Present College Essay

Looking back, I think my decision was one of convenience and cowardice. What if my first job offer has a stunning salary and interesting engineering challenges, but the employer is a defense contractor like Lockheed or Raytheon?Will I turn down the job, or will I once again compromise my ideals? Many engineering professors work under military grants, so my college research and internships could get entangled in messy ethical dilemmas.When last May a friend of my father’s asked me if I wanted a summer job working for his machining company, I jumped at the opportunity.

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Drew is a fairly serious and introspective guy, so we don't find much humor in his essay. The opening description of Drew's closet and the repeated mention of mowing lawns add a little lightness to the writing.

Drew's essay has been carefully edited and revised.

I’m convinced that even the most innocent involvement in the science of war makes one complicit in war itself. Were I true to my ideals, I really should have walked away and spent the summer mowing lawns or bagging groceries. They made valid points about the value of the experience and the ways that it would lead to bigger opportunities in the future. My summer job made me recognize that the military is a big employer of engineers, whether directly or indirectly.

In the end I kept the job, partly from my parents’ advice and partly from my own desire to be doing real engineering work. I didn’t want to let a professional opportunity slip away. Undoubtedly I’ll be confronting similar yet more serious ethical decisions in the future.

After that first day of work, I had many conflicting thoughts.

I’m firmly against the United States’ overuse of military might in the world theater.I’m a big critic of our mismanaged involvement in the Middle East.I’m appalled by the number of lives that have been lost in military conflicts, many of them young Americans like myself.You can learn a lot about me from a quick glance in my closet.You’ll find no clothes, but shelves filled with motorized Lego kits, Erector sets, model rockets, remote control race cars, and boxes full of motors, wires, batteries, propellers, soldering irons and hand tools. No one was surprised when I decided to apply to college for mechanical engineering.It also presents his strengths -- he is passionate about mechanical engineering and has been for most of his life.The essay succeeds in showing off his strengths at the very time it examines his weaknesses.I like to think that in the future I’ll use my engineering skills to better the world and tackle noble causes like climate change and sustainability.My bad decision this past summer has inspired me to look ahead and find ways to make my ideals and my love of engineering work together.What I learned about myself during my summer work wasn’t exactly flattering.Indeed, it makes me realize that I need college so that I can develop not just my engineering skills, but also my ethical reasoning and leadership skills.


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