So, What are You Studying?

Posted on Monday, Feb 13, 2017

The usually drab question sure to strike fear into the heart of college students still trying to figure out how to separate their lights and darks in the wash. 

It can come from any source. The well-meaning stranger who hears you’re in college. The dentist expecting you to respond with that cursed metal mirror in your mouth. The aunt and uncle from Michigan, in town for your family’s holiday gathering. Most mean well, but aren’t aware of the anxious beast they’ve awakened.

For me, this question was always particularly frightening, and I’d most often respond with one of two lines: the first, a half-lie: “I’m studying Industrial & Systems Engineering, and I like it a lot!” The second, a more truthful, intrusive question: “Well, how long have you got?” While I have been an engineering major since the beginning of my sophomore year, I haven’t exactly enjoyed it. I’ve acquired valuable and interesting skills, but I’ve never felt a passion for my coursework, or the types of careers the major generally feeds into. Finally getting the chance to work an engineering job last summer, my desire to pursue any other career field was confirmed within the first few days.

As quickly as the negative feedback came to me from my previous employment, the positives from PPIP came even quicker. My first exposure to the program was a training day capped by a fast-paced, in-depth explanation by Texas House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel of what the Texas legislative session was really like. It grabbed my attention and held it in a way that all my math classes never could.

Beginning work in the Texas State Capitol in Austin just three weeks later, each experience has further solidified my desire to pursue a career in the public sector. Thanks to A&M and the Public Policy Internship Program, I’m well on my way to finding what exactly that will be.

For those still searching: work hard, seek out opportunities, and seek to keep doors open for yourself. You just might find what you’re looking for.

Kenneth McIntyre
Texas A&M Engineering Government Relations
Austin, Texas