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Interestingly, this poem is viewed as "pastoral" or "natural" and as such is seldom brought into a discussion of "engineering." But since Frost is talking about the consequences of making, or not making a choice, the "philosophy" behind the poem is relevant to any situation where someone must "make a choice" without being able (putatively) to see all the consequences of that choice. An engineer, for example, might have to choose between two materials or between two methods of solving an engineering problem. There is a term -- "opportunity cost" -- that business and finance and science use to quantify the hidden expense of choosing one "path" over another. For an engineering example, take the choice between less than perfect materials: while metal piping may be longer-lasting than PVC piping in a plumbing construction, the concomitant cost of metal piping might hurt the budget for the project, thereby causing even more precarious decisions down the line. Frost's point is that we can almost never "see around the corner" of our "path" decisions and therefore must always ponder whether choosing another would have "made all the difference." Innovative and competitive practices for an engineering student, then, have the hidden "opportunity cost" of not benefitting from the tradition tried-and-true practices.
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