You, an engineer, grab coffee with a friend whom you haven’t seen in a year. You say your greetings, find a seat, and chat. They ask how your classes are going, and you reply with a laugh, “They’re going!” as you cry a little on the inside.
Because Tech is tough, life is hard, and existence is suffering.
“Yeah, classes are so tough,” your friend sympathizes. “I’m stressed and busy all the time too.”
You ask them if they’re taking [insert engineering class]. There’s a silence. Your friend shifts in their seat; they sip their coffee before answering.
“Actually, I, uh, switched to business last semester.”
The other shoe has dropped.
Switched to business last semester… to business… business…
The other shoe has plowed through the table and is hurtling towards the Earth’s core.
Emotion wells up in your chest; you stand and proclaim to Starbucks how much more difficult your life is as an engineer! How dare your business major friend complain about their “stress” or “being busy” or “studying”! The audacity!
You stand up, throw your coffee in your friend’s face, and leave without a backwards glance. Business majors, you mutter under your breath. You could never be friends with a person who thinks that business is stressful. Business majors don’t know stress. Only engineers are stressed, and we have it the worst.
If that situation sounds remotely familiar (plus or minus some minor details), then congratulations! You’re an engineering elitist!
Engineering elitist: n. A student majoring in a division of engineering who believes that studying engineering entitles them to belittle others’ problems (mainly stress and other difficulties college students often face)
Student 1 (non-engineer): Wow, I’m so busy and stressed. I haven’t slept in 2 days--
Student 2: *pops out of bushes* I haven’t showered OR slept in a week, and I have TWENTY MIDTERMS in the next THREE HOURS! You think YOU have it bad? I HAVE IT WAY WORSE!
Student 1: Dude, stop being such an engineering elitist…
See also: elitist nerd, inadequate hygiene, antisocial, sleep deprivation
In all seriousness, engineering elitism champions the idea that “having it worse makes you better” - and it’s unfortunately common. This attitude could be a product of meme culture, a stressful environment, or simply growing up in a generation that compares itself to trash cans for humor. Regardless of how it came to be, it fosters a mindset that’s detrimental to the person who holds it.
Slaving away all night to a thermodynamics problem set may need more technical brain power than creating a presentation for health class, yet both activities require dedication, effort, and most importantly, time.
Just because you chose to study engineering does not mean that your study time is any more valuable than someone else’s. Just because you “have it worse” does not mean that anyone else’s problems are lesser than yours.
Yes, engineering is tough. It requires a thorough understanding of higher mathematical concepts, as well as the ability to apply those concepts to a number of situations with undefined, often unpredictable variables. If you study engineering, you have every right to be proud of what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come - it just doesn’t make you better than anyone else.
If you’re bitter because you stayed up working on SolidWorks while your business major friend went to bed before 11, stop it. It was your poor life decision; don’t hate your poor friend for making a better one.
If you’re smug because you got an internship at SpaceX and most of your classmates are still searching, stop it. Jay-Z never had an internship and has made more history (and money) than you will make in three lifetimes.
If you’re disdainful because someone else complains about how stressed they are but you have it a million times worse, stop it. You don’t know how they feel, and you have no right to project your own insecurities by making them feel smaller.
Stop it, you engineering elitists. The rest of us have problems, too.