As a child, when people asked what I wanted to be as an adult, I always said “Happy.” After years of hearing this my parents sat down and asked me “what makes you happy?” We joked about how there isn’t a major for enjoying chocolate or knowing everything about baseball (yet), but then I thought long and hard. The next phrase that came out set me on course for what will be the remainder of my life. “I love helping people,” I said. That is why engineering seemed like a great choice.
Every day an engineer goes to work, he is trying to solve the problems that our world faces today. I wanted a career that I could look myself in the mirror and know that I am leaving the world in a better place than when I found it, whether it be helping solve the energy crisis or designing technology that makes someone’s day easier. As my hero Roberto Clemente once said “Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.”
The obstacles standing in my way seemed insurmountable at times. Engineering is a grueling curriculum, one that advocates hours of studying and collaboration to endure. I was willing to put in the work and study, however, I was stubborn and ashamed when it came to asking for help. It was halfway into my first semester that I realized that I was not the only one struggling and that if I reached out, someone may be there for me. I formed a study group. We attended office hours and helped push each other to try and understand the material. By the end of the semester, I had realized that not only could I handle the work, but that I didn’t need to handle it alone.
To obtain a degree in engineering would signify my growth from someone who was self reliant on their ability and drive to a well-rounded individual who knows their weaknesses and how to address them. The degree will be proof that I am what all engineers have become known as today; a problem solver. It will be the first of many steps I take to helping those who need it and most of all, it will be a symbol of the struggles I endured and the obstacles I overcame to become an engineer.
We are proud to announce Manuel Julio Esteves is one of the current LatPro Scholarship finalists. Vote for his essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.