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During my time at Texas A&M University, a resounding lesson has been that there is always more to learn. The more I plunge into engineering, extracurricular clubs or professional experience, the more I am astounded by the limitations of my own knowledge and the depth to which we can go and still fall short of fully understanding the world around us. It makes me think about how intelligently and impressively the world is designed. Despite the frustrations, stress and monotony that can come with a college experience, I want to learn. But to truly learn, it is necessary to step out of the comfortable scope of your own knowledge.
“You should be the least intelligent person in the room,” my uncle told me.
In other words, be an idiot.
He further explained that you want to surround yourself with people who are more knowledgeable and have more experience so that you may better yourself from it. You don’t progress from what you already know. With master’s degrees in aerospace engineering, philosophy/theology, as well as a law degree, my uncle has the experience and credibility to back up his sayings. Seeking true understanding demands a spirit of both audacity and humility. Challenge yourself to go where you are the least skilled person in the room. Be bold in that pursuit. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
For example, want to get stronger? Talk to someone in the Rec who knows what they are doing. Want to learn a new language? Join one of the conversation clubs and struggle with the language until you get it right. Want to improve your professional skills? Make an appointment with the career center and rehearse mock interviews until you finally get the job. Want to improve as a cadet leader in the Corps? Make an appointment with an officer in the Trigon and benefit from their wealth of military experience. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a mentor along the way… I know I did.
Be fearless in the pursuit of knowledge and experience. Step into someone else’s shoes and obtain new insights. Refuse to succumb to your fear of what others could think of you. You will discover a new level of self-confidence while doing so. This world already has too many people who can’t get out of their comfortable pride, and needs more people who are willing to look like fools.
So go ahead, be an idiot. You will be better off for it in the long run.
Seeking true understanding demands a spirit of both audacity and humility.— Austin Kees ’23
Industrial Engineering, Class of 2023
If you found this blog post interesting, you may consider reading “Why You Should Join Professional Societies” and “How a student organization aided my engineering education experience.”