to them, but they all had lower GPAs and no lab hours/internships/co-op experience or other skills. I’ve never been told that I don’t look like an engineer. I have been told that I look great in a red dress with my hair done up though. I’ve occasionally had to explain what a chemical engineer does (my brother and aforementioned friend, both MechE’s have done the same) but that is always in response to honest questioning and the person asking the question generally seemed rather embarrassed that he or she did not know. The closest I’ve experienced to someone questioning my choice of major was when people would say “are you sure this is what you want? You have such a lovely singing voice, you won these awards! Are you sure that you don’t want to pursue a career in music?” Or “but I’ve seen you paint! I thought you would be applying to art school!” Never did I hear “but how would you ever get hired/ how will you be able to manage those classes/ what would you wear”. It saddens me to hear that my experience is not the norm. I’m honestly shocked and appalled that this is the reaction you received. I’m sure that you have done wonderfully and will continue to do so. I’m so sorry that anyone doubted you.

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