It was about a year ago that I heard Justin Trudeau had left his teaching position at a private school in Vancouver. After being thrust into the spotlight after his father’s passing, I was somewhat expecting this might be the signal that he was giving to the world of politics. Would he try to follow in his father’s daunting footsteps?

I heard nothing else about him until I was sitting in a waiting room at the health clinic last week. As I sat, I grabbed a Maclean’s from the table. There on the front of the December 2002 issue was a picture of Justin Trudeau himself. Inside was a lengthy cover story about him. As I read through it, I got to an interesting part… “decisions that may or may not be made once he finishes the engineering degree he’s pursuing at the Universite de Montreal“…

I stopped and read that again. What? The man already holds several degrees in English Lit and Education. I wondered why he would go back again. Later on in the story, he says he went back to “explore the scientific side“. Wow, I thought, that’s quite admirable.

The story didn’t go any further into his studies, but just today, there was another article about him on the Internet. In this one, he stated he wouldn’t be getting into politics for at least another four years since he wanted to finish his engineering degree.

When I read that, I got the feeling he was serious about this engineering thing. Because he mentioned the four years, I knew he was starting from scratch, from the first year. Here is the son of probably the greatest politician to have ever lived in Canada, sitting in classes with 18 year olds, at 31 years of age, working on his third undergraduate degree.

Then I began to wonder which discipline he would choose. I only know his public persona, but if I had to guess, I’d say he’d choose mechanical. I’m not sure why. If not mechanical, then I think he might choose electrical or civil. Again, I’m not sure why.

I worry though about the strain an engineering academic career can put on a person. Justin leads a very dynamic life and at times, you just have to be hermit to get through critical times in the academic year. I’m curious to see how he will handle that.

In the end, I hope he does accomplish his goal and finish his degree. We have nothing in common right now (other than the fact he studied at UBC once), but it’s weird to think four years from now, he and I might share the common bond of the ring.

Now, I must go study for my last, and toughest midterm.

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