I remember when I was 17, and I had to choose which program that I wanted to take at UBC.
Although I had a passion for computers and a dream to be a computer guru a la Steve Wozniak, I decided that Engineering would be the much better choice. I was being realistic. At the time, everyone was going to computers. I reasoned out that I didn’t want my passion for computers to become my job. I thought that I would lose my love for computers and that if it became my job, it would become a mundane part of my life.
That’s what I told myself. The truth… the absolute truth was because I had a notion that graduate from an engineering program brought in more money than a lowly peon computer programmer would. I was being realistic. I was being practical. I thought it was the right thing for me to do to choose the more prestigious engineering degree, rather than the lowly comp sci degree. After all, a stable career is better than pursuing a dream that will probably not bring any money in the long run anyway.
The problem, as I made my way through the program was that I had very little love for the subject, especially the math. I hated the so-called kludgy “safety factor coefficients”, the endless proofs, line upon line of mathematical formulae that made very little sense to me.
Sure it was practical, but only if you had the aptitude and the interest in making those engineering formulas make sense in your mind.
I had neither the interest, nor the patience to learn the lingo of the ‘geer. And I knew that I had made the wrong choice. I thought I was being practical. But to tell you the truth, that was the worst reason for selecting the degree.
I can’t say for sure what my life would have been like had I chosen my dream and passion for computer technology. To this day, my passion for all things tech knows no bounds. It’s unfortunate that I do not have the time to develop the expertise that I need to succeed in that field.
I have come to discover that the closer your passions and dreams in your heart align with the career that you select, you do what it takes to make that Dream of Success become a reality. The best example is my good friend at rivalschools.tv . A fellow Cap grad, he applied his education to heights few people are willing to take. He parlayed his passion for art and design to create his own company – and is making a great living out of it. I had tried several times to get my niece to meet him… to show her that it is possible to have a successful career in art. But it appears that she has decided that for her, it’s not realistic.
I didn’t have the words at the time to convince my niece that dropping out of school for a year to “work” could be a mistake. After all, we are counseled by prophets to get as much education as possible. Is she considering not going to college because she’s sick of school? Because she wants to travel? Because her friends are too? Only she knows. But for most people, life gets in the way far too easily during that “one Year” for people to make the jump back to school. And that’s what I fear for her. But only she can find that out for herself.
But thinking about it even more, perhaps she isn’t as passionate in art and visual design as I thought she was… even though she is extremely talented. Perhaps she isn’t willing to make the sacrifice to succeed. Perhaps she has a passion inside of her that she hasn’t found yet.
The reality is that she alone knows what’s best for her. I just hope that she’s doing it for the right reasons and not make the same mistake that I did.