Last Thursday I had the opportunity to work with a co-worker, T., who was from India. As we chatted, she mentioned that her son was 18 and was applying to college. When I asked about his major, before the word flew out of her mouth, I somehow knew that her answer would be “engineering.”

“How did I know that you were going to say that?”

She laughed and said that everyone in India wanted to go to engineering school. I told her that I was sponsoring a girl in India, and she also wanted to be an engineer. T. told me the reason for this obsession with engineering was due to the fact that in India, if you obtained a technical degree, you could do anything; it opened up more doors for you.

“For example, I got an architecture degree, and my husband is a physicist.” She is now an accountant.

It made sense to me. I asked her if her son went to private school, and she quickly shook her head. “He goes to ____ Public,” she said. He had applied to all of the local state schools, but was now working on his applications to the Ivy Leagues.

“I hope he goes to the state schools, because I don’t want to pay for the other ones. With the economy, his college fund has been going down the drain.”

I sympathized. No doubt her 529 funds took some heavy losses. But if he got accepted to an Ivy League school, I have no doubt that she would be as proud as a peacock.