If you’re a student at Florida Tech, you may or may not have noticed that you see engineers rather frequently (What?! NO!). Since this is a tech school, it comes with the territory. Because of the large differences between the engineering and science departments and my own, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to interact with people outside your classes. I’m here to tell you that engineers (even though some are awkward) make some of the best friends – and even if they don’t, you’re going to find yourself within ten feet (sorry, meters) of one at all times, anyway. I’m here to give you a step-by-step guide on how to befriend an engineer.
Step 1: Select a target.
Not just any engineer is going to automatically make a good friend for you. You’re going to have to find someone who has interests similar to yours. Find an engineer that you’re vaguely familiar with, through classes, clubs or other interactions. Decide whether or not you can see yourself becoming friends with this individual. If you can see that potential, lock onto your target of potential friendship (disclaimer: I AM NOT TELLING YOU TO STALK ANYONE. JUST TO DECIDE ON SOMEONE YOU’D LIKE TO BEFRIEND).
Step 2: Infiltrate the engineer’s home ground and arena.
Yes, you know what I’m talking about: Olin Engineering Complex, colloquially known as OEC. It’s the training ground and play land of the elusive engineering subspecies. If you’re going to be friends with an engineer, you’ll need to be familiar with this space and be comfortable navigating it. Perks to the promised land of engineers include: lots of vending machines for convenient snacking, plenty of corridors to play hide ‘n’ seek in and a lounge with tons of study spots and walls to write on (and a TV!).
Step 3: Approach the engineer.
Now you are ready to say hello to your prospective friend. Do not flare your nostrils or try to make yourself look bigger, as this may startle the engineer. I recommend approaching with a non-threatening conversation topic in mind, or perhaps a neutral or positive stimulus to present to the engineer at hand – I recommend Legos.
Step 4: Try Not to Be Creepy
At this point, you should attempt to have a normal conversation with the engineer. You may discuss sports, clubs, work, the weather or any other topic you find suitable. WARNING: Things that are appropriate to discuss among those in your department may not apply to the university at large. For example, while it is socially acceptable (and very common) to discuss one’s favorite serial killers in the forensic psychology department, this may cause other students to become alarmed, lock their doors and begin to sleep with their eyes open. Learn this lesson early on, before you frighten to many people into oblivion.
If all of these steps go well, CONGRATULATIONS! Despite your differences, you have made a shiny new engineer friend. In all seriousness, having friends from all different walks of life and fields of study is one of the most amazing parts of going to school at Florida Tech. I’ve met so many people from all parts of the world with such varied interests. We’re a school of cool people, so my PSA for today is to get out and meet someone new. Listen to their story!