Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by vinder, Mar 7, 2002.
congrats its an accomplishment that never ceases to impress me.
Nice one Big Ups Vinder!
hey matt, do you wear yours all the time?
Congrats... and I'm truly sorry. That goddamn thing has been an albatross for me, personally.
Dreams on hold
Life plans unravel when a student's university major puts logic before passion
by Michael Kanert
SPECIAL TO THE STAR
I had a very simple, logical plan: I would go to university for four years, get a degree that would land me a respectable job, and then safely pursue my true passions knowing that I had something reliable to fall back on when I needed to put food on the table. It was watertight — so watertight, in fact, that when my resolve melted and I tried to escape a year and a half later, I was completely powerless to do so.
I was an academic juggernaut in high school. I was the top graduating student in my region with a near-perfect average. I loved English, art and drama, but I also excelled in math and science. So when it came time to choose a university degree, I decided that I should enrol in a challenging program that required a high academic standing and opened as many doors as possible. Law and medicine didn't appeal to me, so I chose engineering. I didn't even consider the arts. I sadly acknowledged that living through creativity was just a childish dream, and I couldn't justify paying tens of thousands of dollars for a degree that wouldn't provide any return on my investment. My parents agreed that this was a rational plan, and off I went with a sizeable scholarship to gain the skills that would propel me into my triumphant future.
Things went a little downhill from there.
I struggled through my first year. It wasn't that the work was unreasonably difficult; I simply lost all interest in studying. In high school, arts and science had balanced each other in such a way that my work in one had seemed to be a refreshing break from the other. But there were no such breaks in engineering, and while the arts came naturally to me, science required a dint of effort that I hadn't previously recognized. I would often work for hours on assignments without plodding an inch closer to a solution, and while I had once graciously brushed aside acclamations of my academic genius, I started to avoid studying simply because I didn't want to be reminded of my inadequacy. I always worried that I was falling behind, so I felt that I couldn't spare any time to write, draw or act. I stopped caring. I worked, but I took no pleasure in it.
My marks plummeted. I could barely force myself to muddle through enough of my assignments to put something on paper before going to a classmate for the solutions. My brain simply shut down when I opened a textbook. And while I wanted to pour my soul into a passage of literary eloquence or a heartfelt soliloquy, I could find no beauty in an equation. But I needed to maintain a high average to uphold my scholarship, so I kept forcing myself back to the books, ramming my head against the wall again and again, forbidding myself any fulfilling diversion.
I could have transferred. I wanted to transfer. But I would get a good job when I was done, and it would be worth four years of misery. Employment was the carrot at the end of the stick that was leading me on.
Two months into my second year, I realized that I didn't even want the carrot. It wasn't that I simply disliked my courses — I didn't want to be an engineer. Every aspect of my education had been a struggle against my passions and inclinations. Was that how I wanted to spend the rest of my life?
I tried to escape. I filled out the forms to transfer into English. I didn't care about getting a job any more. Logic was no longer a factor. I just wanted to get out. I was flailing wildly as the water seemed to be rising around me.
Before submitting the paperwork, I went home to explain my intentions to my parents. I was making a dangerous decision, and as it would limit my ability to find summer jobs that paid well enough to cover my expenses, I would need both their financial and emotional support.
I received neither. I was buffeted with the same logic that had hitherto held me to my course: Why pay for a degree that wouldn't get me a job? They threatened to stop supporting me if I transferred, and that stopped me dead in my tracks. I had no rational counter-argument. I didn't have the experience or perspective to make informed decisions. Second year was always the hardest. Just two more years. When I was done, I would be glad I'd stuck with it.
I hated my parents for that, and I hated myself for giving in so easily. I felt like a wounded soldier being sent back into the trenches. The problem was, I wasn't failing. I wasn't working myself into the ground. There were no external signs that something was wrong. I just felt like I was trapped in a jar, but I couldn't explain it in such a way that it sounded important enough for my parents to take me seriously.
So I told them I had considered killing myself.
That sent them into a frenzy. I had to pretend I'd been kidding just so they'd let me go. It wasn't so bad. I'd be fine. They didn't need to worry about me. It was just an emotional outburst.
The entirety of my life could be defined as a sustained emotional outburst.
But I went back. Lacking any taste for the carrot, the stick on which it dangled served only to thrash me, and I sank deeper into resentment for a hopeless situation. I gradually grew numb to the once-intolerable rebuffs of fruitless effort and lacklustre performance, and I was actually relieved when I lost my scholarship at the end of the year. It removed my only remaining external standard. But I became intolerantly bitter, and I hated my course of study for making me so. My wonderfully positive attitude eventually helped push away my girlfriend of three years.
But I persevered. I stuck with it. I graduated. And while I doubt that much of my engineering knowledge will survive the year, I did learn several things that will stay with me into the future. I learned persistence. I learned humility. I learned that I have undeniable limitations. I learned many things of which I would rather have remained ignorant.
But I also learned that I cannot deny my true passions.
I thought I would grow out of my childish dreams, but I can't. The words, "I want to be an actor or writer" sound so infantile, but every play I see makes me want to leap onstage, every book I read drives me to write and create. I don't think I can stop myself from pursuing the route of artistic expression. Perhaps I had to wrestle a mighty enemy at the crossroads for four years just to be sure of my determination to follow the right path.
thanks everyone! although i don't remember starting this thread last night, as i was quite smashed. but it's nice to feel the love
p.s. yes i know the story, yes another brown engineer in the brown army, no i will not do the clinking of my ring on a beer bottle or glass, oh and yes, ERTW
p.p.s respect, did you write that story in the star, above? ^^^
AHAHHAHAH.......I laugh so hard everytime I see that on a university jacket.
respect, did you write that?
my older brother had a similar dilemma when he dropped out of engineering science at u of t. his true passion was business.
he got a TON of flack from my parents for dropping out. so much so that he moved out of the house before he was ready. now he is probably the most financially successful person that i know.
he's also patched things up with my folks.
You talking to me?
I wear it all the time now, but I only got it replaced a few months ago. I lost it about two years ago, hence why you wouldn't have seen me wearing it up until now.
engineering chews soooooooooo many people..
it takes the right personality to get through.. or alot of strength & tolerance..
personally... there were times when i felt like i was this >< close to breaking..
but im still here.. barely, but here...
ps. got an A on my design thesis >> mixer with band assignable curves on the CF.. ie. you can have a sharp curve for the lows and smooth curves for the mids and highs!
got fitted for my ring TODAY!
another interesting note...
Green Velvet was a chemical engineer before he decided he didnt want to be part of the corperate world and decided to become a house star!
follow your dreams dude.. if you dont, no one will do it for you..
the question is - did you get the iron ring, or the stainless steel ring???
my understanding is that only u of t actually offers the rusty rings
tommy <-- rusty ring wearer
way to go vinder...i totally respect anyone who completes this crazy program...i had quite a few friends graduate & have a pretty good idea of the crazy hell you've went through to get to today...how come you never played hockey for engineering @ uoft???
ps i have a few stories about stealing or attempting to steal hardhats at frosh week (it was one of the items i put on our scavenger hunt when i ran frosh week @ scarborough )
Good for you Vinder.
Your ring no doubt also symolizes all those sacrifices and missed parties that you've had to suffer through. Wear it with pride!
you are correct sir. u of t is the only school that still offers real iron rings. i got the iron one, and to prove it, after last night's festivities my pinky finger already has rust on it....
No (the style's not bitter enough!), but I could relate to everything dude said. The picture the article came with had a guy wearing handcuffs with a degree on the other end. For me, that's exactly what it's like. I've quit several times and done my own thing, some say even successfully, but it always seems to come back to engineering... it's what you know, what you've built competence and capital in, and you become addicted to the lifestyle it affords you, even though my soul is being leached into the ether, never to be reclaimed...
(then again, the book(tm) would have never been written without the angst attached to that stainless steel bastard on my little finger... aggravation is fuel for great writing!)
GO VINDER! GO VINDER!!!
Brownie power Activate!
"Precious, precious, precious! My Precious! O my Precious!"
"I will take the Ring," he said, "though I do not know the way."
the scary thing is, the rust seems to come and go, sometimes there will be months between rust stains, but looking at pinky right now, i've got a new rust stain.
GO IRON GO!!!
oh yeah, and CONGRATS!
Q : What do you call a Sikh karaoke singer?
A : Gettupan Singh
when do the comp eng's get em?
I find I lose sensations and get blue balls when I... uh? ohhhhhH!
You mean you're officially engineeeeer!
Good on ya man
Separate names with a comma.