Ph.D., National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
Graduate Institute of Applied Geology
In this article, I would like to share my experience studying a “less popular” major. When it comes to such majors, “independent” disciplines often fall under this category. These are the ones that do not fit into existing intercollegiate competitions and end up forming their own league. I attended the “National Cheng Kung University Department of Resources Engineering,” a member of this independent league, often referred to as a “less popular major.”
Choosing the “Less Popular” Major:
When the university entrance exam results were announced, I learned that I had been accepted into National Cheng Kung University, but I couldn’t quite make out the specific department on the phone. Eventually, I discovered that I got into the Department of Resources Engineering. Back then, most people were pursuing popular majors, and I ended up choosing this major because I enjoyed natural sciences and found it intriguing.
Understanding the Department:
Initially, I had no clear idea about the field of Resources Engineering. People often mistook it for waste recycling due to the rising popularity of the term “resources recycling.” In my freshman year, I took courses in geology, which helped me understand the connection between resources engineering and earth sciences. Later, I delved into mineralogy, petrology, petroleum engineering, mining engineering, and resource processing. I learned that we were once called the “Mining and Petroleum Engineering Department,” but we later renamed ourselves to “Resources Engineering” due to the lack of abundant minerals in Taiwan.
Choosing to Stay in the Major:
During my college years, I considered transferring to other majors but ultimately decided to stay because of my interest in the volleyball team associated with the department. I became the team captain in my sophomore year and took the responsibility of managing the team. This experience taught me many valuable lessons and provided me with a sense of belonging.
Continuing with Postgraduate Studies:
After completing my undergraduate studies, I continued with postgraduate studies and pursued a master’s degree. At the master’s level, I researched the slope stability problem affected by earthquakes. Subsequently, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. and shifted my focus to seismic-induced groundwater anomalies under the guidance of Professor Kuo-Chin Hsu.
Challenges and Transformation:
The Ph.D. journey was a turning point in my life. The topics I researched were entirely different from my master’s thesis, and the program required extensive use of English for presentations, reports, and discussions. While this was a challenge, it also led to significant personal growth. Despite some initial reluctance, I persevered and learned valuable skills.
Career Path and Realizations:
Upon completing my Ph.D. and military service, I worked as a researcher in the industrial-academic projects at the Georesources Research Center of National Cheng Kung University. This experience opened my eyes to practical issues and the importance of sustainability. I found my calling in making contributions to Taiwan and its future, which motivated me to become a teacher and guide students toward meaningful paths.
Studying a “less popular” major may not seem glamorous, but it provides unique perspectives and opportunities for personal development. The key is to understand oneself and what one desires for the future. Each individual’s journey, no matter how diverse, shapes them into who they are today. It’s essential to walk the path that feels right, and in time, it may lead to unexpected and fulfilling destinations.