What Engineering has taught me
Sitting amidst the empty room, surrounded by baggage and supplies that fateful mid-summer evening, tears almost glistened my eyes. I had felt a rush of emotions – fear, hesitation, slight sadness & uncertainty, as my parents had driven out of the building campus earlier that day. And now, I was almost panicked at the thought of spending four complete years like the current moment. What a daunting moment was that! But life, and engineering, had something planned, which was beyond my expectations. Little did I know that I was in for some of the most eventful days of my life.
My overwhelming chain of thoughts was broken by a friendly question from one of my flat mates. “Let’s head to have tea?”, she offered. Despite never having had tea in my life, I coyly mustered, ” Yeah, sure”. We headed out to explore the sprawling campus, basking in the warmth of tea and tonne of chit-chat. This soon converted into a diligent habit, a routine. Come what may, the five of us in my flat would always find each other at the end of the day. Always gathered to summarised and contemplate at the end of the day. Words cannot describe how much I valued my co-habitants, my family, away from home.
The pursuit of engineering was to bring-in many firsts of my life. Have you ever experienced a moment in your life when you can say, “This is where the rest of my life begins”? To me, that scary evening was just that. The taste of self-dependence was sweet and long-lasting. It added a beautiful streak of confidence in myself.
Between sketching the correct solutions to Engineering Drawing problems and scratching my head over Mechanics numerical questions, many evenings were blissfully spent. Chemistry formulae and equations simplified. Programming codes were traversed, in between sips of coffee and handfuls of snacks. So often, an overwhelming Math problem was partially solved just upon the shared perspectives of the question.
Friends and mates became essentials, a part of life I’d felt unfortunate about in pre-engineering days. Now that I look back, I took many venturing steps in my undergraduate life, simply because my squad was right beside. Thanks to friendly encouragement, I became the class representative of my batch, contested and won the College chapter presidentship of a technical association, volunteered a TEDx event and held the section Editorship in the College magazine. As an introvert, that’s nothing short of a feat.
One particular evening, after a heated discussion over a difference in opinion, my immediate roommate just lifted her head off the pillow and exclaimed, ” You can rightfully call me out for help at any hour of the clock!”. I feel my eyes wetting even as I recall the moment.
As years passed by, failures and success were met in personal, vocational and extracurricular fronts. But each moment was made special by the people around. While older friends bid adieu and newer friends came along, the circle only grew stronger. I can claim today, I hold a treasure-chest of cherished interactions spanning the length of my Engineering course.
I could tell you that the greatest learning that Engineering imparted to me was a specific technology, technique, or skill. And there are many to name, among seemingly endless hours of Analog and Digital communications lectures, Signalling and Systems lectures or Electromagnetism numerical. But there was something bigger, more profound. As per the longest Harvard study, quality human interactions are the key to happiness. The finesse of one’s human relations is directly proportional to the degree of contentment one tastes. The four years long course nourished me with the warmth of fine human relationships. And that is the biggest learning through Engineering for me.