So back it up a few months when I was looking at the calendar. The university had just come out with the dates of the congregation ceremonies. I read the date of my own ceremony… May 30. I thought to myself, “Hmmm… so when I’m sitting in the audience waiting for my turn on stage, I’ll already know how the last Star Wars movie turns out.”
Well, that turned out to be true. As I sat there in the Chan Centre on Monday I remember thinking yep I was right. The whole event turned out to be speedy and efficient. Before I knew it, I back at my apartment with entire family eating chicken yakisoba. Of course, I had returned with my degree in tow.
I will admit the granting of my Master’s degree seems less monumental compared to my undergrad degree. I think part of the reason is because my first degree was a huge, life-changing undertaking. I learned a lot about engineering, university life, and just being an adult in general in those five long years. Getting that undergrad degree was tough. There were a lot of rough patches along the way. Juggling seven courses a semester nearly the entire way through basically made me stressed out from the second week on. I’ve also realized that when I was in my late teens and early twenties, I just didn’t have a lot of tools to handle life like I do now.
Upon reflection, at least for now, obtaining my undergrad degree still remains my greatest accomplishment of my life.
Back then, I just wanted to survive, to finish my degree. I didn’t really think about life after UBC. The goal was just to get it done.
This time around, things were a little bit different. I knew from the start I wanted to get a Master’s degree to help me get a specific job in a specific industry. So, in that respect, Monday was just a part of a larger plan. If I may borrow a baseball analogy, it was the seventh inning stretch in a game that would at least go nine innings.
Things were also easier with this degree because of familiarity. Sure the academic material is at a higher level, but a textbook is still a textbook, exams are still exams, and homework is still a pain in the ass. In short, the game was being played at a higher level, but I already knew the rules.
I will close by making one more comment. If by some strange twist of fate, I never work a day as a software engineer in the video game industry, I will honestly not look back at my degree as a waste of time or money. Why? Because I got to live at St. John’s College. I’m not sure if I express in words what that place means to me, or more specifically what the people that I met mean to me.
I am sure if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will know that I’ve befriended some great people at my time at SJC. I had a lot of fun there, more fun than I’ve ever had in my life. I would count my two years there as the two best years of my life thanks to my dear friends.
So maybe it’s the popcorn talking but if you had to make me choose between what was more important and valuable to my life, my Master’s degree or my time at SJC, I think I’d have to take SJC.
I first started thinking about completing a Master’s degree in the late summer of 2001. Here we are in May of 2005. I did it. I’m not sure what else I have to say about that.
For reading this far, here’s a picture of the hood (with me wearing it) that signifies my M.Eng. degree (scarlet with deep blue cord).