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  #46   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-24-2006, 07:50 AM
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Greg Needel Greg Needel is offline
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Re: The promise of college for our generation

Quote:
Originally Posted by JVN
You've been very dismissive of higher education in your last few posts, but I'm willing to bet that if you want to become an engineer, your future employer will care a lot more about your integral solving abilities, than your abilities as a car mechanic.

Practical knowledge is great, FIRST gives us gobs of it, but unless you put your nose down and learn the theory stuff, you're not going to be any use to anyone as an engineer. We always need to know "why".

-JV

John,
I completely agree that theory definitely is very important, you can't be a good designer/engineer unless you can determine mathematically that something will work or fail before there is alot of money invested the prototype/production line. That being said there is also quite alot of usefulness in knowing manufacturing processes and the "hands on" side of things. The truth of the matter is that you need to have a good balance of both. If you are strictly theoretical and design an "amazingearthchanging thingy" but it can't be built what is the point? On that same note you can't pretend that you are an engineer if you are just a glorified machinist. Learn the theory in the classroom and pick up the practical through clubs (FIRST, mini Baja, SAE). IMO you really need the scale balanced in the middle instead of heavy on one side of the equation.

Greg
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  #47   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-24-2006, 03:45 PM
Ken Leung's Avatar Unsung FIRST Hero
Ken Leung Ken Leung is offline
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Re: The promise of college for our generation

As we are drawing to toward the end of this discussion, I want to thank all of you for your input.

Although I had to take a particular strong stand for the sake of discussion, a lot of it does reflect my true feeling about our education system. Part of my position came from the fact that ever since I've return to college after a long break, I've gained a new found appreciation of school. Unfortunately I’ve felt a bit lonely with my passion of learning because a lot of students around me do not share my passion. At times I find it more enjoyable sitting home reading about the structure of scientific revolution, or Descartes' meditation, or contemporary Chinese history.

College is hard for a lot of people. It should be hard because otherwise it doesn't mean anything. A while ago we debated the title of “engineer” because some believe anyone can be an “engineer” as long as “engineering” is what you do, while others believe you have to have a degree. I don’t want to revive that debate, although I do want to reiterate my opinion that it should be hard for people, otherwise it doesn’t mean anything.

Part of going to college is learning to think beyond the box you learned to put the world in when you were small, part of it is exposing yourself to people who do care about getting a higher education and doing something with it after they graduate, and part of it is a test, a training section to prepare you for adulthood.

Success in college can mean many things to many people, and what I was hoping to accomplish with this discussion was to bring some of those points of view out for the rest of you to see. I hope that after this discussion, some of you will realize that you are about to begin a very difficult journey, one where success isn't guaranteed, that is unless success is what you really want.


But surely "difficult" isn't going to stop any of you from trying, right? Good, because it's not stopping me from trying neither. I came back to college because of a dream, and I am not going to stop until I reach it.


Thank you for all of your input. Good luck to those of you competing in this week's Championship Event, and I hope to chat with you guys again about college, about decision, and our future.
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