Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tau Bates Forever!

It just so happens that I think blogs are a great way to toot ones own horn. So here goes.

This year I have been nominated to join Tau Beta Pi. Tau Beta Pi is an honor society for people in engineering or technical fields. The significance of this is that membership is limited to the top 1/8 of the junior class and top 1/5 of the senior class and membership is only by nomination. It's my unerstanding that faculty members make the nominations and I'm very curious who it was.

For the last four(!) years I have been bustin' my crank in school to get good grades. Up until now I haven't had any scholarships or distinctions to show for it except having been named to the Dean's List at Salt Lake Community College a few times. Now things are looking up. I am in a very good position to see a portion of school paid for by scholarship awards. Scholarships have a two-fold meaning to a student. The first is that it is a tremendous economic boon and the second is that it truly is a recognition of the hard work that a student puts into school.

Now I want to do a little ranting about school in general. In the previous paragraph I placed a little emphasis on the amount of time I've spent in school. It's really not that much time, but in the light that it has taken me this long to get through the first "two" years of school takes away some of the luster. When I transferred from SLCC I transferred almost enough credits to be a senior in my last semester. Unfortunately, I still had to take a year of catch-up classes before I could actually call myself a junior. I guess that makes me a five year sophomore. How frustrating. Even more frustrating is the list of classes that will not count towards any kind of degree that I may seek. Even amid this frustration, though, I must admit that I have learned a great deal and my diverse studies have given me insight into many facets of civilization and taught me how to learn and study hard. I hardly remember life before school.

This Tau Beta Pi nomination reminds me of a story that I've told many of my aquaintances about academic counselors: When I started to attend SLCC I went, like a good little student, to the counselors office and said that I wanted to be an engineer. At the time I wanted to be a Civil Engineer, and have since changed to Mechanical Engineering. Anyway, I told this guy that engineering was for me. So he thought about it for a minute and began to tell me why engineering wasn't for me. I'm sure he was digging to the depths of his kind heart to find a nice way to say that I probably wouldn't make it in engineering, but that's not how I took it: "You know, there's a lot of kids that end up dropping out of the engineering program. It would probably be better for you to just start taking your general education classes so that you can transfer to a university and finish a degree." I have thought about this little exchange over and over in the subsequent years and the only reason I don't go back there and tell him about it is that he won't even remember me. I never talked to him again, though I have seen him around the campus. I would love for him to see my transcript full of engineering classes (and others) with very high grades. Then I would inform him of my Tau Beta Pi nomination which puts me in the top 1/8 of my class. I was a strong student at SLCC, and I will be a strong student at the University of Utah, though it tests me and demands that I perform at a higher level. I have it in me. I know I will be successful at this too.


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