Choosing a profession at the ripe age of sixteen can be quite daunting. With the knowledge that I had to choose a career path that could possibly affect my future in only a span of two years in the back of my mind, it made choosing a profession very intimidating. However, after some research and internal conflicts I had to overcome, I finally decided that I would happily dedicate my life to a career specializing in astronautical engineering. The prospect of having the ability to design and build machines that would eventually rise above the earth’s atmosphere is exhilarating, for the spacecraft would account for many new cosmological and astronomical discoveries of our universe.

Aerospace engineering is loosely defined as the engineering field concerned with the development of aircraft and spacecraft; however, within it, there are two branches: aeronautics and astronautics. Aeronautical engineering is the creation of aircraft, usually dealing with aviation within earth’s atmosphere. Astronautical engineering is the development of spacecraft that go above earth’s atmosphere. Having a great interest in astronomy and cosmological physics, I plan on focusing in on astronautical engineering while studying aerospace engineering. Since I also find building/fixing things very enjoyable and frequently spend my free time either demolishing or fixing mechanics, aerospace engineering is the ultimate option that coalesces my interests of space and technology.  It’s one of my greatest aspirations to design machines with the capability to go out into the deep macrocosm and bring back new discoveries of the universe and the objects within it. It may sound far-fetched, but I’ve always wanted to create something that will contribute to the advancement and better understanding of science through various means, owing to the fact that I am always ecstatic about new findings of various objects in deep space. These objects may range from stars to black holes, and could even contribute to the validation or invalidation of multiple theories such as string theory depending on what is being observed. Many great physicists have inspired me to seek out this type of work interrelating with cosmology and physics. These great physicists include that of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking, and Brian Greene.

Having been inspired by these well-known physicists, I wish to contribute to the discovery of more theories to better understand our universe by creating spacecraft, probes, or rockets that would enter deep space. Not only would these machines assist us in studying different astronomical objects and detect strange anomalies that may lead to speculation, there is also the possibility that we may detect life beyond earth. Now that could change our understanding of the universe on an even larger scale, if we were to come into contact with alien intelligent life. As an astronautical engineer, I would be working with the science and technology of spacecraft to function inside and outside earth’s atmosphere and monitor its mechanisms.

However, before I am able to pursue a better education on this matter other than reading articles and building robots, I need to be accepted into a college that offers a substantial aerospace engineering program. The colleges that I am currently considering whom offer aerospace programs include: Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, NC State, CalTech, and MIT. After extensive research over the course of my junior year, my list of potential colleges will most definitely grow. It will take a lot of consideration, but once I figure out my financial situation and choose a college that opened its doors to me, I would then need to consider required courses and electives needed in order to obtain my major.

In order to achieve a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, the few undergraduate courses I would take corresponding to my major would include: aerodynamics, structures and materials, propulsion, dynamics and control, and astrodynamics. These courses would allow for more advanced study, but I will have the choice of choosing technical electives based on personal interests. However, as important as education is, I won’t be just studying during college, I will also be looking for different internship opportunities either during the school year or over the summer.

The internships I would consider must be corresponding to my major and interests. I would choose an opportunity that would allow me to utilize my studies and apply it in the real world, no matter whether I get paid for intern-work or not. Internships would assist me with knowledge in my field of study, and I would learn how to apply what I’ve learned in college to real-life situations.

While participating in internships and/or possible jobs pertaining to my field of work, I would then reach my goals and graduate undergraduate school with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. Soon afterwards, I would start applying for jobs, making sure to detail my experiences. Of course, depending on the situation, I would love to continue to graduate school to continue my studies and obtain the Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree. A higher degree would translate into more job openings, and I would have the opportunity to apply to companies that I have forever revered. The companies that I dream of working for include: NASA, SpaceX, and the U.S. AirForce. However, aerospace jobs are currently diminishing. That means jobs will be scarce, and competition would be extremely high for any job openings. That’s why I will need to increase my work experience in the field, giving myself more credibility than other aerospace engineers.

There are many obstacles to overcome, but when I overcome the tough obstacles, and immerse myself in various opportunities, I will have an advantage over others in the hiring process: the most difficult obstacle. More experience translates into more credibility, and I thoroughly plan on occupying myself with things that will assist me with growth of knowledge as well as credibility. Once I reach my goals and secure for myself a self-sustaining job, I will be designing and testing spacecraft that would one day be sending data to earth from space, allowing humans to interpret and report discoveries based on what was observed. I want to leave an imprint on the future of the world, whether it be as small as space dust or as large as Alpha Centauri, and that starts with us better understanding the vast cosmos.