That Engineering Life – Story of an Indian Engineer


Last Updated: September 5, 2022
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Life story of a writer

When you’re young, you rarely ever dream about becoming an ‘engineer’. Some want to be a doctor, some want to be a pilot. When I was in Class 6, I wanted to be a swimmer! However, I hailed from a small town called Durgapur, where people preferred choosing the conventional ‘stable’ careers over offbeat ones like swimming. By the time I got to class 10 and had to give my career a more ‘serious’ thought, swimming wasn’t really an option for me. My friends were getting into engineering, medical, law and other traditional career options that provided a ‘stable’ future. My father is an electrical engineer, and it made sense to follow his footsteps. Not that my parents ever forced me to take up engineering. They knew about my varied interests, but didn’t know how to help me turn those into a full-fledged career. They did, however, know enough about engineering and could only guide me down that path. My marks were fairly good, too, and coaching classes pushed me to get better at subjects like Math, Physics and Chemistry. Engineering seemed like a natural choice to me back then.



Beta, Kya Banoge?

Of course, when you’re at the cusp of making a career decision, opinions are handed out like sweets during Diwali. “You should be a journalist,” said some aunts and uncles. “Engineering is the way to go,” others would say. I had so many interests, I couldn’t even begin to decide which one to follow. I liked dancing as much as imitation, snuggling up in a corner and writing as much as participating in sports. Have you ever heard the expression “Jack of all trades, master of none”? That would sum up an enthusiastic 13-year-old me. I wanted to enjoy everything I tried, which is why I made the most of my academic life and put off choosing a career until I got my Class 10 results.

Once the results were out, engineering and medicine seemed like the two most popular choices. Given my interest in computers (as well), I veered towards engineering and began prepping for all the possible entrance exams right away. Think I had a head-start? You’d be surprised to know that some of my batch mates had begun preparing for the entrance exams right from Class 8! It’s important to begin ‘pushing’ yourself to delve deeper into engineering-related subjects right from Class 7, and as I had a natural aptitude for those subjects, it seemed like a great decision at the time.

Engineer Mind

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Ain’t Nothing Like a JEE Thing

Like every other aspiring engineer I knew, I enrolled for a JEE coaching class too. I spent two years after Class 10 dividing my time between studying for junior college and prepping for various entrance exams, just so I would increase my chances of getting into a decent college. I already knew I wasn’t IIT material and my reason for getting into engineering was to get a stable job. Was I passionate about being an engineer? Probably not.

Back when I pursued engineering, we didn’t have a JEE (Joint Entrance Exams) Mains and Advanced. There was the IIT-JEE that I appeared for simply because everyone else was, and the AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Examination) as I wanted to get into one of the NITs (National Institutes of Technology). I also appeared for the KIITEE (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology Entrance Examination) upon a teacher’s recommendation and the VITEEE (Vellore Institute of Technology Engineering Entrance Exam) to boost my chances of admission. I also took the WBJEE (West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination), and each of these exams had its own set of application procedures and rules, and I duly followed them.

When the time came to take the tests, I realised this wasn’t going to be easy. My JEE paper was more of a lucky guess than calculated answers and, needless to say, my results were disappointing. My AIEEE rank wasn’t all that great either, but my WBJEE rank was decent enough to secure me an admission in Jadavpur University, where I chose to study Construction Engineering, a specialisation under Civil Engineering.

Jadavpur University

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That College Life

College life was as good as having a working life. We were in class from 10 to 5:30 and the rest of our time was divided between completing assignments, participating in co-curricular activities and socialising. Ours was a campus of close-knit students who had each other’s backs through good times and bad. My classmates and my seniors had my back on tough assignments, peer problems and just about everything else. My college had some of the finest festivals that were fun to both organise and participate in.

While my social and cocurricular life was thriving, my education was sadly not at par. Some of our professors were not very good at conversing in English, and the lectures were often delivered in a casual mix of Bengali and English. There was absolutely no focus on developing soft skills, a pattern that prevails in engineering institutes across India even today. The results? A bunch of knowledgeable engineering graduates who lack the soft skills to express their talents.

I have no regrets about the years I spent in engineering school. I was given the opportunity to learn, and I was able to pursue my interests through co-curricular activities. As a result, I graduated as a self-sufficient, culturally and socially endowed individual with a good understanding of construction engineering. My interests, on the other hand, remained unfulfilled. A part of me wished to learn more about marketing, media, business management, and advertising, but that was not included in my engineering programme.


College Students

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Looking back, I would have been much better off had I known what to pursue right from the start. I never knew about the options I had until I came across them while working. Like every other engineer in dire need of a job, I pursued an MBA to increase my hiring opportunities, immigration chances and eventual salary package. My current career path has nothing to do with either of these degrees, but I’m clearer than I have been in a long time now, and I’m a lot more aware of the opportunities that lie ahead.

If you’re thinking of pursuing engineering, I only have one thing to ask you – is this really what YOU want to do? Set everything aside for a second – parental expectations, marks, peer choices, society favourites – and think about it. Does being an engineer really interest you? Is this a field YOU are passionate about? Are you willing to dedicate at least six years of your life gaining knowledge about this field and spend the following 30 years pursuing it wholeheartedly? If the answer is a firm, resounding YES, by all means, go for it.

Follow Your Dreams
Shield Dream Wise Saying Hippy Market Wisdom

But if there’s even the slightest doubt in your mind, weigh your options and figure out what you really want to do. Mentoria can help you with that. Know what you want to do and dedicate your life to making it happen. Nothing will make you happier.

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