Growing up, I always loved science and math. When those two classes combined in my high school physics course, I decided to major in engineering. Though I wasn’t sure what being an engineer would specifically entail in the professional world, I knew that my many interests (math, physics, science, tech, Boeing’s newest jet, epic LEGO Star Wars sets, etc…) put me in a place where studying to become an engineer made sense.
What I hadn’t accounted for was my development into a full extrovert. I love people. I love hearing stories about where they’ve been and where they come from, what they do and how they got there, meeting new people, working with people…you get the idea.
Stereotypically, engineers are not known as “social butterflies.” My love for people has sometimes made me unsure whether I’d picked the right major during college. I’m happy to say that my experience at McKinstry has shifted me back toward confidence in myself and my future career.
Working with my supervisor to understand the equipment and systems we handle as mechanical design engineers helped transform three years of homework and exams into something practical, not just theoretical. I learned how those drawings, cycles, graphs and equations can be fun when I see them working in front of me.
Seeing the knowledge I’d gained through work and school manifested in the engineering projects I worked on at McKinstry was incredibly rewarding; I like that feeling of a tangible result and success. I hope that’s a feeling that will always be in front of me, no matter where my career path takes me.
Though seeing a physical result of a project was a good feeling to learn from, McKinstry’s office culture and people helped shaped the future of my career even more. I was worried that pursuing a career in engineering could get me stuck alone in a cubicle where I’d grind 8-5 every day and then go home, but I no longer have that worry. Interaction with people is a core part of being an engineer, and everyone I talked with was friendly, helpful and genuinely enjoyed being around each other.
By the last week of my internship, I could tell you about the interests, personalities and maybe even families of most of the people I worked with. My supervisor’s wife even packed me leftovers for lunch! During my interview, I asked why the team enjoyed working here. One of them mentioned the work-life balance ingrained in McKinstry culture. Now I can say that’s my favorite part of working here as well.
So, now that I have a better sense of my future in engineering, where do I see myself in five years? To be honest, I couldn’t give you a straight answer. The opportunities are endless, and I am open to even the ones I don’t know about yet. Even if I projected for you my career path in five years, chances are that it will be unintentionally modified by this thing called life. I still don’t know for certain if I will end up working in mechanical design or as an engineer.
What I do know now is that I want to join a workplace culture like McKinstry’s—where people care for each other, the shared community holds itself up and people realize that life is more than just work. This post marks the end of my time here, but I’m thankful to McKinstry for teaching me how to be a better engineer and showing me a workplace that feels like home.