Why Study Engineering Online – by J. Kansei
Kansei writes about his life experiences in an attempt to explain how engineering can be studied online.
Way back when I was still in school, I realized that 12 years of 'education' without any practical life experience for such a long time meant no real learning. If anything, it increased ignorance. My class-fellows at school never read newspapers, nor did they achieve anything valuable in their school years. Loading yourself with information that had no direct practical knowledge was a concept that did not make any sense to me - even then.
In order to fill that gap, I adjusted my classes in school such that I saved two hours from school every day, and, I got a real job. They trained me how to be a phlebotomist (it's a minor skill that doesn't require any certification); so I spent every day after school withdrawing blood samples, and on occasion, injecting vaccines. I did this for two years, managing my routine well with rather 'full' days. At the end of it, however, I burnt out. I had my final exams in a month, so I left my job to focus on my studies in order to graduate from high school. I wouldn't say I aced my exams because 'aced' means different standards for different people, but I remember you could spot a few A's and that was good enough for me to move on.
After completing numerous job experiences (9 years by now, if summed up) and going through various diplomas and certificates over those years, I treaded upon the engineering side. I got into our own state university that was good for engineering while also finishing three 1-year contracts with a well-known multinational shipping company (that I cannot name for obvious reasons), side by side.
They appointed me as a manager for a deep-water drilling project that required me to relocate to a ship in the middle of the Atlantic, and I could not access my university any more. I was lucky though, as I was able to transfer credits to an online institution and complete my degree while living on a ship – we had satellite Internet. The ship was connected to a floating oil rig where I could observe almost any engineering phenomenon that I learnt in my textbooks, so everything I learnt in school felt much more relevant and I was able to explore practical applications.
Now when I go back home in two months, I plan to apply to universities for an MBA program and see what happens next in my life. I also have two job interviews, and one job offer in a consultancy - they were kind enough to conduct their interviews via Skype.
Both the interviews are with engineering companies though, so there are chances that I stick to studying engineering - although I must say that a job that requires management skills in an office environment wouldn't be too bad for a few years. I usually choose the job that recognizes the fact that I manage studies and work side by side - and I choose institutes (after they choose me, of course, and if I even have a choice!) based on their ability to have flexible timings for classes.
Technology has progressed to the point where everyone can be lazy but we should aim to have 'full' days, so that we make the most out of every day, and hence make the most out of our life. Even if I have a very demanding job that does not allow me the time to go to campus every day, I can always join an online institute to further complement my career with some education – just how, if you have a very demanding student life, you can get a virtual job. Since I have experienced both states, I thought I should share my experience with the MUST community – I hope you understand now why I studied for an engineering degree online – and why it is not a bad idea to study engineering online.