From the Desk of an Engineer: The ultimate perspective

Clayton Auld/ Sun Star Columnist
January 29, 2012

What type of person do you, dear reader, think of when you hear the word ‘engineer’? Let me tell you what you see. You are visualizing a person in thick glasses sitting behind a desk crunching numbers on a notepad while referring frequently to heavy books and manuals. This person is someone who doesn’t understand the constructs of society or how to relate to people in his or her life, and has difficulty talking in front of a group of people much less to someone who may inquire about their inner most secret desires.

This person deals in numbers, and not in concepts that aren’t based in fact. In short, this person would rather work alone behind a closed door than in a team where, heaven forbid, they might find themselves dealing with confrontation.

Hi, my name is Clayton and I am an engineer, or more accurately an aspiring engineer. I am here to tell you that you are wrong–imagine the audacity of an engineer to tell you that. As an engineer it is necessary, I would say imperative, that I learn the skills it takes to relate to society and communicate with others because if it weren’t for people and their differing needs I would not have a job. I can “engineer” to my heart’s content, but if I don’t have someone to show it to or use my designs what purpose would that serve? Well, I guess it means I would have a smaller ego because of the fact that I’m the only one who can truly appreciate what I’m capable of doing.

As fellow students of this great university, you may have noticed that this place seems overrun with engineers. There are petroleum engineers, the ones who think that oil is truly the only thing that keeps this world turning; electrical engineers, the ones who have the largest egos and think they are the very pinnacle of “elite” mechanical engineers, the ones who can’t make it as electrical engineers and in turn fall back to the next best thing; civil engineers, the ones who spend all their time playing with dirt and many more obscure types.

Obviously I find myself among the “pinnacle of elite.” The fact that I am of a higher class than the typical undergrad is often played off as a poor attempt at a joke, but that thought presents itself often enough that it has become ingrained into my very soul. Each engineer feels that he or she is crucial to keeping this poor planet of ours in orbit, and without them things would just fall apart. I pity the liberal arts student who tries to explain to the engineer how the liberal arts are in fact more important to society than engineers.

Engineers are proud people. Do not even think about insulting them. You can never dream of understanding the work they do. Heaven forbid if you should ask what they are working on. Trust me, you do not want them to start explaining. You will find yourself listening to a long discourse on a topic for which you couldn’t care less.

As a new writer in the Sun Star I would like to hear from you! If you have any questions for an engineer and would like a unique perspective please email them to I may even give you a serious and well-contemplated answer if I, in my supreme knowledge, deem it as a topic of interest. Until next time, enjoy the beginning of your spring semester!

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2 Responses

  1. Chris Young says:

    As a Computer Science major I find it highly offensive that people in the sciences and engineering feel fit to look down on others for their choice of major.

    The world is bigger than mathematics, the sciences, or engineering, none of which would be around if it weren’t for the business people to market it or the liberal arts majors to buy the products.

    Everyone in this world plays a role. Maybe we all can’t understand the complexities of higher level math and how to apply it, but it doesn’t make us any less valuable as people.

  2. Chelsea Pardo says:

    Of all the bad news/columns the Sun Star publishes this actually might be the worst.

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