I have known of the IET for a while, but I've only just joined the forum today. Therefore, I apologize if this question is misplaced. Also, please do not be put off by the length of this post - the subject is very important for me; I've included a short summary at the end in case you haven't time to read the full post.
A couple of years ago, I started a Mechanical Engineering degree. However, due to various personal reasons, I soon fell behind and dropped out in less than a year. The University kindly gave me the option to defer my course for a year until I was ready to resume.
That time has now passed, and I've still not made a decision about resuming. If I do go back this year, then I will pay lower fees (£3,500 instead of the new £9000), but there's still a risk I will fall behind again.
Aside from determining whether I'm fit for the course, which is a task solely for my parents and I, the other major factor in my decision is whether I'm still interested in the course. It is this query with which I would really like help.
I have a few things I'd like to ask, but my main issue is thus: Before I started the course, I had in my head a vision of engineers being "inventors" or "designers", but the course seemed more to do with "tweaking" things.
To explain my terms more fully, "inventing" is using previous knowledge to create something completely new, or making a creative leap forward in an already developed field. "Designing" projects would be using engineering knowledge to develop plans for building structures, or manufacturing new products. Each of these jobs would require a high level of creativity.
On the other hand, I use "tweaking" to refer to the very methodical task of taking a part of a machine, testing it in a prescribed fashion, and making adjustments, without much room for imagination.
I appreciate that as a junior engineer, I would have less opportunity to make decisions than if I were a higher-up; and that any 'juicy', 'interesting' work might require some less glamorous foundation work, especially in my first year. However, aside from having a passion for roller coasters, I was taken in by Engineering by the claim that it needed a "problem-solving" mind. I was thus a little disappointed that most of the work I did on my course was standard and methodical.
I think that I could become very interested in the 'foundation' knowledge of engineering if I knew it would soon open up more creative options, but without that knowledge, I would find it a lot harder to sustain a passion for it. I am still a little interested in the mathematics for its own sake, but without being able to imagine its utility, I find it often quite dry.
I now have only a couple of weeks to decide about my course, but I have no idea to whom I should put my question: my parents advised me against talking directly with the course staff, as admitting to them that I might not be interested in the course would be a bad move.
If anyone in this forum is an engineer, or thinks they know someone to whom I would find it helpful to talk, please RSVP. I find it easier to think when typing, but due to the urgency of my situation I would prefer to talk via Skype or telephone in this instance. However, if you feel uncomfortable about sharing details (by Personal Message, I suppose?) then I'm happy to reply in this topic instead.
As a little extra information, there is a chance I might be able to change from Mech to Civil engineering when I go back; this is not a certainty. However, I'd still appreciate opinion on which course might me more suitable for me - the way I see it, if I wanted to "invent" things, I would go for Mechanical, but if I wanted to design projects, I would go for Civil. Is this assumption in any way correct?
I have to decide about going back to Uni.
If I return this year, I can still pay on the lower fees band.
I have problems with motivation, but I think I would be sufficiently motivated if I were interested in the subject.
I aspire to have a role in a creative job.
However, I was disappointed that my course seemed too methodical.
I could sustain my interest far more easily if I knew I was working towards a creative role.
I might possibly be able to switch course from Mech to Civil.
Could an expert please help advise me on these issues?
Could anyone please help direct my questions to an expert?