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  • Writer's pictureAmba Brown

How High School Students Can Further their Engineering Passion

If you’re a prospective college student with a knack for tinkering, you’re in luck.

In today’s technology-laced economy, the demand for engineers has never been higher, as companies are doing all they can to add young, innovative people to their staff.

There are several ways that you, as a student in high school, can develop your passion and use it in the future.

Whether you just want to play around with gadgets or become a professional, here are a few ways you can grow as an engineer, even while you’re still in high school.

Check Out Your Library

You may not have a car to drive to the store or money to buy the things in it, but books don’t have to cost you a thing except time.

Libraries, whether it’s the one down the street or the one at your school, are a great way to obtain knowledge, because:

  • A library card is free

  • You can check out several books at a time

  • You can put holds on books you plan to read in the future

  • Checking out books is free, as long as they are returned on time

In addition to the book selection, libraries have a host of other resources for use, including:

  • Computers

  • Media, such as DVD’s and tapes

  • Public events

If you want to learn more about engineering, consider staying after school or traveling to a library near you.

Surf the Web

Since you’ve arrived at this page, you probably already know that there’s a wealth of information to be found online.

There are several sources you can use to get ideas, experiment, or simply broaden your engineering knowledge. They include:

  • Wikipedia

  • YouTube

  • MIT OpenCourseWare

  • Sites specifically dedicated to engineering

These sites have tons of content on them dedicated to helping budding engineers like yourself discover the things they love.

If you have your own computer, you might find you enjoy looking through these things in your free time.

If you don’t have your own computer, remember that your local library probably has one for you to use.

Take the Right Classes

More than likely, your school allows you to have some influence on what your course schedule looks like.

Many classes are offered at the high school level that directly apply to engineering. A few of these might be:

Some schools might even have a specific engineering class, which would obviously be something worth having a look at.

You already have to spend a bunch of time in school, so why not spend it working towards the thing you love?

Make the most of the opportunities your school is giving you.

Ask About Joining a Club

Extra-curricular activities are one of the best resources available for high school students.

The subject matter can encompass things that normal classes don’t or can focus more intensely on specific parts of classes you like.

Other advantages of after school clubs include:

  • An environment that allows you to work at your own pace

  • No “passing” or “failing,” meaning a less pressured, more fun atmosphere

  • Hands-on experience, such as building your own contraptions

  • Being surrounded by people who share your passion

  • Smaller groups, meaning your club’s supervisor can spend more one-on-one time with you

Some clubs also have competitions, which offer a way for you to challenge yourself while having fun. Some things might cost money, like:

  • Club fees

  • Materials

  • Travel to and from events

However, if you are truly passionate about engineering, the experience will be worth every penny.

Ask your friends and teachers if there’s an engineering club you can be a part of, and if there isn’t one, why not make your own?

Try It for Yourself

There is no substitute for hands-on experience when it comes to learning new things.

All the books, videos, and lessons in the world pale in comparison.

It is important for you to know what engineering feels like – not just what it is.

Even if there is no club to join at your school, you can still get some field time. Things you can do include:

  • Building simple robots

  • Computer programming

  • Helping your parents build furniture and/or install appliances

  • Assisting with vehicle maintenance

Of course, some of these activities can be hazardous, so it is important that you do them with appropriate supervision.

Not only can these activities be fun, but their products can prove useful as well – and engineering is all about pragmatism.

Conclusion: Becoming a Better Engineer

Whether you just enjoy the discipline or wish to make it your career, there is ample opportunity for you to develop your engineering passion in high school. You might:

  • Discover a specific branch of engineering that you like more than the others

  • Find out about new disciplines that you didn’t know existed before

  • Realize that you actually don’t enjoy engineering as much as you thought you did

No matter what, trying new things and gaining experience can only help you. You have all the time in the world right now, so use it wisely and find whatever it is that makes you happy.

Written by JASON PATEL, Former Career Ambassador at the George Washington University and Founder, Transizion.

1 Comment

Oct 03, 2019

Engineering is a career for smart and innovative minds. I recently read an article about how curiosity can help your engineering career:

As an engineer myself I really recommend the tips you've mentioned and the tips listed above.

Thank You.

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