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Going with the Flow
David Urick is a second year chemical engineering student from Phoenix, Arizona. He is an undergraduate researcher in the Choi nanomaterial lab, and plans on attending medical school after graduation. His hobbies include cooking, playing basketball, and studying for Transport.
Going with the Flow
The coolest thing about Northeastern is that it forces you to experience your uncertainties first hand rather than just thinking your way out of them. It’s hard to be a freshman who can’t decide between a major in English or Mechanical Engineering. Knowing you will be applying for jobs in either industry in less than a year makes that decision all the more pressing. Huskies have no time for hesitancy. More importantly, there is no guarantee that your choices will make you feel at home. Co-op is a great time to discover your passionate hatred of pharmaceutical R&D, green energy startups, or whatever else. Not belonging is a feeling students typically avoid, yet is an inevitable experience in the real world.
Last week I represented Northeastern at the American Institute of Chemical Engineer’s annual conference in Salt Lake City. For five days the Salt Palace Convention Center was packed with several hundred of the smartest ChemE students, professors, and industry minds in the world. And then there was me. As a pre-med, knowing I would only be part of the ChemE community for two more years was pretty off putting. I love being an engineering student, and would never consider switching majors, but the sense that I wasn’t really meant to be at AIChE was always there. Like my experience in Utah was less meaningful than that of any other undergrad. Besides, talking to grad school reps is a lot harder if you’ve already ruled out a PhD.
In a lot of ways, the AIChE conference was a microcosm of my college career so far: a bunch of people having a ton of fun eating and drinking together and sometimes talking about science. It can be easy to feel out of place in that sort of environment, but you’ll have a lot more fun once you stop questioning it. Now that I’m home, I’m working twice as hard to make it back next year. AIChE—like college—won’t last forever. I just want to enjoy it while I can.