t's whatever you make of it. If you wait around for someone to make it exciting, you'll be waiting forever. If you get off your ass and make it exciting, it will be exciting. That might mean pushing for a particular job or particular company. It might mean quitting a comfortable job to take a risk at another. It might mean bucking the conventional wisdom of what your career is "supposed to follow". At least 50% of this is YOU. Perhaps more than 50%. If it's boring - it's YOU who has made it boring.
There is no such thing as "static" or permanent happiness - it's a function of your change in activity only without a non-derivative term.
To this day my family says I should just quit whatever risky venture I'm in and 'just get a "real" job at a big company'. They are brain-washed about this kind of thing which is sad but pathetically typical of the US these days
The US has become a nation of risk-averse cowards
Engineering school is learning everything you might need down the road and understanding the concepts associated. Your top skills are academic ability and drive.
Turns out, when you get into industry or graduate school, it's considerably different. There is no 'top'. There are just people who are effective and those who are not.
It sounds like you would really like the recognition that comes along with being really good at something. This isn't a bad thing, but try to parse out your real motivations. I could be completely off.
You're right in that there isn't a lot of recognition in engineering compared to peers. However, that does not mean you aren't excelling. You have to determine what excelling means to you. Does it mean that recognition? Does it mean completing certain tasks? Does it mean feeling challenged every day? Does it mean only completing certain kinds of tasks (for example, if a good portion of your job is paperwork, could you still feel like you were excelling?)?
But also be aware that there will be many sacrifices you'll have to make to 'excel'. Such as long hours, little personal time, traveling, not taking vacation, etc. I personally have found that I value other things much more than traditional 'achievement
If I have a job where I'm working on an interesting problem and I have control over it, I'm happy. I want my free time and vacation. I want to have an outside life.