I found having education in a number of different areas of engineering to be beneficial to the work I am doing.
There is a whole world of possibilities out there for engineers, and it is difficult to know what subjects are necessary for the industry you will end up in. I was always interested in robotics and environmental issues, but it was not until my Masters that I really knew what I wanted to do.
General entry courses are quite useful, as you get a taste for a few different areas before you have to specialise, a lot of companies offer on the job training, and there is also the possibility of further study.
An engineering qualification teaches you so much more than just the technical subjects, but a way of looking at the world and solving problems in a logical and systematic way.
Engineers are sought after for these skills as much as the technical ones, and it opens up incredible opportunities. Engineering is not an easy route through college, but it is incredibly rewarding.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
Bipolar disorder is classified as a Mental Health Condition. It is a neurobiological disorder resulting in severe changes in mood. If you have bipolar disorder, you will have periods or "episodes" of depression - where you feel very low and lethargic, and mania - where you feel very high and overactive (less severe mania is known as hypomania). The symptoms of bipolar disorder depend on which mood you are experiencing. Unlike simple mood swings, each extreme episode of bipolar disorder can last for several weeks or longer, and some people may not experience a "normal" mood very often.
Bipolar disorder is relatively common. Around one person in 100 is diagnosed with the condition. Men and women from all backgrounds are equally likely to develop bipolar disorder.
Symptoms can begin in childhood, but more usually appear in adolescence or adulthood. Young people with the condition can have extremely high moods (mania) and low-moods (depression), often with swings between the two. Sometimes they may feel both extremes at the same time. Bipolar disorder is a condition requiring treatment with prescription medications.
As with most disorders, not all of the characteristics are experienced by those with the condition:
Diverse shifts in energy, moods and functioning abilities e.g High energy levels and needing litte sleep
Talking rapidly without allowing for interruption; move from one activity to the next very quickly
Be easily distracted;
Believe themselves to be indestructible and take risks
Moving to low energy levels needing constant sleep
Feeling low, sad, close to tears
Have some sensory integration problems
Feel worthless and a failure
IMPACT ON LEARNING SKILLS & DEVELOPMENT
Bipolar Disorder is chronic and can cause (major) disruption in schooling for children and adolescents.
Easily distracted and lacking in focus
Might be excessively happy and cause disruption by laughing hysterically for no reason, followed by a depressive episode with loss of interest in activities or a low mood
Sleepy or slowed down by affects of medication
Organisational skills may be challenged
Compromised acquisition of knowledge
Difficulty with academic demands - e.g completing tasks
Performing below potential
Learning Strategies and Supports
Be aware of the impact of any medications
Set short, clearly defined targets
Teach self-help and orgnaisational skills - use visual cues if necessary
Use ICT to motivate and support learning
Encourage the use of headphones to shut out noise and distracton and aid concentration
Appraoch large tasks and assignemnts in smaller blocks of work
Allow extra time for completion of assignments
At Third Level Education:
Bipolar Disorder is is one of the Mental Health Conditions covered under the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) system.
Details of the DARE screening criteria for applicants with Bipolar Disorder are available here.
Research findings from AHEAD released in 2015 show that, of the total disabled student population (9,694) at Third Level 2013/14 represented in the research, 1,054 (10.9%) have a Mental Health. The full report from AHEAD is available here.
In the Workplace
Under The Employment Equality Acts 1998-2011 and the Equal Status Acts 2000-2011 discrimination is outlawed in the areas of employment, vocational training and access to education, among others. Discrimination, based on any one of nine distinct grounds, including disability, is unlawful.
All employers must make reasonable adjustments to make the employment of people with disabilities possible. This can include people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses.
Many organisations now make public claims to be an "equal opportunities employer". This suggests the existence of an equal opportunities policy (EOP), which is a policy statement adopted by the organisation declaring an intent not to discriminate and, further, to promote equality by taking steps to aid disadvantaged groups. Such employers are in effect promising to avoid discrimination on grounds of sex or marital status, and may also make such a commitment in relation to people with a disability and racial and ethnic minorities.
IMPACT ON CAREER CHOICE
Skills for workplace success fall into two main categories: hard skills and and soft skills. Hard skills are job-specific and they vary, depending upon the industry or field in which you want to work. For example, a graphic artist must have the computer skills that go with that job.
Soft skills are the personal characteristics that go with a variety of jobs - they include social skills, problem solving, communication, time management, and organisation. For example, a person who prefers to work alone might find a research job particularly appealing. Explore Career Skills in more detail here.
People with bipolar disorder can benefit from completing a personal interest profilerand aptitude testing, which will help them identify potential career paths.
It is important to be realistic in weeding out any emerging jobs that might destabilise the symptoms e.g. jobs requiring frequent travel across time zones can disrupt sleep cycles, triggering attacks of mania. The requirements of certain jobs, such as night shifts, can be too much for someone with bipolar disorder.
Despite the challenges of Bipolar Disorder people with the condition can prosper in across all the high-achieving and fulfilling career paths. Research shows bipolar people to be unusually creative. Artists, Writers and Work in the arts are excellent career choices for people with Bipolar. This creativity can be used in other career areas besides the arts.
Managing the condition by taking full entitlement to lunch breaks and holidays for adequate down-time can help reduce symptoms. Adequate self–management sometimes requires flexible working hours. To request this, employees need to reveal their diagnosis. This can be a difficult thing for employees, but can alos be very worthwhile.
Working as a contractor can be a good way to minimise the stress of office politics and stringent routines. Within careers such as accountancy, law and engineering, there are vast opportunities for contract work. At senior levels it can be possible to earn more annually from contracting than permanent work.
People diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder may be prevented from entering certain career areas, e.g. the Military.
Famous People with Bipolar Disorder
Actors Cathering Zeta-Jones, Rowan Atkinson, Jack Nicholson, Jim Carey and Ben Stiller; Singers and Musicians Sinead O'Conner, Madonna and Macy Gray and Jimi Hendrix.