If you are an eightees kid, then the only dream that your parents would have had is to watch you grow up to be a doctor or an engineer. And if you come from a lower middle class family, the only option you have is to pursue engineering as medical fees are not for the faint hearted. Back then in the early 2000s, engineering was considered so big thanks to recent IT boom. Other fields like arts and commerce were for those who barely managed to scored. Engineering was meant only for the creme de la creme, as it was considered to be very tough to even get a seat, let alone study it. Today, social media is the new rage and we have digital marketeers, designers, influencers etc. Back then, these were alien terms. And unless and until you were an engineer or studying to be one, you were looked down upon.
2004 was the year for me to start graduation. Since 2002 I was preparing to get a free engineering seat. I was a pretty good student so I was not the one to sit and study morning, noon and night. My parents knew that so they never pressurized me to study all the time. I know of a few parents who used to lock their kids up in their rooms so that they could only study and be free of distractions. I went out and met my friends and enjoyed life along with studying. Finally after two whole years, the results were out and I had managed to score a pretty good score. This even got me a free engineering seat in one of the best colleges of Bangalore. This college was a stone throw away from where I stayed, so I thought it was a win win in every possible way.
It wasn't! Four years of studying a hundred subjects is nothing less than torture. I was in the telecom branch, so I thought it would be really interesting. The first year is common for all the branches and you learn stuff that you clearly will not be using anywhere in your life. I remember learning mechanical workshop stuff and soldering and filing metal. I learnt how to measure the exact height of a building from a distance as part of civil engineering. I learnt to draw a million weird shapes from all angles as part of graphics and learnt to add and multiple two or more numbers using micro chips. These were not the only things that I learnt. There was theory classes and hours of practical classes where you write ten pages of code to see a tiny curve on the CRT monitor.
And yet I did it all. At that point of time I did not know that I would never be using any of these learnings ever in my life. The only subject that I enjoyed was my main subject, telecommunications. I learnt about the origin of the telephone and the signals, various call flows and how routing works etc etc. It was realistic and for a realist like me, this held my attention the most. Soon, four years were done and I had a job in hand even before I passed out. Campus placements were another added tension during engineering. You carry the burden of hope on your shoulders until a company decides to offer you a job. And then you finally see your parents smile.
When I joined my company, I was put in to a telecom project. So all that I learnt as part of engineering, could I apply it here? NO! What you are taught for four whole years have nothing to do with what you will end up working on. Those bloody graphs and images would mean nothing to you once you pass out. You are taught new things and soon all that your studied will cease to exist in your mind. All those examinations and practical classes and the sweat and the tensions will suddenly not make any sense at all. After a few years, I moved into a core telecom project where I could relate to about 0.1% of what I had studied as part of my telecom subject. Everything else were just steps to help me get a degree and a job in return.
I know the world is filled with more engineers than humans. So if you are one too, please do share your experience.