I usually go to bed at 9:00 o’clock and not later than 10:00 o’clock in the evening. But this unexpected text message from my brother interrupted my sleep at 10:56 o’clock last night: “Ton passed the board exam; another engineer in the family.”
“Alhamdulillah,* congratulations! You woke me up but it’s okay. I am happy for your son.” I replied with sleepy eyes. I was delighted anyway.
Civil engineering is really a tough and a difficult course. But if it matches with one’s passion, ambition and perhaps intellectual capacity (wish my brain had a high level of gigabytes!), it would be akin to eating peanuts and could make one a happy mammal!
What does it like to study civil engineering? Would it give me a good position and make me happy in the future? Could it become my lifetime profession?
Well, civil engineering was never my cup of tea! But I have three reasons why I took up this course:
Firstly, I did not want to disappoint my beloved parents whom I adore next to the One. After I graduated from high school, my parents decided to enroll me in the college of engineering and architecture.
Without a word of complaint or violent reaction, I calmly tagged along with my brother (the one who texted me) as he helped me enrolled in the university.
Yes, I was the obedient (?) daughter who studied a nerve-racking course to please my dear parents. But my silence was not all about obedience; it was just an expression of freedom from guilt and blame.
To become an engineer was never my choice of profession; it was my late father’s. He became a district engineer. Now he wanted me to follow his footsteps and wished me to land a good position in the future and enjoy a good life.
Oh, I should have told my late father: But dad, all I want is a better “station” not a good position!
Neither this branch of knowledge was my passion nor my dream. It never even became a friend to me. It was always a foe that flooded my veins with fear during examinations.
I should have fought for my choice: Mass Communication/Journalism!
Civil Engineeeing course remained the antagonist that challenged me a lot. It frightened me and made my heart wanted to jump out of my chest everytime there was a quiz or a boardwork given to us.
Ugh! It was true, engineering was akin to eating peanuts but coated with lots of green and red chillies!
Secondly, to be the first lady engineer in the family or in the clan was a noble thought. Perhaps I thought my dad would revel in happiness for a dream come true once I became one.
And speaking of happiness, how excited I was to embrace it during my first day in college. But as I entered the classroom to attend my first subject, these questions cloaked me with loneliness instead:
What the heck am I doing inside this square room occupied entirely by ninety five percent males? Oh dad, am I enrolled in the right course?
Two of my brothers (who became policemen then) took up this course but shifted to another programme of study, which somehow made my father frustrated.
In short, I was the “shock absorber” of the jolts and vibrations of this crazy matter!
My mind spinned around as it was occupied with numbers and symbols – algebra, physics, trigonometry, calculus, soil mechanics, hydraulics, strength of materials, designs and the like.
I memorized formulas and that was the food for my brain, hence, I lost my eating appetite. I perspired a lot and remained skinny drafting and drawing plates and residential plans and other projects.
I suffered from anxiety attacks as I waited for my grades at the end of the semester. I sometimes went to bed with a feverish cold and expelled air from my lungs once the mid-term or final examinations approached.
Oh, how I wish to go happy go lucky and move the time fast to graduation ceremony. Lol!
But what can I do? I already stepped on the cold water. Now I decided to master the art of swimming to save myself from drowning, so to speak. And for the sake of my beloved father, I never shifted to another course. I never gave up!
Thirdly, what if I took up the course of my choice, made a mistake, lived a miserable life and stressed my parents? But I was not given an option!
My early days in college could never be forgotten. Never in my wildest dream did I imagine myself to engage in masonry work as I mixed cement, sand and gravel. I experienced carpentry work in my woodworking class. I drenched with sweat in my surveying subject.
But how funny after studying this crazy course, I never realized that I will end up a good baker who mixed flour, water, yeast, sugar, salt and sweat in the kitchen as I baked a yummy bread for my family!
I will always remember my work experience after I passed the board exam. But never did I expect to land a first job in the government particularly in the Planning and Design Division of the Department of Public Works and Highways. I plotted and drafted perspective plans of the surveyed roads and bridges and only ended up a domestic engineer who tutored mathematics for my kids!
I left no stone unturned to receive my college diploma let alone my license (thank you my dear professors!).
My faith in the Only Engineer who says, “It maybe that you dislike a thing though there is abundant good in it,” had probably made me successful as I surrendered and learned to embrace patience.
And no regrets! It had pleased me greatly to make my parents proud and happy.
Somehow it pays to be an obedient child. Had I not become an engineer, I would not be in a good position now.
Because once upon a time there was a man who hated carrying his T-square and calculator as he studied civil engineering (his mom’s choice) but shifted to another curriculum. Later he became a professor and asked an engineer’s hands for marriage.
After the wedding ceremony, the local newspaper (life/society page) published an article: “U.P professor claims an engineer for his bride.”
Yes, I was the engineer who was claimed by this professor for his bride. And I became the happiest mammal on earth!
*Alhamdulillah – All praise be to God