What to do…
I am currently 21 years old taking mechanical engineering at Texas A&M. Engineering is definitely the field to be in right now. We just had an engineering career fair, and plenty of companies are hiring. The hiring numbers are down from last year, but at least they are hiring. Engineering is a field that will always be needed. For some reason we have put a large value on lawyers and bankers, but at the end of the day it is engineers who actually solve technical problems.
I’m not sure if you have looked at other engineering disciplines, but I would recommend mechanical or petroleum, as they are hiring the most right now. My friend is about to graduate in civil engineering and the only people hiring civil engineers are the oil and natural gas companies. If you do go engineering, I would recommend taking as many co-op/internships as possible. There is no telling where our economy will be when you graduate, so gain some experience and make a little money while in school.
Since we are adding philosophies of life
Always try and surround yourself with positive, supportive people with like interests. Surrounding yourself with people that are negative all the time, tell you you can’t do this or that or generally pessimistic about everything in the world are like life sucking vampires, and they will bring you down with them. Positive people will always give you advice, but believe in you as well. This applies to colleges, friends, family or anyone. You would be amazed how positive like minded people can make you life better. These are the people who accept you for who you are, not what you have. You can’t avoid negative people entirely, but you can try to control your exposure to them.
Believe in what you do. The greatest thing you can do is find something that makes a good or great living that you love. Too many people are forced into careers they hate, then get trapped with the hooks of life, like credit or whatever.
Realize that over life, the greatest power is time and not money. If you can control your time you are the richest person in the world. You can make all the money you want, but if you don’t have time to enjoy life, children, travel or simply having the time to enjoy your personal interests, you are simply a slave like the rest. It’s a difficult balance in life to do what you need to do as well as enjoy life and have the time to do that as well.
Give something back. If everyone spent just a little time helping the community, helping the handicapped, working with kids as a mentor or whatever interests you, the world would be a much better place, and it makes you feel good as well.
Don’t hide your knowledge, share it. Too many people spend a lot of energy protecting what they have learned because they are insecure about losing a job or status or the other negatives that are just not good karma. If you are confident and good or great at what you do, then share it and make colleagues or friends better and more productive by teaching them to be stronger. If you are not so good, then find the people to make you better. BUT if they are negative people, don’t waste your time regardless of job or situation. The only time this is a problem is when it’s YOUR business, then you need to root out the negative people because they will do nothing but be hidden destructive forces in your company, and possibly you.
Don’t fall into the typical trappings of life. Be different and special. Make major decisions with care, like marriage or kids, major financial decisions or changes in life. Do this when you are really ready, not when you are poorly prepared. This is not the popular path in our distorted society, and you will get resistance from many people, but later in life they and you will see you did the right thing.
Don’t fall into the typical consumer trappings of life. Get what you need and maybe a little more, but don’t get excessive. Having a great expensive car, a house that’s too big for your needs, or a $10k flat screen is not what you should be chasing. Get what you need and keep your world footprint smaller. Let everyone else chase the tiger or the Brass ring because eventually it will destroy them. Keep your finances secure and keep your life secure. Besides, all the shiny things attract the worst people who just want something out of you and not just you. It seems the more you get rich, the more you collect or have, and the flashier you get, the worst people are attracted to you like magnets to metal. The most miserable, divorced, no contact with kids and horrible people I have met in my life are the richest ones I have met in my life.
When you are ready to have children, make sure your ready. Children should be planned and not accidents that you need to adapt your life to. They are the most important things you will do, and they are truly the future. Share your life with your kids, and let them share experiences with you, but have time for them because they will need this. Be a parent but be a friend as well. Have fun doing things you like together. Too many families need to have both parents work, and the kids are the ones that suffer from this the most. It’s a condition that has been forced on us by society, and it needs to be recognized and corrected.
Free time=Less worry=less stress=happy life
My random thoughts:
- The safest jobs will be those that are least dependent upon oil and the infrastructure it has enabled.
- Think of what people did for a living before the age of cheap oil and fossil fuels, and choose on of those vocations (i.e. shoemaker, herbalist, farmer, carpenter, etc.).
- In the foreseeable future there will also be many opportunities in permaculture design, green tech & building, renewable energy infrastructure, and any industry involved in transitioning away from fossil fuels.
- Choose a job that doesn’t require you to live in a large, densely populated city.
- Economy and employment will shift from the multinational conglomerate to the local, cottage-based industry. Choose something that doesn’t require enormous amounts of infrastructure to support it.
- Choose something that will always be in high demand, no matter what is happening with the economy. See bullet #2.
- Choose something that will give you enough free time to grow vegetables, raise chickens, spend time with your loved ones, take care of your home and land, and do everything you’ll need to do in the future to ensure a healthy, secure life.
Wow. It sure has been a while. I’m not sure why I stopped reading these forums, must have gotten too busy or something. Anyway, it was great to go back and see all of the replies I’ve gotten. I’m not sure if I’ve followed all of your advice without seeing it; however, I have followed some! Since my original post, lots of things have happened. I guess I should update all you helpful people now.
- I am now entering my Junior year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My major is still Civil Engineering. I have almost decided upon a primary focus of Transportation Engineering, a secondary in Construction Management, and an honors focus in Sustainable Engineering.
- I’m spending my summers taking more classes and making some $$$.
- I have a very good base of friends who are positive and think like me.
Just a heads-up to those who said that my post was "refreshing" and that it was good to see an 18 y.o. NOT just chasing girls: Many people my age think the same way I do. Those who have been lucky enough to have an excellent education know of the real situation of the country, and are getting worth while degrees.
I recomend mechanical and civil, you can choose one from them. They are best and ever demended.