The Practice

It’s been a month since I embraced the profession. When I was in college, I told myself that I would close that chapter of my life after I get my license. True enough, I went for an editing job in a publishing company after my board exam, and accepted a non-fieldwork stint in the transport sector shortly after.

In my two former jobs, I was crunching numbers with the manuscripts in the engineering section. I was crunching memos for high-level bosses who are quite busy and need a pair of speedy writing and slightly mapping hands. I was crunching days and days. I enjoyed some of it, but there was a void that I could not fill.

As a college student, I frequently secondguessed my choice of course. Geodetic engineering does not exactly fare too well for girly girls like me. But for some reason, I managed to finish that course and even accomplished a good thing on my board exam. Good enough to dispense board exam tips that actually work.

Still, I doubted myself. I did not exactly own up to that achievement. Instead of rising to the occasion, I explored other industries and tried to find my place there.

It’s only this year that I started considering the possibility of being a fulltime engineer, as in a full-pledged day job involving the practice of engineering. I avoided the heat of the sun for almost three years. I placidly and complacently placed myself in airconditioned rooms and board rooms and convention rooms. I dabbled in industries that I did not formally train for.

And what did I find when I took the engineering plunge last month? A real shocking truth about myself that I never expected. I found that I actually liked it. No, I don’t like it. I LOVE it.

It was not easy getting an engineering job after letting my license rot in my wallet for two years.

I took a board exam-like exam in a big construction company that I admired with its impressive affordable housing designs. On the day of my exam, I was taking the exam with the topnotcher from this year. I had to basically recall something I did not use for two years.

What’s worse, the geodetic world is small. The only person I knew in that company was not a close friend. In fact, while I liked her personality, I held a grudge against her. She was my classmate in a terrorizing subject. At the time, I got a failing grade and the professor took pity on her and allowed her to pass even when my final grade was legitimately higher than her grade. She merely knocked persistently on the teacher’s door, conveniently overriding around a dozen students in our class who got a singko. She got a tres because she begged her way and made use of her charm to make paawa.

In hindsight, it was one of the biggest injustices that a teacher has done to me. That entire sem, I studied hard for that subject. I was never late, never absent and took notes. On the other hand, that girl slept during class hours because she had a leisurely gimmick the night before. During exams, she photocopies my notes. I never even heard her apologize for what she did just to get ahead in her graduation goals. I envy my other classmates who got a 5.0, not knowing of this incident.

And she happens to work in that company. When I got interviewed by her boss, I was told that they hire people based on “diskarte… Yung pumapasa kahit hindi dapat pumapasa…” Aside from passing judgment on my frail looks, they even promote corruption just to get things done.

With that remark, I knew that while it was suitable for my cheating ex-classmate, it was not the right place for me.

I eventually forgave my cheating ex-classmate for cheating at the expense of half of our class that semester. And I also thank her boss for that phrase, because that was my only cue for determining that I was applying in the wrong place.

So anyway, I no longer expected a phone call given that remark. And I moved on. I tried to contact a friend who works for a consultancy firm. And that’s how I ended up discovering that after all that mental circus, I was really meant to become a lady geodetic engineer.

I suffered a lot in college. People tell me I am very intelligent. Perhaps. But it did not insulate me from the pains of obtaining a degree in engineering. It used to be an acid test that had me bitter when I was there, better when I was out with diploma and license in hand.

I used to have a latent hate of my teachers. But now I look on them with so much gratitude and love. Because they made it so hard. And in making it so hard, they made my working in the real world as an engineer so much easy. It’s not easy. But it’s the kind of difficult that I was trained to handle in life.

I look at my classmates in college now. Most of them are successful, earning six-digit salaries abroad, and well-respected by their families and friends. We probably share that gratitude for our engineering teachers who took the time to make it hell in college but heaven in the career world afterwards. Thank you, my teachers in UP. In spite of my delinquencies, you have taught me well.

From a girl who frequently secondguessed her engineering course and twice considered shifting to Journalism and European Languages, I became a woman who sought the field, thirsted for adventured, and craved for the brutal but rewarding arms of the technical world. My desire for practicing went beyond limbic. I come to work always happy. I open the office on most days, and I am the last to leave, even.

And inside, I now possess the certainty that I made the right choice. This is ironic because all those years, I was scowling until graduation day. Now, all I feel is gratitude and love and an unparalleled peace of mind.

Wow, it’s actually possible that you hate something seemingly while you were learning the ropes of it. But you actually end up loving it later on. This is what happened to me. And I want to share this because I know there are many engineers in the making who can relate. And I want to encourage you to keep on. It will fall into place, eventually. Just keep on.

I can still write. Yes, I can still explore the nuances of social media. And yes, I am an engineer in word, in license, and in deed.

I love it. I finally fully welcomed the practice of my profession, and it has welcomed me back with so much love, acceptance, and possibilities for the future.