Why am I in Chemical Engineering, you ask? I ask myself this question daily during the school year. There are a lot of assignments and it requires a lot of studying and problem solving. So why am I here?
Let’s backtrack a little bit to my childhood. I distinctly recall being fascinated by the creation of homemade play dough before I even knew how to read. Maybe because it was made so simply in a pot used to cook the food I ate, using ingredients that were usually used to feed me but that it was NOT edible (of course I tried it anyway… VERY salty). I also remember attempting to make chalk in my backyard following a recipe from Bill Nye the Science Guy (unfortunately for overeager 6-year-old scientist-me, there was a key ingredient missing to make it harden).
Then I thought about some of the shows I watched regularly as a kid: ‘The Magic School Bus’, ‘Dexter’s Lab’, and ‘Zoom’ to name a few. It became obvious to me that I was always interested in the magic that is science.
Despite my fascination with science, I was once convinced I was meant to be a nurse. I liked to help people and I remember, in middle school, carrying band-aids, alcohol swabs, tweezers, and Polysporin around with me in my bag JUST IN CASE someone needed them (I actually still always carry these things with me). In high school, I earned co-op credits for volunteering on the surgical floor’s playroom at CHEO and I worked briefly at a nursing home part-time—both in preparation for a career in healthcare.
In grade 12, I was ready to accept my offer into the nursing program but something was holding me back. Sure, I liked to help people but I didn’t have the passion for healthcare that my mother (a nurse) had.
Something else I had realized that year was that I loved all things math and science-related. Perusing the uOttawa viewbook, I realized all of the courses I enjoyed were pre-requisites for Chemical Engineering. I, then, decided to apply to the Chemical Engineering program with the co-op option and nothing held me back from accepting my offer shortly thereafter.
Chemical Engineering is a very diverse field with a wide variety of subject matter where anybody can find something they enjoy.
Since starting this program, I keep asking myself why I stay—especially when it gets hectic with all the assignments and exams. Then I realize there is nothing else I would rather do.