WRITING!... agian

Within my fraternity, Delta Upsilon, there are a couple of brothers who are declared engineering majors. Merely for being engineers they have courses that are core to all engineering majors. Classes such as physics, chemistry, and calculus; further, many of these classes have laboratories to go with them. Later on, after the discipline within engineering is declared there are many classes more specific to that field, for example mechanical engineers will take statics, and dynamics, and fluids. There are, of course, SAGES courses that all students need to complete. By graduation, all students are required to take two in-department SAGES courses.

All of these classes have their own kinds of writing requirements. In the engineering and science classes, most of the writing is homework and class notes. Writing on those documents tends be heavy with equations, charts, and scientific properties. In upper-level classes, students need to write papers in conjunction with engineering projects in order to explain what precisely said project is about. There is also the oddball short writing assignment. The hardest papers are probably those assigned in engineering ethics, dealing with the various ethical dilemmas that engineers face.

In labs, students need to write the obligatory lab report, a long, obtuse piece of writing that is so dense with terminology that a person practically needs a dictionary to translate it sentence by sentence. Unfortunately only a very limited portion of these labs have any real creativity in it, due to the highly refined layout they are required to follow. Within a lab report, it is the abstract that paraphrases the entire lab, and the conclusion that sums up the results vs. expectations, after that, the rest of the lab is numbers and step-by-step descriptions of procedure.

Finally there are the SAGES courses, which are writing seminars. Obviously in a writing seminar there is a great deal of writing, as per the name. Since in later years, it is within the department, engineers take seminars taught by engineering professors, and write the papers required of them. After those classes, there is the senior capstone, a wide-ranging assignment that takes the entire year to complete and comprises of many pages of essay and analysis.

As an engineer, writing is designed to help specifically with what is needed in the job market, to write reports, drafts, and offers. All papers assigned while studying are there to help students learn and get used to what they will be writing once they graduate. Since this is the case, writing is nothing more than an instrument used to convey information in a standardized format for others to interpret.


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