(What follows is a lot of uncertain gallivanting about the post-grad life.)
I want to work in international development because I enjoy doing impossibly challenging things and dislike the fact that the world is not an even playing field. I’ve had the itch to go into public/foreign service for a few years now for a) absurd love of DC b) a firm belief that engineers who can talk and write like real people have an obligation to exercise both of those capabilities and c) outrageous frustration with the status quo of top-down technology implementation.
Here’s the crux of the problem: I like making things.
I like making things a lot – mentally juggling parts of a prototype until they click, outlining program structures to process changes in respiratory wall resistance and log that data in a google doc, transforming complex instrumentation into something elegant and sparsely functional.
I’m not sure if I’m done with that quite yet. I’m terrified that if I jump the gun – take a fellowship abroad for six months or a year or more, to get the basic field experience basic jobs and grad schools require – that I’ll not only miss out on a critically exciting period in the field, but also put my absurd set of technical tools to waste. I drunkenly told someone a few weeks ago that I wanted to be the Steve Jobs of accessible health technologies; that is, to take something bogglingly unwieldy and transform it into a functional market. (But so does everyone. Who’s lived the dream? Design professors with infinite creative labor, obvs.)
In any case, it comes down to this: there is not a paved career path in which I could accomplish those things, nor a relevant industry that hires for my skill set. Not right out of college, certainly. In an ideal world, I think I’d start with senior design: get that up and running, and expand to what comes fluidly – diagnostics are what I’m good at, and what I’ve been best trained in. Work on lots of short-term projects within a grander vision. Add in adventure/shenanigans (low expectations work here – I’m the girl who thinks flying in planes is crazy and I swam across the border for my one trip out of the states, remember). Not picky on location, though the intersection of health and regional stability ignites all the on switches (I swear I’d head to backcountry Afghanistan if I could). Maybe grad school after a break, if it’s useful and helps me do more useful and exciting things.
Anyway, suggestions welcome. I filled out the bioengineering curriculum checklist not terribly long ago, purple pen and all:
Rice has given me lots of weapons but not yet taught me how to aim them. Scared I’ll miss.