As a second semester senior, I’m hoping to stay afloat.
In all seriousness, the past couple of weeks have been very difficult with balancing school (predominantly senior design and advanced product design) and part-time work (I intern at LASP), in addition to trying to be a functional human being. It’s been difficult to be exposed to so many awesome engineering opportunities through classes and work this semester, but needed to balance them all rather than committing as much time to each as they deserve. I’ve enjoyed seeing a variety of different engineering tasks and roles, from structural/mechanical designer, to mechanism designer, to systems engineer, to product designer. No role is easier than another, and I’m not entirely sure where I want to go from here in the long run.
As I mentioned in my skill set post, I’m pursuing the “design track” master’s program at CU, where I hope to learn more about approaching and tackling real-world design problems from start to finish. I’m really excited about this program because it seems to emphasize creation, pretotyping, prototyping, and lots of testing/evaluation. Through classes like this I’ve learned how much fun it is to be very hands-on with projects, and getting to participate in design, analysis, fabrication, assembly, and testing phases of a project. I recognize that few mechanical engineers actually get to experience these phases regularly, and I hope to find an engineering job which encourages this participation.
Regarding a “first job,” I’m pretty lucky to have had a few internships where I got my feet wet with some different engineering options. These have both been related to aerospace, which I’ve always found interesting, but I’m not sure if I want to pursue this industry in the future. I’d really like to focus on a career which emphasizes creativity and problems which are accessible to a greater number of people than some of the obscure reaches of the aerospace field. I think it would be really fun and fulfilling to work for a smaller engineering firm, which designs a variety of products and solutions.