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Sorry, MAX! I have to disagree with you about the soldering issue. IF my child or grandchild came to me to relate that during his previous semester @ college, he learned how to solder, the first thing I would do is to REMOVE him from that school & find another engineering school which focuses on the theory AND application of the engineering discipline for which he (or she) is enrolled. And, IF it was my grandchild, then I'd HOUND the child's parents to do the same! A person goes to college PRIMARILY to learn to THINK!...... What that person learns to think about is secondary. College is the forum to develop a process to solve problems..... nothing more.
Remember something..... Back in the late 1950s, 1960s, 1970s (maybe, even to the present), the desks of I-B-M employees & the top face of the "360" Mainframes had a small plaque prominently displayed with ONE word on it. And, that word was, THINK. Kind of says a lot!!!!!
Secondly, I have noticed very prominent examples of poor English language usage in many articles, whether in print magazines, or in their on-line versions. Now, I'm NOT referring to MAD magazine, for example. I'm referring to our popular technical magazines: MACHINE DESIGN, EDN, ECN, ELECTRONIC DESIGN, etc. It is an abomination to me that with the almost infinite power of modern-day wordprocessing software (think WORD) that spelling errors, grammatical errors, etc. should be a part of the copy. Even full-page advertisements are NOT immune to this. Where have all the human copy editors gone? (Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?)....... from SIMON & GARFUNKEL THE GRADUATE & Mrs. Robinson
We also have skilled technicians with stereo microscopes and an array of 'interesting' tools (besides the electronic controlled soldering iron). All sorts of interesting little widgets for picking up surface mount parts. Hot 'spatulas' for separating a part from the board, and a hot air gun with a dozen attachments.
And wise people that they are, they don't let Engineers anyway near their stations.
If they do know about end wrenches it is not because of school. They absolutely do not teach that in Mechanical Engineering.
No, most likely your mechanical engineer had an interest in wrenches before going to school. I suspect that is true for most EEs as well.
I assembled my first AM radio kit in middle school. Lots of parts! All through hole, of course. 1970, after all. Tuning the IF transformers was tedious, but educational as well.
I also had a mechanical interest in my youth as well, tearing apart the B&S on the lawn mower when I was eight or nine. Dad wasn't completely pleased, but he used it as an educational opportunity. I got the engine back togther fine, but I messed up the carburator. Through high school, I worked on a large dairy farm, where I learned rudimentary 'stick' welding skills, and basic wrenching. I also raced dirt track and motocross, and had to learn advanced mechanical skills, because what farm boy can afford to pay shop labor rate on a race bike? After high school, I worked professionally as a motorcycle mechanic for six years. I still have my Snap-On tool box and full set of hand tools and measurement tools.