so, this entry will probably be long so that i can fully put everything down in writing, i will try to summarize it at the end so that if you don't have the time to read everything you can still grasp what is going. here it goes:
hokay, so, i graduated from high school and had a plan. the plan was to go to WPI, a school that was not really at the caliber of where i felt i could go, and kick ass in getting a bachelor's in electrical engineering enough to go to a prestigious grad school (MIT, UC Berkeley, Caltech, Stanford, somewhere for smart kids). the reason i went into electrical engineering originally was because my passion is in music and i figured i could combine my skills (math and sciences) with music by working for a company that designs electronics for music. either an amplifier company like marshall, or a stereo system company like bose, or someone that makes soundboards or whatever. this all seemed so clear to me back then.
since then i have come into contact with some excellent people, and gone through a couple different experiences that have kicked me in the face to tell me that maybe this isn't for me. i realize now that we lived in an incredibly fucked up world. socially, environmentally, humanitarily there are atrocities going on. and people of intelligence should be working for solutions to global warming, overpopulation problems, human suffering, animal suffering, the list goes on and on. if i were to keep going on with engineering i kind of see myself either working for a military contractor (which i have obvious problems with) or designing gadgets or audio equipment like my original plan. all of this seems really fucking stupid when i realize what is really going on out there.
i spent two months working for the bangkok refugee center where i saw some people who have spent their lives trying to help out people in need. my mom has worked for different social service companies helping out homeless, pregnant and otherwise needy teenagers in lowell. these people don't make as much money as engineers, but they are doing something that they will not look back on when they are earlier and say they wasted their lives. there was a time in thailand where i went to dinner with some vegans i met there. after explaining what kind of person i was i told one of the guys that i was an engineering major. he was a teacher, and said to me "an engineer with a heart? what a concept" those words struck me, because i look around myself at this school (outside of some of the people that i am close to) and see a whole lot of people who are just trying to make as much money as they can doing stressful work, even if they enjoy it, that does not really benefit anyone outside of the heads of the companies they work for.
so i look for solutions, to this i have given a lot of thought. i have friends who say they will work for whatever job for now and get a bunch of money and use that later. i have thought about this, do a job i enjoy that may not be that great for humanity or anything but use the money i get to help others out, this has a couple flaws though. firstly, i know far too many people who lose their idealism in their older years. they get kids, a spouse or whatever other responsibilities that become more important to them, or they just run out of energy. i think that NOW is the time where i should be doing meaningful work. during my idealistic energetic youth, not later when i am going to be hardened by work and probably lose whatever sight i may have now. further, i will be spending at least 40 hours a week (even more if i am doing engineering) doing my job, whatever that is, and this is a huge chunk and it should be spent trying to solve something, i think.
the next obvious solution is to try and do engineering for good. do some technology that helps out the environmental crisis, or helps out people or something. the problem is that i probably won't be able to do that right away. i haven't found too many companies that are already doing this and i don't have the means to start my own. so i would have to start off working for some not so great company and probably hating it.
so i could either try really hard to do engineering for good, or change that path i set for myself back in high school. i am not sure how to do that. i don't even know what i want to do, just that i want it to be more worthwhile than designing gadgets. i could try and get a masters in environmental policy or something social, but i am not sure how difficult that will all be since i just spent 4 years learning electrical engineering.
another idea that was just introduced to me was to join the peace corps. i would make just about no money, but it would be another good opportunity for me to try and figure out what it really is that i want to do in the future and i would be doing some good while i was figuring this out.
engineering will probably put me on a path to work that will not be really beneficial to anyone. i want to do something meaningful with my life, perhaps i could keep myself as an engineer and try and do some good with that, but i fear that it will end me up at a later point where i will lose my passion and idealism and then end up not having done anything. i could maybe work for the peace corps, or switch to something else for grad school, but these are scary ideas. i would love input from anyone who reads this. thanks guys.