Freaking out over college major and career


Hello all,

I was layed off in 2010, when I worked as a power plant mechanic and welder, for a contract company. The money was good, but there where no opertunitites for that type of profession, unless you want to be a road gypsie.

I went back to school to get my engineering degree, thinking that things would change significantly for me. When I went for an internship with my old co workers at a new plant, 

it was like instant remorse.

My father also worked for the same company, that is riddled with a heavy drug culture, and rampid alcoholism. When I first went back to school, I thought that if I prayed hard enough, and worked hard enough and really believed I " could do anywhere I want through Christ". Just like the testimonies I have heard of numerous people. 

I really at the time wanted a career change, but my old employeers, contacted me, and job scouts, telling me, “It will be differnt with that engineering degree”. But the last year when I went for my internship, I was back to the same zero growth, cave man job skills, of beating metal on metal and lifting heavy things.

I was un able to get out of bed for the past month, where I live, and it had cause me to drop my classes for the summer. I have become severly depressed, that, no matter how many 14-18 hour days of studying I put in. I will always have a 2.5 gpa, and God will never help me. It has cause me to become severly depressed, and often i want to walk out into traffic. Church and prayer does not help me, because I lost my faith at the University where I learned how quality of life works.

I guess my main question is, I can not function, working with “Tough guys” I can not stand people with tattooed sleeves, and ignorant people whom, think that learning a trade in the information age, is a way to make a living. I have violent fits of rage, if I am in the presense of alcoholics and pot heads, which the energy industry seems to cater to.

Has anyone else had this trouble ? I could go into more complex detail, but this is a long post already. Are their any engineers here? That can give me insite on your life style?  or Co workers? I do nto want to spend my life working with pot heads whom are rewarded at work for their deviancy. I worked at a Reliant Energy Plant for like 10 years and it was so corrrupt. Everyone used to do meth, and share their wives. When the plant manager was informed that there was a meth lab in the building, he said he did not care, as long as his plant was running.  

Can someone give me an insite on their quality of life as an engineer? I feel like I have emotional trauma or somthing. I have constant flash bulb memories, where I see my father coming home from the power company and he is constantly misrible. Everyone works like 60 hours a week because they hate their wives. I would sell my soul tongiht to be a pharmacist or physician assitant. Ect. …

Thanks for your responses and time.


Oh, dear! I’m not in Engineering, but I had heard that it was an excellent career choice. Could you maybe look into changing your major? Do an online job search for the jobs that have the most potential. It could be that you may want to move to another area in order to get in with a good plant. Don’t let this get you down too much (although I know that’s easier said than done). My dad changed his major four times before he graduated. It took him 10 years, but he finally graduated. So, talk with a career counselor, and put your name in with a “head hunter.” Your training and experience could qualify you for a great job somewhere else. :thumbsup:


Two things to start with: it sounds like you are confusing the culture of a particular company with that of a career path, and second, and vastly more importantly, you may want to find a counselor. Suicidal thoughts are serious.

I do not know what you mean by you lost your faith at university because you learned how quality of life works, but I highly suggest you talk things over seriously with both a priest and a counselor. They will be able to help you deal with the issues that are more fundamental than career choice.

Particular to your question: Getting an engineering degree will not magically evict methheads from the company you used to work at, or cause the meth labs to disappear. If you want that happen, you will have to contact proper authorities with evidence. My father and brother are both engineers, and my father has become a head of a city electrical department. He fires people for using drugs, engineers or not. So no, not everywhere where there are engineers is like that, and from what I understand, most are decidedly different. My brother beats metal on metal and lifts heavy things for a hobby, his actual job is to design circuits.

Further, despite what you said, a technical skill is in fact a fine way to make a living. The linemen under my father do well, for example. Also, if you decide your skill set is not the skill set of an engineer, then there is no shame in picking something else. Your university likely has resources to help you figure that out. It is my own experience from teaching college math that while most people can pull off a C if they try hard enough, there are people who simply don’t have the combination of ability and background to do better in such a course, given the time constraints of a semester and the other things they must handle at the same time. As for expecting God to make it work if you try hard enough and believe it will work - well, that’s pretty close to the idea of prosperity Gospel, and the reason why you mostly hear success stories from that is because the people for whom it doesn’t work can’t afford to write books. Again - you may very well be able to make it work if you try hard enough, but if not that doesn’t show a lack in either you or God. If anything, it shows that you should find something else.

Many faithful, good, people struggle to make ends meet, and continue to be generally faithful and happy, because they realize that neither is inextricably tied up in material quality of life or material things. Those will all go away, all of our merely material achievements on this earth are transitory. Rather, as someone famous once said, it’s faith, hope and love that last. I’m not going to say that if you focus on those that all the material things will just work out for you - they may, they may not. But if you do, you’ll be focusing on what is actually important. and that will make a difference in your quality of life on a much deeper level than material wealth. So don’t let worries about career influence your faith - absolutely try to find something that you can do and enjoy and pays well, but it’s not so fundamental as you seem to be implying.


I will always have a 2.5 gpa

I had a similar problem when I attended college. Instead I learned a trade that paid well. Not everyone is cut out for college. That is just how God made some of us. Good Luck.


Thank you for the awesome response. I have been in school since the first time in 2001. Then Because of being forced to work power plant outages when my employers new I was taking classes, I had failed multiple courses. I later then went to trade school for welding after that because of desperation and constantly being made to feel like human garbage by 40++ year old utility workers, who resented younger people working with them. .
I had to in my 20’s get extensive dental work done to rebuild my mouth, so going to school then was out of the question.

 When my father died like 10 years ago, I had to work to support my mother and I had taken 1 or 3 classes at a time. I now have over 40 math credits, combined with  12 hours of programming, and countless hours of calculus based physics. I managed to save a years pay, while going back to community college and finishing up my AA when I was getting laid off. That is when I went to school full time.  

( 10 classes needed for an ME degree, left. )

My problem is, I will be 35 in a month, and I am running out of time. I feel like life is nearly over. Watching my mother, age, and my delinquent older brother suck the life out of her. I have a massive resentment for the people in this industry. Due to what I believe is emotional abuse working as a young man in the environment. Also massive drug abuse problems in my family that I directly relate to working in heavy industry.

I have a hard time, functioning knowing that I may have to spend the rest of my life working with these people, and I can never be a Doctor, or Pharmacist, or PHD
Its caused me to be self destructive.

Why did I lost my faith at the university?
I can assure you it wasn’t due to a Golden Spoon Fed Marxist Fancy Pants Professor on a magic carpet ride through life. teaching from an Ivory Tower.

Its witnessing, Genetics, Some people are born utterly superior, while the rest of us, have to put in our time, or find the best way to break the so called rules. Knowing that much of your success, comes from having a mom and dad, to pay your way while you are younger, or provide a place of stability and endorse your learning opportunity.
When I turned 18. I was told to get my A**, to work if I wanted an education.
Ironically enough, my father had two BS. degrees.

If I was 4 or 5 years younger. I could care less, I would change my major. But I have a lot of responsibility in terms of trying to help provide for a widowed mother, and a Nephew who’s divorced mother and father are always in and out of jail.

   Extra help , goes to the "Smart Kids" in terms of fiances, and scholarships.

the ones who are assumed to be “Hard Working” I’ve put in 14 and 18 hour days with out using the old exams, 100% honestly , back when I was naive. Thus, you will be punished by the system if God did not give you superior genetics, that’s life.

Best regards man , peace.


I love school, and the univerity. School is the best thing in the world. My education is worth more then my life and my health. I will die before I leave with out a degree.
I know what the alternative is.
Thanks for the input Peace.


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