This is a guest post from Carmen Parisi of Fake EE Quips, a man of many hats. An engineer by day and blogger by night, he also considers himself an amateur connoisseur of craft beer, coffee, and toasted sandwiches. Recently, he moved down to Raleigh, NC and is experiencing his first winter sans snow.
I’m the sort of person who will analyze–and possibly over analyze–damn near anything. I’m forever asking “Why?” and searching for answers. Whether I’m discussing traffic patterns on my way to work, a circuit problem, or pondering the cosmos, once I latch onto a subject I typically pursue it until I find an answer that satisfies my curiosity. My natural curiosity is something of a double edged-sword however; on one hand it doesn’t take much to entertain me and I feel I’m well rounded. On the other hand, I can get stuck on a topic and become “that guy” at a party who won’t just let something go. Hats off to my girlfriend for bringing me back down to Earth in those situations.
What does any of this have to do with engineering, you ask? In my experience, you have to be very intrinsically motivated to pursue engineering and stick with it. I’ve watched a few people jump ship from engineering while in school. They either lack the ability to motivate themselves, are in engineering for the money, or some other trivial reason. Having such natural curiosity about the world around me has been a huge asset over the course of school and my budding career; I can definitively say it motivates me as an engineer. Without it, school would have been much harder to deal with. Putting in long hours studying while other majors seemed as though they barely had to put forth any effort would have driven me insane. I also wouldn’t be able to deal with all the extra baggage that comes along with working as an engineer (as Frautech mentioned last week) without staying curious about everything around me.
Another thing that keeps me going is being able to sit down in the lab and experience that “Eureka!” moment; you know, where everything just clicks? When I’m able to clearly see the connection between my circuit’s operation and the theory behind it, the feeling is indescribable. Moments like those and the rush that goes with them are the perfect conclusion to my curiosity. Remembering that feeling really helps when I’m on a project that seems to involve everything but engineering. Sure, having a functional project is rewarding and I strive to make all my projects successful; but at the end of the day, I’m really only in it for the learning and those “Eureka” moments. It’s simply my desire to peek behind the curtain and gain some insight into the many complexities of the world, nothing more.
While expressing all my feelings in print for this post was tricky, there was a recent Abstruse Goose comic that I feel summarizes my thoughts quite nicely (be sure to read the alt-text too). Check it out and let us know if and when you’ve ever felt that “Eureka” moment.