Sunday, October 24, 2010

Perceptions of engineering

It always surprises me when I hear comments on my being a woman in engineering, because they always come from students outside of engineering. Inside the faculty, it's understood that I'm here because I love what I'm learning, and I work hard to do so - just like every other student, no difference. However, in the courses I've taken for my minor, I've started up many conversations with the usual chit-chat of what year, what program, etc. These are the times that I hear "Wow, that sounds really hard!" and - more baffling to me - "There aren't many women in engineering, are there?". I've never really figured out why people think that that's an appropriate response, and it usually throws me for a loop because it's not an issue in my engineering classes.

Why am I telling you this? Not to complain about non-engineers, don't get me wrong. What I'm trying to tell you is this: with university applications beginning soon (if not already), you're going to have a lot of friends, family, and classmates asking you what your program choices are. If you're reading this, there's a pretty high chance engineering is on your mind! There's also a pretty high chance you're going to hear a lot of the same comments that I've heard. Don't be scared off by what other people have to say. If you're worried about the workload: yes, engineering is challenging. If you're a potential 'femgineer', don't let irrelevant comments deter you. In both cases, if you love learning about scientific principles and how to apply them, that's what you need. The eng students work together and support each other, and for anyone else who doesn't get it - well, it's a chance for you to explain it so that they do!

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