Don't quite 'fit in' - is this a problem?

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Matt in Evansville, Indiana

75 months ago

I am acually at this time getting close to finshing my MSME. I have a good GPA (~3.8), ALOT of interest in the subject, and enjoy doing such things as working with cars. BUT, one thing that REALLY worries me about mechanical engineering is that I just don't seem to 'fit into' the whole culture of it. At school, I almost NEVER talk to any of the other engineering students. And it seems like, compared to me, they are from another planet (I guess I probably seem the same way to them!). NONE of my friends is an engineer. None even has a bachelor's degree. I currently work fast food to pay the bills. And I can honestly say that I feel more 'in my place' there than in school. I even had a career counselor tell me that I am going to have to make 'alot of personal changes' if I want to be an engineer. Is this REALLY the case? Is mechanical engineering really NOT a career that allows you to 'be yourself'? And is the fact that I seem to be such an outcast in my department MAYBE a hint that I should consider other lines of work? Any comments here would be MUCH appreciated, as this is a problem that has been getting me down for a REALLY long time.

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chitown in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois

75 months ago

It will depend on what you do at the company you work for and the size of the company.

If you do more research and design you will generally run into more people who are academic intellectuals.
(larger companies)

If you do work related to manufacturing and production, you will run into alot of practical "hands on" people.
(smaller companies who need a jack of all trades)

Ideally you would be a mix of both practical and theoretical while having a "get it done" and "do it well" attitude but "keep it inexpensive" and "do it quick as possible". Ideally.

If you have some time, take a few shop classes machining, welding, molding, etc at a community college or just build a machine from scratch.

Don't forget the internship.

good luck

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Dan in Lynnwood, Washington

71 months ago

Are you an artist? Do you play an instrument? Are you interested in theater, movie production, or something like that? What about social media? Have you considered an MBA - all go well with a BSME and all are different world's filled with interesting people.

Find the place where you fit in and go there even if it's a little different than what people expect of you.

Dan R, PE, MBA

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Matt in Nashville, Tennessee

71 months ago

It's kind of funny how everyone I tell about this seems to think that I am some kind of artist or musician who was forced into studying engineering to do something more 'marketable'. But the fact of the matter is that I would make a pretty lousy artist or musician - I have absolutely ZERO talent or interest in these areas. Business? Forget it! The REALLY funny thing is that I actually LIKE the study of engineering. In so many ways, it seems like such a natural thing for me. But when I am around other people in school, I feel like I have just landed on another planet. And I just can't imagine being able to successfully work around these sorts of people, let alone even be able to land a job. It's like mechanical engineering is perhaps the best of possible intellectual matches for me, but the worst of possible social matches. See my problem here?

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jwtravel in Indianapolis, Indiana

71 months ago

Matt in Nashville, Tennessee said: It's kind of funny how everyone I tell about this seems to think that I am some kind of artist or musician who was forced into studying engineering to do something more 'marketable'. But the fact of the matter is that I would make a pretty lousy artist or musician - I have absolutely ZERO talent or interest in these areas. Business? Forget it! The REALLY funny thing is that I actually LIKE the study of engineering. In so many ways, it seems like such a natural thing for me. But when I am around other people in school, I feel like I have just landed on another planet. And I just can't imagine being able to successfully work around these sorts of people, let alone even be able to land a job. It's like mechanical engineering is perhaps the best of possible intellectual matches for me, but the worst of possible social matches. See my problem here?

I sometimes feel the same way, despite the fact that my intellect and interests are well matched to the topics within mechanical engineering. However, there is one personality trait of my engineering brethren that I'm proud NOT to share; being a cheapskate when it's time to donate to a cause or to leave a tip at a restaurant. Many of my colleagues seem to be infected with this stinginess - doesn't mean I have to be. Relax. If you like the field, you will find your place.

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YP in Monroe, Michigan

69 months ago

Matt,

I agree with jwtravel. I am an engineer at an auto wire harness manufacturer. I am not much of a talker at work. I don't seek friendship from others particularly. But all around me feel comfortable coming to me, and I feel the same way with others. At work, you are going to be apart of the team,and they know that. Naturally, everyone is going to accept you as you are.

Besides, many who are really good at something usually isn't good at other things, such as relating to others. I would not worry about what your counselor tells you, too much. If you can post your thoughts on a blog site, then you already have a great communication skill.

Just make sure you do go in to the interview for a position, though. It is a great oporunity to find out the company culture to see if you "fit in", before your first day at work.

Best of luck to you!

YP

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Amia Greaves in United Kingdom

65 months ago

Hey am studing to be a Mechanical engineer and it has to take alot of time and have the best quailtys and, good work at school, mu uncles do Mechanical engineer and i go out and help them so bascily i know about cars, av growen up with cars lol, knowen alot about them :D,
My uncle Owns a garge with nice sweet cars ;):P., But my uncle that has just died, +he used ti doo racing and fix cars and all that stuff and i used to help him:D,
Well Ryt Back To Me:D Thanks

Your Sincerely
Amia Greaves
XxxxXxxxxXxxx

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Amia Greaves in United Kingdom

65 months ago

YP in Monroe, Michigan said: Matt,

I agree with jwtravel. I am an engineer at an auto wire harness manufacturer. I am not much of a talker at work. I don't seek friendship from others particularly. But all around me feel comfortable coming to me, and I feel the same way with others. At work, you are going to be apart of the team,and they know that. Naturally, everyone is going to accept you as you are.

Besides, many who are really good at something usually isn't good at other things, such as relating to others. I would not worry about what your counselor tells you, too much. If you can post your thoughts on a blog site, then you already have a great communication skill.

Just make sure you do go in to the interview for a position, though. It is a great oporunity to find out the company culture to see if you "fit in", before your first day at work.

Best of luck to you!

YP

yeah welll i agree with you, that people has to accept what you are, but you can quite your work if someone is giving you hassle just ignore them or tell you boss lol, well am good to get along with and a good friend, and i always work as a team even if its with my eminems i still have to work as a team, as i said i get along with people at my work and i have the amazing uncles to help me out:D hehe lol,
Av always wanted to me a Machanical Engineer all my life :D,
Well just sayin Hii Matt Lol, Hows Your Work Going?
Well Hope You Ryt Back Soon:D

Your's Sincerely
Amia Greaves
XxxxxxxXxxxxxX

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Amia Greaves in United Kingdom

65 months ago

i ment cant quite you work lol my bad xx

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Matt

64 months ago

Amia Greaves in United Kingdom said:
Well just sayin Hii Matt Lol, Hows Your Work Going?
Well Hope You Ryt Back Soon:D

Your's Sincerely
Amia Greaves
XxxxxxxXxxxxxX

Well, I can't say things are going that well for me. I actually managed to get my MSME this semester. But let's face it. In this economy, NOBODY is hiring. This is a bad time for even a REAL engineering grad to be looking for work, let alone a freak of nature like myself. I even tried calling a couple of places and asked them if I could come in a couple of days a week for a few hours on a volunteer basis just to gain experience. And they basically told me to get lost. In other words, nobody wants me even for FREE. Not a good sign. On the other hand, someone once told me that when this sort of thing happens, those people who rejected me are probably actually doing me a favor. In other words, now that I actually have my master's degree, maybe it is time to put engineering behind me once and for all. Even if it means working in fast food for the rest of my life.

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J.W in Winter Park, Florida

43 months ago

Matt,
I wish there was a way to contact you. I am very inspired by your experience, and would love to find out more. You have put into words what I have been feeling for the last 2 years.

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jugglineer in El Cajon, California

33 months ago

J.W in Winter Park, Florida said: Matt,
I wish there was a way to contact you. I am very inspired by your experience, and would love to find out more. You have put into words what I have been feeling for the last 2 years.

agree

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Sketco in Minsterley, United Kingdom

31 months ago

Well welcome to the club. It's odd. isn't it, to feel this way? You are what Nancy Tappe would have called an Indigo child. Close to the mark she was, but not quite there. A short wick with a fast fuse.

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Marco in Miami, Florida

31 months ago

I know this is an old thread, but once I read it I started to laugh so much. I'm a freshman at FIU and I know exactly what you mean when you are talking about the social aspect of engineering. Luckily, I've found some friends who I mesh with as in they are normal. One thing that definitely bites majoring in mechanical engineering is the lack of women, or good looking women. Especially since the engineering center is off campus. It shouldn't be legal to be away from the beautiful Miami women because of engineering classes. I have an interest in cars as well, so I'm guessing you're wanting to get into the automotive field for engineering? Would you recommend me pursuing that career with the economy?

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UdontKnowMEuNeverSeeMe in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

Matt, I have the same feeling when I was in school, I felt like ET in all my classes, don't see to get their rhythm or their social aspect of things, but once I found my job (ME design job) it seems like everyone on my ME department here is very similar to me, I can get along with them whole day without anyone talking.... So I think I found my group of likelings lol. So don't give up, you just need to find a right group of people.

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Kim in Chicago, Illinois

11 months ago

Matt,

I feel exactly the same way even after school. I got my BSME and now I am 2 years on the field working for power industry. When I was in college, I didn't quite fit with my fellow engineering students. I didn't fit with super nerdy nerds because I don't like either starwars/stargate/startrek or any traditional nerdy sci-fi, I like romantic comedies, and pixar/dreamworks animations. I don't play any video games/arcades/xbox/playstation/wii. Spending my summer break on religiously playing farmville on Facebook is probably closest thing to video game I ever played. I don't read any anime/comics, I read fashion magazines like Vogue, In Style, Cosmopolitan etc.

I didn't really with with "hands on" engineers either, but I went to school in Wisconsin, so my excuse was that these country boys doesn't understand concept of independent woman/woman is equally as smart as men. On top of that I am Asian with foreign accent (I came to states when I was freshman in high school), so I thought I am being feeling left out because I am a woman+colored person+foriegn+big city girl from Chicago was probably combination of 4 worst thing to those country farm "hands on" engineer boys.

On the side note, don't complain about engineering students have lack of girls. I am quite good looking, outgoing, friendly, down to earth girl. Throughout my school years, not even a single engineering boy asked me out, not to mention I went through all of college career without any boyfriend. (I did date lot of non-engineers)

Anyway, fast forward to now, I find myself almost hating my job. The job I do is not hard, but it is awefully detail oriented. Calculations I do is pathetic algebra that 6th graders can do, but I have to look at 3 different screens, use 7 different charts. My brain gets numb, my neck starts to hurt and I spend hours for doing nothing because I don't want to do my miserable job/calculation.

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