I knew going into the week after spring break that it was going to be the “Face the To-Do List I was Supposed to Tackle During Spring Break Week” week. Does that make sense? However I write it though, the week was, in a word, rough. And I loved it for that. Because weeks that make me feel super busy also make me feel super accomplished when I come out of them alive and in one piece. So yes, Physics Test Number Three, which I took the Wednesday night after break, was maddening and challenging (in other words…I genuinely enjoyed it, but my grade won’t) and I probably failed it. But like I texted my dad right after I took it, “I’ve just come to expect really hard exams now. They don’t really even phase me anymore.” (And neither does scoring less than a…50%…on said hard exams.). To which he responded, “I think you’re ready for Rolla :-)!” (Yes, he did type the smiley face because he claims he can’t get Emojis.)
Oh yeah, did I mention that the moment I walked through the door to my house for my break, I kid you not, dad told me exactly how he felt about me pursuing chemistry? That I shouldn’t do it? That it’s not the best decision? That I need to do something else? (I’m so glad we decided to have this talk, wuuut, seven weeks before I graduate?)
I was angry with him. I cried about it. Dad and his stupid engineering mind-set* (*See definition at the end of post.)! Why did he have to be so disgustingly practical about everything? Why did he spend every moment of his spare time on his iPad, researching careers and salaries in chemistry to build his argument as to why I shouldn’t get a PhD or even a second undergraduate degree in it? Oh yeah, I was pretty mad all break. And then that Friday I went to UMSL and met with the chair of the chemistry department about completing my second degree there. And then I understood where dad was coming from this whole time. And, as of that Friday, I’ve had a nervous pit in my stomach, wondering how I’m going to make this decision in the amount of time I have to make it.
To get a good job in chemistry, I would do my second undergraduate degree (two years) before launching myself into a PhD program (five years). That’s seven more years of school total. Kids, to put things in perspective, that’s like high school and college combined practically. I love, love, love school and learning and studying (otherwise I wouldn’t do it so obsessively), but that’s a lot, even for me! And as dad so bluntly put it the moment I threw my backpack down when I got home that day,
His idea: Take two and a half years or so to get my second undergrad degree in engineering at Rolla.
My take on his idea: Environmental Engineering with an emphasis in Environmental Chemistry. It seems like a natural fit for me…Right?
Hm. Maybe so. Next week dad and I are going to spend some quality time together as we make the trek down to Rolla to check out their program. Like he texted me yesterday, “I think you’re going to like what you hear.”
Hmmmmm…excited and nervous to see where this new road takes me…!
En·gi·neer·ing mind-set: Noun: A very real personality trait that one knows best/everything about everything, simply because he or she holds a degree of some sort in the field of engineering, or is currently pursuing a degree in the field.
• Lately I’ve been especially obnoxious and smarty-pants-ish. I think I’ve inherited dad’s engineering mind-set. (FACT.)