Sunday, May 12, 2013

Reactions I get...

... when people find out I'm an engineer (courtesy of a business trip to Vegas, where I heard some of these.)

  1. Blank stare *blink**blink*
  2. "You mean like, train engineer? Or radio?" Really? Really???
  3. "You must like math." Uh, not really.
  4. "You must be smart." Uhmmmmm...
  5. "What kind?" Usually from other engineers or people related to engineers. Sometimes to check if I'm telling the truth. There are people who claim to be engineers who aren't.
  6. You don't look like an engineer. Why? Because I know how to comb my hair (sometimes?)
  7. "What's an engineer?" WTF?
3 and 4 make me laugh the hardest. Confession: I never liked math, except for Geometry. I'm an English and Art girl all the way. But Physics really fascinated me in high school thanks to dynamic teachers who made things like calculating the velocity of a baby's projectile vomit for extra credit fun.

Math is a tool, just like the alphabet. It might come more intuitively for some than others, but, in the end... it's a tool like anything else.

And since I'm a bit clumsy, math was like a hammer I kept slamming onto my thumb.

It didn't come intuitively for me, and while some of my friends were breezing through Differential Equations and Matrix Methods in college, I was editing their liberal arts papers in exchange for tutoring. And while I now refuse to derive equations from scratch (who does that?,) I love the magic that comes from brainstorming and designing something from scratch... and holding the first prototype in my hands. It's a worthwhile trade-off to all the calculations I may have to make.

What tool did you have to "master" even if you didn't love it?

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