Recently I came across a video where one IIT professor was reacting to his student’s video. In that video, the student said that he took Mechanical Engineering just because he was good in Maths and Physics, and at the same time he was also advocating why Software or any IT job might be a better option for an average student. I had a spontaneous smirk when he said that thing about Maths and Physics. This was the reason for me for taking Mechanical as well. Nowadays, whenever anyone asks me what is that one mistake that I would like to correct, I always say I would undo this one.
I used to enjoy studying a lot. Back in 10+2, solving Math problems were like a second hobby for me, after, obviously, watching football matches. But college life changed everything. A thing of pleasure started feeling like a huge burden. My college routine piled up more misery on top of that. And things at times seemed unbearable.
Except for a few topics like Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, etc. (which were ‘Math heavy’), I hardly enjoyed any subject. Then I came to know about Operations Research (OR) in my 4th year. That subject was a kind of revelation for me. Whenever I used to do Math, I would have one question in my mind: How can this be directly applied to real-life problems? OR kind of made me realize on a large scale how we can use Mathematics for that.
Looking back at my college life and those ‘sad boi’ hours, I kind of feel contented that I went through this. You know there is a pattern in sitcoms where they will introduce a side character to bring together the main couple of the show (Karen in The Office, Kelly in Superstore, etc.). My college life kinda did that for me. I realized what I should be doing. Where I am good at. I stopped pursuing MS in Mechanical Engineering and instead focused on doing something related to Math or Data. Data, numbers, stats have been something that always made sense to me. And then I decided to do my Master’s in OR. Now I use OR techniques on a daily basis to make a positive impact for my organization.
Apart from a long retrospection on a lazy Saturday afternoon, there is another reason for writing this blog post. It irks me whenever any of my juniors ask me whether he/she should switch to Data Science to start earning more. If your intention to switch is just to earn more, then best of luck! After some hardships, I understood that I would rather fail in doing something I like. And I feel, for everyone, it is important to find that ‘something’. When you are not employed or associated with any institution, it is important to introspect. The focus should be on knowing yourself better, not mindlessly running after every job opportunity that is available. Otherwise, those ‘sad boi’ hours in life will just be prolonged.