"DON’T OBSESS OVER PRESTIGE. Fields like civil engineering and architecture don’t necessarily need high level degrees from big name colleges to get good jobs."
My career roadmap has been somewhat defined.
Math was always the subject that came relatively easily to me, and I assumed from an early age I would go towards something in STEM. Still, I hoped for a job that somehow combined what I liked, arts and crafts, with what I was good at, math and logic.
People talk about “passions” that lead them to their “perfect major”, but nothing really stood out to me as something I would want to make a living out of (maybe except sleeping). I liked crafts but I wasn’t particularly creative. I was good at math but it was often boring.
The first major I seriously considered was Architecture because it looked like a practical application of a really big craft. But then I realized Architecture is practically an art major, and I didn’t think I had the artistic talent to succeed.
Still, the idea of real-life crafts through construction and structures appealed to me. I started looking for related jobs that played more to my practical and logically inclined brain. I went from architecture, to architectural (structural) engineering, to civil engineering. I also looked into construction management and urban planning.
Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
I took all the math class, starting from trigonometry, and even took differential equations over the summer after Junior year so that I could complete the sequence.
DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER
Currently waiting to step foot on campus!
What I'm currently doing/hope to do
Somehow, I got accepted into Berkeley, one of the best civil engineering programs in the country, and I’m taking the opportunity. As of now, I’m thinking of pursuing civil engineering for city planning (probably going for an emphasis in transportation or structural engineering and maybe a minor in city and regional planning), but I’m also open to the possibility of changing my path as I learn more about the realities of the field. I don’t know what exactly I’d do after a B.A. in civil engineering, but whether it be working for the government, a private firm, or going for my M.A. (ew more school), I think I’ll figure it out when I get there. One step at a time, right?
How to maximize my time in high school?
Advice #1: DO ALL THE MATH. It’s a lot easier to get the good grades at COC, and even if you decide to take it again at the university as a “refresher,” you want to save your GPA for those really really hard classes later.
Advice #2: TRY A PHYSICS CLASS. It’s obviously really important for engineering and it’s a good insight into more about what studying is required for the major.
Advice #3: CHECK COLLEGES’ MAJOR CURRICULUMS. Once you have a major generally chosen, check the graduation requirements for some of the schools you’re considering and see what classes you can and cannot transfer from COC. I followed IGETC, and I’m finding out that UCB’s engineering does not really use IGETC and I took several classes that I didn’t need at all (ie GEOL103, CHEM151).
Advice #4: DON’T OBSESS OVER PRESTIGE. Fields like civil engineering and architecture don’t necessarily need high level degrees from big name colleges to get good jobs. These are fields where experience in the field is greatly valued, so it’s good to look for schools that are recognized by the specific industry and will give you the best chance at job placement. Schools like Cal Poly SLO are super underrated, so don’t dismiss them easily.