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Tuesday, Sep 21, 2021

Engineering school leaves students feeling out of water

Have you ever seen a fish fly? I don’t mean a spectacular leap accompanied by twirls and accentuated by the water dripping from its scales like a couture gown.
Nor do I mean the astounding burst of speed a “flying” fish exhibits as it leaps out of the water, expanding their large pectoral fins and gliding to safety.
What I mean by my question is the following: have you ever seen a fish exert the energy required to achieve take off and to truly soar among the clouds and dance at the feet of the heavens?
Have you ever seen a school of fish flutter in such synchronicity of purpose and action that they sound as one creature?
Have they exited our plain of view in such a flurry of color and sound as to be considered art? The answer is no. They never have, nor will they ever behave in such a manner.
Why, you ask? It is not their nature.
To know the universe one must first know themselves, but are we obligated to follow our nature? As much as I would love to disagree, the past year has presented me with an abundance of evidence that my legalistic disposition cannot ignore.
Prior to college, I regarded my resentment of tedious and technical activities as a phase of adolescence that would soon pass upon entrance to college. However, the opposite has proven itself to be true. I have become even more resentful, enraged even, at the technicality and tedium of my classes.
While I have ideas of implementation and grandeur, they, the classes, deconstruct ideas until they are merely a collection of uninteresting facts and figures void of life and purpose.
In just the past month, I have had my motives and resolve for engineering questioned by myself, my advisor, two professors, and many friends.
The question is always the same: “How do you feel about engineering?” and my response is equally predictable: “I think I’ll stick it out; besides, there is more job stability with engineering than with art.”
I am dying! Like a fish out of water, I am gasping for air and nutrients but nothing is coming. My skin is drying and I am left expending what little energy I have left desperately trying to get back to the sea, to get back to art.
For all the beauty of my mind, it is wasted on my efforts; for this, engineering, is not my nature. I became so enthralled, so utterly captivated by the stark blues of calculations and whites of lofty ideas and esoterica, that I ignored the kaleidoscope of colors beneath me as unorganized and useless fragments of information.
I never appreciated the bright pops of corals, greens, oranges, reds, yellow, along with every other color known and unknown to man until I had managed to jump clear past what I then saw as the boundaries of art, and got stranded on the dullness of solid ground with a sound as dense as the colors.
Those bright colors were not merely background noise; those colors formed my world; indeed, they formed me.
The time is very late now and I am running out of energy, but I know I have to get back to myself and my nature.
I’m not quite sure where I’m headed, but this little fish is going to keep swimming until sea meets sky. Who knows, maybe I’ll even grow my own set of wings and fly.


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