Education, Engineering

Variations of people’s understanding of Logic and common sense.

Common Sense

During the course of my studying and throughout my life, I would have never expected that I would meet totally different people with different prospective. I never realized that common sense is not necessarily understandable by all kinds of people. Ever since I was growing up, my father used to tell me how to work my mind and realize things by logic. It was natural and only required guidance when I was a kid. With time passing, I implemented the concept of logic, common sense, and critical thinking almost in every aspect of my life. It became a habit and a second nature that helped me throughout my personal life, college and later on at work. Throughout my life I have come across many people who literally can’t understand that if you tilt a bottle filled with liquid with no cap on, the liquid will start pouring on the floor. You might think am exaggerating with this simple example but trust me I am not. There are people out there that cannot realize the logic behind simple facts and the chain reaction it can produce!

Being an engineer, it is very crucial that you realize common sense. There is that engineering logic and common sense that differentiate the engineer from the doctor, lawyer or simple worker (no offence to all occupation as they are all equally important). However, if you are an engineer and you are lacking this ability, then it is safe to say that you only hold a degree of engineering but no engineering at all. The critical thinking resulted from understanding the common sense shall not be underestimated. Like I stated earlier, I used to think that all people can realize it but they don’t. Let’s take this example I had from my previous work, a pump failed due to overload (when the motor withdraws too much current) and tripped. Before I came to know about the issue, the people involved (with no disrespect intended) spent almost 2 months without figuring out the problem and just assumed that it was due to wrong assembly. They re-assembled the pump and again failed to the same problem. The third time when it happened, the problem was assigned to me to investigate. My first thought was that, if the motor was overloading, that means that the motor is requiring more power to turn the shaft which indicates that there was friction and something obstructing the movement of the shaft. This basic logical assumption led me to investigate the service of the pump and what are the possible reasons that might affect mechanical properties of the shaft after confirming that assembly was conducted properly. It turns out, that the pump was a steam condensate pump which is a high temperature operation that affects the thermal expansion of the pump components.  These pumps, and any pump in general, when subjected to higher temperatures than designed and/or was running dry will develop higher shaft diameter due to thermal expansion which will then lead to higher friction on the bearings and bushings of the pump. As a result, the motor will withdraw more current to overcome the friction and hence a trip or severe failure will occur to the pump internals. It turns out that after obtaining all necessary data, the case was as stated earlier and the operations department did operate the pump several times dry. I know this a bit technical and seems straight forward. However, the engineers (who were given the title due to experience only not a degree) did not realize that and couldn’t understand that even after explanation. I was shocked of how some people can really be stubborn and not welling to understand the logic behind anything.

Too many similar situations I have faced socially or during conduction of transactions with different people that I can’t remember at the moment. However, I hope that the example I stated prior can meet the purpose of this blog. Moreover, it is very vital to realize that not everybody understands logic and relate to it. This is the first step that you have to take in order to be able to know how to deal with people with lack of common sense understanding and try to elevate the mentality of the people around you to have the same logical mentality, common sense understanding, and critical thinking.


Studying for the Knowledge or for the Degree?

Ever since I started studying, my father used to tell me, Son, you should study for the knowledge not the degree and always depend on yourself in getting the knowledge the best way you can. I wasn’t a straight A’s student but I tried my best and became a B student. I remember when I was in high school, our math teacher used to give us below the minimum requirement at school so we go and take private lessons at his house with ridiculous amount of money. So, I went to my father and told him, “Dad, listen I need some money so I can take the private lessons and enhance my overall performance as math had a big impact on the overall score” and he replied, “I’d rather have you as a D student with your own effort, than an A student with the help of others”. Back then, it seemed like that was the best excuse for me to not get a good score. But then I said to myself, why would my father say such thing in a very important phase in my life? It was that point when I decided that I take this as a challenge and show my father that I can depend on myself and achieve the best score I can. During the final exams, I’ve done pretty well, in fact, I scored the highest marks in all subjects except two; Math and Arabic. These two subjects were weighted heavily on the overall score and that’s why I go a B+. It was then I realized that my potentials are very high only if I believe in myself and perform accordingly. I took this mentality and applied it in College, however, it was a different system and there were a multiple variables that were unclear to me in the beginning. I was an A student in the first year and it was great. However, in the second year, one of the final exams I received a zero out of a hundred because somebody was cheating from me! The instructor didn’t inform me of that during the exam, but after a week when we received the papers. Despite all my efforts to convince them that I was not an accomplice in this situation, they just didn’t care. Anyways, I learned a hard lesson that day that no matter what you do, there will always be obstacles and struggles that will depress you and slow your progress down. Some people might take this in a negative way and drop out or don’t put in all the effort required. Nonetheless, I remembered what my father used to tell me and that these situations will only make you stronger if you take them as a challenge. Similar situations to this situation have been reoccurred to me in college like 30 times during my study at college. Not in the same exact scenario but similar injustice and depressive action. In fact, I remember in my Junior year, I came to my father and said “Dad, I will quit, I can’t take this injustice anymore, you keep on studying hard and you’re not getting good grades due to irrelative issues!” my father just looked at me quietly with a face full of wisdom, playing with his beard that became white after it took its toll from all the experience he had in his life, and he said “Son, if you are studying for the degree, you will never achieve the proper knowledge and in the real life, you might work but you will never progress. However, if you are studying for the knowledge and pursuing your passion, you will do so great in real life that everybody will start hating on you. You will see these students who have high marks due to cheating are in a standing still situation in the real life and you will see the students who are studying only for the degree will also be stagnant in the real world. It is up to you whether to be stagnant in life and roll down the stream or you can be a leader who can swim against any stream and move up the ladder of society. If you don’t see it, just man up and face your obstacles like a man and you will eventually see it”. Needless to say, from that moment on, I decided to overcome any obstacle and graduate with a proper knowledge base rather than with only a degree and an empty base. I did graduate but with a low score 2.24 CGPA. However, since I started working, I have achieved a level of senior engineer in 3 years and all the guys who have graduated with me still in the training program even though they achieved higher scores back in college. The look on my father’s face when I told him about all of this is priceless. I am glad that I have achieved what I have achieved and I will never stop learning and progressing in my life.