I’ve been heavily involved in my FIRST teams since the 2001 season (my freshman year of high school). I participated on team 93 in high school … last year I mentored team 857, and this year I’m mentoring 857 again and started a new local team, team 2153. I would say yes, I am a FIRST fanatic.
A FIRST fanatic who never had any desire to be an engineer. There. I said it.
I go to Michigan Technological University. I came to school here because I thought I wanted to be an engineer. My teachers, mentors and friends told me I should be an engineer because, duh, I was in FIRST! I could build robots! What more is there to do? … I got up to MTU and realized I’m no good at math, I hate physics and I really didn’t want to be an engineer. Of course, it took a few changes of major and quite a few wasted credit hours to reach this decision. My (final, for real) major is in Secondary English Education with a minor in Earth Sciences and a teaching certificate in Spanish (or maybe German; I have a year to decide yet).
I know - you’re thinking, “You do FIRST … and you’re going to be an English teacher?” Let me explain.
I actually came to the decision that I wanted to be an English teacher by mentoring 857. Really, it was like something just clicked one day and I said, “Wait, I don’t want to be an engineer. But I love doing FIRST. Why do I like FIRST? I really enjoy working and interacting with the high school students. Working with them and teaching them things is really, really cool. I should be a teacher. And I’m good at English. Like, really. So maybe I should be an English teacher!” and the rest is, as they say, history.
So, to wrap this all up. Influences can be really, really good. But don’t let them decide your life for you, especially when it comes to your education and career. Echoing what others have said in this post, you need to get an education in what you want to do, in what you’re passionate about. Can you see yourself engineering for the rest of your life? Will you enjoy that? Or would you rather engage in political science as a major and career? My parents told me from the beginning I should major in journalism, or English education, or something along those lines. I didn’t listen to them, I listened to my friends instead. Turns out my parents were right and my friends were wrong. In fact, when I told my parents I was switching my major, my dad said, “we were wondering when you would figure that out!”
If you’re truly torn between the two, one thing I would suggest is to declare your major as “General Education” and take a few introduction courses to engineering, political science, and maybe a few courses in a different direction (history, journalism, physics, whatever). This will give you some insight into how the rest of the courses relating to that major will go, and aid in your decision about your major.