“Someday you’ll find the right person, and you’ll learn to have a lot more confidence in yourself. That’s what I think. So don’t settle for anything less. In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount”—Haruki Murakami (via unfreshed)
“But your best friend is still your best friend. Even from half a world away. Distance can’t sever that connection. Best friends are the kind of people who can survive anything. And when best friends see each other again, after being separated by half a world and more miles than you think you can bear, you pick up right where you left off. After all, that’s what best friends do.”—(via scumburg)
“The fact that you’re struggling doesn’t make you a burden. It doesn’t make you unloveable or undesirable or undeserving of care. It doesn’t make you too much or too sensitive or too needy. It makes you human. Everyone struggles. Everyone has a difficult time coping, and at times, we all fall apart. During these times, we aren’t always easy to be around — and that’s okay. No one is easy to be around one hundred percent of the time. Yes, you may sometimes be unpleasant or difficult. And yes, you may sometimes do or say things that make the people around you feel helpless or sad. But those things aren’t all of who you are and they certainly don’t discount your worth as a human being. The truth is that you can be struggling and still be loved. You can be difficult and still be cared for. You can be less than perfect, and still be deserving of compassion and kindness.”—Daniell Koepke (via creatingaquietmind)
After a certain point in your education, no matter how technical it is, you hit some philosophical points. For me, today, that has been the contemplation of consequences. More specifically, how many human lives are we willing to sacrifice in our design?
No engineer will tell you that a structure has a 0% chance of failing (especially when you’re in a high risk seismic zone). Probability of failure obviously correlates to loss of human life just because of the nature of these structures (i.e., they’re meant to be used by/for people).
Before I continue, let me clear up that one stupid question lingering in the back of your mind (I know someone is bound to be thinking it). ”Why don’t you design for 0% chance of failure?” Because it’s too fucking expensive.
When it comes down to it, we do not have an infinite amount of money to work with; cost is often a major constraint. And sadly, we sometimes quantify things in terms of cost (both for simplicity and practicality). For example, what is the cost of not doing a more in-depth site investigation prior to construction? The fines you could potentially get for environmental policies, the time and money spent re-doing the process, the possibility of getting sued for not meeting standards, etc. Naturally, the big question here is: what are we willing to lose should this fail?
How do you quantify human life?
I wonder if all engineers keep this in the back of their mind. People do a lot of dumb things for money, but would they do it so much if they thought about the lives that might be lost? I don’t even want to think about the what-ifs.
I sincerely hope all human beings have some reverence for human life.
I don’t really know if this is true for everyone, but it’s just something I’ve noticed since I’ve started grad school. The longer I’ve been in school, the more concerned I’ve gotten about future generations. Nothing is more terrifying than stupidity and ignorance. The second you stop learning, you stop growing, and that is moment you start falling. Life is progressive and only moves in one direction, so you’ll fall behind if you don’t keep up. It sounds like you’ll never be good enough, but you’ll be a better person for trying to keep up.
Going for my Master’s has made me a lot more aware of the people I’ll have to deal with if I pursue a career in this field. Yeah, I’m learning a lot about the mechanics behind this engineering stuff, which is hard enough on its own. But what they don’t always tell you (and part of the reason I picked this program) is how to deal with the people you’ll be forced to interact with.
The type of engineering I’m going into is somewhat specialized. If one of my projects goes wrong, people could die. The scary part of it is that my projects would not be solely dependent on my design. There are other people involved, like the owner and the contractors (people doing the actual construction). There’s inherent risk involved in any of these types of projects, but it’s not all on the engineer. The owner, for example, could decide they don’t want to spend as much money on the project and try to cut costs in site investigations and environmental studies. That would give the engineer less certainty to work with. The contractor may not realize that something needs to get done in a specific sequence or it’ll fail.
Another thing that I’ve been concerned with is the undergrad class I’m grading. Seriously, how can you get this far in college and not have some personal accountability? It is ridiculous. I won’t go into detail, but some of the things I’ve heard make me pretty worried about future engineers.
On the other hand, they do make me feel a little better about myself.
I read several dozen stories a year from miserable, lonely guys who insist that women won’t come near them despite the fact that they are just the nicest guys in the world.
..I’m asking what do you offer? Are you smart? Funny? Interesting? Talented? Ambitious? Creative? OK, now what do you do to demonstrate those attributes to the world? Don’t say that you’re a nice guy — that’s the bare minimum.
“Well, I’m not sexist or racist or greedy or shallow or abusive! Not like those other douchebags!”
I’m sorry, I know that this is hard to hear, but if all you can do is list a bunch of faults you don’t have, then back the fuck away..
..Don’t complain about how girls fall for jerks; they fall for those jerks because those jerks have other things they can offer. “But I’m a great listener!” Are you? Because you’re willing to sit quietly in exchange for the chance to be in the proximity of a pretty girl (and spend every second imagining how soft her skin must be)? Well guess what, there’s another guy in her life who also knows how to do that, and he can play the guitar. Saying that you’re a nice guy is like a restaurant whose only selling point is that the food doesn’t make you sick. You’re like a new movie whose title is This Movie Is in English, and its tagline is “The actors are clearly visible”.