An Education Affirmation: It All Matters

greenwaltBy Paul Greenwalt, EIT

Do you like math and science? Are you fascinated by mechanical and electrical gadgets? If so, I bet when you were young you liked taking things apart to see how they worked. Sometimes you even put those things back together. Sometimes you put those things back together and you didn’t have any pieces left over. Sometimes you put those things back together and you didn’t have any pieces left over and they actually work the way that they did before you took them apart. And sometimes you do all this and also actually fix whatever was wrong with the thing that you took apart.

I am the same way! I was interested in everything that moved and improved our daily lives. It is the reason that I studied Mechanical Engineering in school, and the reason that I pursued work in the HVAC industry. As an engineering student and even before, I was not very interested in the humanities courses like English, Sociology, Psychology, and Literature. I did alright in those classes, but they didn’t resonate with me the way that Physics, Chemistry, Math, and Machine Shop did.

Fast Forward to the Present

Here I am, working at an engineering firm. I read more now than I ever did in school. You think reading a textbook is dry and tedious? Try the RCW (Revised Code of Washington aka The Law). I am writing systems manuals, design narratives, various reports, and now blogs. Sounds like a lot of stuff I wasn’t interested in during school, right? But let’s look at it this way. I bet the best book report you ever wrote was on a book of your own choosing. My situation is a lot like that. It is interesting to me now because the subject matter is about what I do—and what I enjoy doing—for a living. Now take it one step further: I read energy and building codes…for fun!

The lesson here is this: never take any part of your education for granted. It will all help you in one way or another. This is something my colleague Jeff (@JYirak_WH) and I try to impress on the students that participate in the ACE Mentor Program for which Wood Harbinger is a mentor firm. (Yep, we’re helping mold young minds interested in the AEC industry!)

Just like that timeless saying, “I will never use Math in the real world.” This is the real world and I can assure you, I use math. But I also use good grammar, and it matters. Punctuation matters. Knowledge matters.


Follow Paul on Twitter @PGreenwalt_WH

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  • By Essential References for Mechanical Engineers on July 22, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    […] « An Education Affirmation: It All Matters […]

  • […] I wondered how much pressure was actually generated by the expansion of water in the pipe. It turns out that ice is 8.3% less dense than water, so for a volume of about 2 ounces of 50℉ water, the equivalent volume of 32℉ ice would be 2.166 ounces and this can lead to a tremendous amount of force being exerted on the small little pipe. This force is approximately 40,000 psi, which is certainly enough to rupture a thin piece of aluminum pipe! (See, you can use math in real life!) […]

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