ivy covered tears

Stoopid and dum.
Another evening spent with friends drinking beer and eating food; I live a decent life, y’know?

So yeah, this new Wolf Parade album is good, I can’t argue with that. It reminds me of the Arcade Fire; it reminds me of Modest Mouse; it’s way better than their last album (unless I just dismissed it without enough focus, which is entirely possible). Anyway, I’m diggin’ this new one a lot.

I read this page with interest the other day, casting my memory back to my days as a young engineer-in-training. I graduated high school in the top ten of my class, which I don’t think really says much… that shit was so laughably easy anyone willing to go one bongless night a week had a shot at valedictorian. After high school, I decided to take a full scholarship to the local community college – and buy CDs with the living expense and book stipends while staying at home with my folks. Two years at this high-school+ didn’t really give my brain much of a workout above and beyond what high school had. I still skipped class 50% of the time, crammed the night before exams, and basically stood laughing and masturbating on the supposedly college-level course material. (Dave, why did you say “masturbating” in that last sentence? Man, that’s a good question… I think I used it to communicate just how ridiculous what was supposed to be “higher education” was, and to show my complete lack of respect for it.) Anyway, two years walking the not-so-hallowed halls of that GED warehouse and I was on my way to a real school, a state school.

Somewhere along the line, I’d decided I wanted to be a math major. I ate up math; loved it hardcore. I wanted to get deep into the fringe maths, Galois Theory, automoprhisms, all that abstract stuff. However, shortly before I actually had to register for classes at State U, I realized that there was no money in math. There was, however, money in other math-intensive fields like engineering. I liked computers, I liked math – computer engineering seemed right. So, I set about enrolling for all the courses I’d need to get on the path to my newly chosen degree. That first year, I had to take a few “general education” courses that didn’t fully transfer from my fake-college – namely Physics I & II. In high school, I was a physics champeen… I rocked that dang class. Came out with a shiny new A and carried it through the year. That is to say, the prospect of taking physics at State U did not scare me in the least.

Oh shit was I naive. Physics at State U kicked my ass. I had never really heard the term “weed out class” before, but apparently State U made the “pre” engineering degree courses harder than a Viagra overdose victim’s peener to try and “filter” out those prospects who might not have the gumption to complete the higher level courses. Physics at State U was effing torture. I couldn’t believe it, I used to be good at this stuff… what was wrong with me? My first semester at “real” college – I bombed Physics I. The same simple Newtonian stuff I breezed through in high school mopped the floor with me at State U. Not even six months into college-proper and I’d already permanently damaged my GPA. I was thrown for a loop, and considered whether I was really cut out for an engineering degree. However, I decided to have another go at it – and the second time I made it. Physics II was no walk in the park either, and Statics put me through the wringer again… nearly handing me my 2nd F. Thusly, I came to realize – I was not good at physics at all; in fact, I sucked at physics. I made a mental note to stay away from all physics… as I just couldn’t get it, no matter how hard I tried. I mean, it’s statics folks, everything equals zero. How hard can a math class be where you always know that whatever you write down will equal zero?! I’ll tell you: frickin’ hard.

There were some bright spots, I trounced Differential Equations, dominated Discrete Mathematics, and walked all over Statistics (not the wimpy statistics, the one taught through the mathematics department – with triple integrals and shit). But for the most part, the College of Engineering kicked my ass. I mean, at certain points throughout my quest for a degree I literally thought I would have a breakdown. The workload often kept me up till the AMs, and I always had the feeling that the material was on the very fringes of my ability to comprehend and process. At one point I was loaded down with 16 credit hours, in a vain attempt to make up for the failed physics class, and I did have a true breakdown. Here I was, twenty-something years old and crying on my bed that I couldn’t do it, that it was too hard. For me at least, it really was that hard. Because of this, my stellar standards of high school performance didn’t carry through to college – and I ended up with a degree that was a year and a half late in coming and a GPA that demonstrated the hanging-on-by-fingernails nature of my accomplishments. Somehow though, I managed to keep my scholarship the entire time (they lowered the required GPA the semester I bombed physics, pursuant to the serendipitous nature of my life)… and didn’t end up too terribly in the hole for my ass-whooping of an education. And what’s more, I was an engineer! I had a paper from State U that said so, and I knew words like inductance and linked-list.

I wanted to write more, but then I decided that this was enough. Goodnight.

Also written on this day...

One Reply to “ivy covered tears”

  1. I know I am way late, but I really enjoyed reading this. I can totally relate but I gave up and you didn’t. Good for you! I regret giving up now 15 years later, even though I almost make as much as I would if I would have stayed. It isn’t about the money, it is the pain of being defeated that bothers me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *