Athens, OH 11 February 2014 – I’m sure the vast majority of non-engineers would perceive the common undergraduate engineering student as one who is left-brained, analytical, meticulous, and, ultimately, quite boring. Without a doubt these types of engineers exist: those that always have their nose in a textbook or are preparing for their next academic deadline or project. These types of individuals almost always excel in the classroom and are shoo-ins for technical, well-paying jobs after graduation.
But for every bookworm in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, there is a student who falls somewhere in the middle of the left-brain/right-brain spectrum; these students are creative, think outside-of-the-box, and most likely have a very different perspective on their engineering discipline that does his or her analytical counterpart. I’d like to briefly talk about my experience playing the drums (what I like to tout as my “right-brained” activity).
I started playing the drums in seventh grade after my dad bought me a beat-up kit for about $200. I took lessons for a year and have been teaching myself ever since. I am in a three-piece rock band back home (Brunswick, OH, just south of Cleveland); over the summer we practice quite a bit and try to write original material whenever we get the chance.
When I’m here at school, however, my musical urges are satisfied in a different way. Two of my roommates play guitar and bass respectively; the bass player is the bassist in my band from back home (we’re called Twelve On The High if you want to check us out). Rather than sitting down and writing discrete songs, we prefer to improvise and “jam” with one another. My roommate Brian, the guitarist, will present a riff to Nick and I and we will work off of that riff in an attempt to turn it into something great.
I would not be the person I am today without the influence that playing the drums has had on my life, but I would also not be the same from an academic and professional standpoint as well. To have the outlet of playing music is truly a blessing because it allows me to step back from my work as an engineer and use different parts of my brain that require me to think in different ways. I think playing the drums definitely improves my creativity and provides me with a fun and effective way to relieve stress.
To any student who is thinking about entering college as an engineer, I strongly recommend having some sort of “right-brained” activity that you enjoy doing to balance out the monotony of academic endeavors. Work-life balance is important to everyone, but, it is especially important to young students who are starting their careers.