I found out today that I passed my Professional Engineer exam, which is great news! Oddly, I don’t feel any different. It’s been 11 long years since I started college, just to get to this point. I suppose this has all been the preamble to some much larger and longer set of events. At the end of the day, I was still doing about the same stuff I was doing before. Now, I have a seal, though, that says at least I’m not a total idiot. Okay, I still actually have to purchase the seal, but whatever.
I still have this nagging suspicion that this is all just some mix-up, and that once the Commonwealth of Virginia gets everything sorted out, they’ll send me my letter stating how I really didn’t pass. Knowing me (and I do), I’ll have that same feeling even after they send me any letter stating that I passed. I’ll probably feel that way until the statute of limitations has run out on such letters, and even then I may always wonder… (Well, that’s about enough self-doubt for one paragraph.)
Just as a side note, I have some other professional goals that go beyond this point. However, this is a big deal to me. Virginia isn’t a state that seems to care much one way or the other about professional licensure among engineers. However, in Tennessee (where I grew up and went to college), they really made it a big deal. The word “engineer” is reserved for only those people who have passed a similar exam (well, it would have been the exact same exam in my case). I think that’s pretty cool. The fact that I’ve held the title of Structural Engineer for the past 3–1/2 years kind of takes some of the air out of actually passing an 8‑hour exam (which required 4 years of experience to even apply for). I suppose now I’ll actually say what my job is in more than a passing mumble and without the asterisk in my mind that says *not really, not yet anyway.