The interconnectedness of our modern society is an amazing and beautiful thing to behold. Many processes mesh to bring us modern technologies. My favorite example of this, and the reason why I want to be an aeronautical engineer, is the plane.
Every plane has started out as something pulled from the ground. The base ore is extracted from mines and transported to smelting facilities. The high-grade metal from the smelting facilities is then formed into the parts needed for the plane. Those parts are taken and riveted and welded together to form the skeleton of the plane. This is just for the metal; it does not include the cloth, plastics, composites, glass, or other materials needed. Nor does it include all the tools that were used at each step, like trucks, mining and smelting machines, or computers. Each of those tools has an interconnected process behind them and behind those the same.
At each step of the above process is people. Each doing their individual job to work together to create something much larger than themselves. There are people with doctorate degrees that design the parts, but without the miners or smelters, there would be no material for those parts to be made. Without the airport staff, engineers, factory workers, software programmers, pilots, and others collaborating, flying on a plane would be impossible at today’s scale.
In each of those positions, different skill sets are needed. I am thankful for the diversity of thought that humans have. I have no love for electricity, but I am glad others do so that I can enjoy all the benefits that come with it, and in turn, they can enjoy the benefits that I bring to society. Everybody has their own strengths, and place in this world; it just needs to be found.
I remember what my uncle told me before I left for college. He said, do not think just because you have a degree that you are all-knowing and better than the people on the shop floor. Those people have years of practical experience which I should learn from and work with. That has stuck with me, because it is completely true. Without them building what I design, I would not have a job. It also shows the trust needed between people of different roles in order to accomplish the bigger picture.
When you look around, these huge systems are everywhere; the power grid, food at the supermarket, healthcare, the oil industry, and your smartphone are all examples. It is quite humbling to think about the great things that humanity has done, and I am excited to be a part of it and further what humans are capable of doing.