My STEP project involved researching and ordering computer parts for an eventual computer build. I found this to be an apt project for my field of study as I am an electrical engineer. Through hours of researching and testing builds, I finally constructing a fully functioning computer from the funds provided by STEP.
In all honesty, I was not confident my STEP project would impact my life outside of my studies. After all, building a computer to many seems very cut and dry. However, I had never truly built something outside of a lab space; a fact I did not realize until I started building. All design considerations, all parts choices, these were aspects I would have to decide for myself. In a way, my passion for engineering was reignited by the freedom of creation I could experience through my project. In classes I rarely get to physically create something, let alone such a complex piece of hardware.
The passion I had for creating something on my own accord fueled my desire to thoroughly do research into what I was doing. I visited countless computer build forums and went to multiple computer build live demonstrations. On top of that I thoroughly vetted every piece of technology going into what I wanted to create. Only when I had felt I had done due diligence did I even order the parts. In a way, this project made me feel more confident in what I’ve chosen to do with my life. There truly is nothing more I enjoy more than creating something and this project helped me to realize that.
There were various interactions I had that made me relearn my love for electrical engineering. First, my first forums posts asking questions about builds were all well received. In an instant I had been enveloped in community I never really knew existed. I found other people that were as passionate as I was about simply building things. This idea was only reinforced when I went to specialized computer stores and talked for hours with people who had built hundreds of computers.
Furthermore, I had multiple interactions with professors who talked with me about my build and asked about the progress. In this way I understood that what I was doing was a true project that garnered real interest. Furthermore, these mentors fully believed in me that I could create a complex system from nothing but my own resources and efficacy.
All of these interactions really made me feel like I had a community I could relate to. A community that’s passionate about building and creating. Though education prepares you for such aspect in life, learning and experiencing are truly two different things.
Everything I experienced I am sure will have major implications in my life. I have always had doubts if engineering truly is right for me yet this project put many of my fears to rest. This project showed me that I am a creator and doing anything else with my life would be a life lived lesser. Because of this project I plan to focus more on my studies so that I can one day end up in an occupation that makes me feel as excited as this project made me feel.