Reflection: “What If?” Scenarios of Academia

AUTHOR NOTES: I wrote this back in 2003 for my original website. I am just reposting for prosperity.

Have you ever wonder what would life be like if something had happened when it did not? Have you ever wished that you have done something that you didn’t have the courage to do before? Have you ever wondered if relationships would have worked out if you were given a second chance? Or if you ever wanted a second chance at that friendship that you held so dear? The truth is: we all do, at one point or another. Very seldom do we allow these regrets, doubts and dedications come to light because our hearts are too big to hurt other people, or we just want to be happy with the decisions that we have made.

ACADEMIC INSTANCES – What would my life be like if I had gone somewhere else? What situations would I have changed if I thought my life would be more enjoyable because of it? The friends, the projects, the academics… the ‘What ifs’ of the schools that define my study habits and my motivations to succeed.

The choices were evident, my studies reflect the environment I find myself in, and yet if that environment had changed how much of my life would really be affected? Sometimes life brings to us an infinite number of choices to choose from, and it is our duty to choose the right path that we feel is best for our life.

People have regrets, everyone has regretted a decision at some point in their life. In college, deciding what classes to take in the upcoming semester has always seemed to be one of the hardest decisions in a young person’s life. However, one of the most difficult decisions in a young engineer’s life is what to do and whom to group with for the final project of the major.

Below are some of the darkest regrets that I have made and hope would have others understand the essence of ones decision-making and how it truly effects tomorrow…

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ~ Quite arguably the best public university in the state of Illinois, I was accepted in this university with just mediocre grades but killer mathematics background. My strong background in mathematics most likely helped me to be accepted in that university without being rejected completely (although I was rejected in Computer Science). Most of the people that I considered as ‘friends’ in high school attended that university while I went to its sister university: University of Illinois at Chicago.

Purdue University ~ To be quite honest, when I went to this university for a week-long seminar I fell in love with it at first sight. I wanted to be at that campus, I loved the feel of it, and it was the first time I really felt like I belong somewhere. The rooms were comfy (better than the other universities that I visited) and the living quarters were slightly better or bareable. The best part about this is that I was able to get into the Computer Science track in the School of Science… And now some of the best friends that I made during my week-long tenure there attend that university… now what was *I* thinking?

Mechanical Engineering ~ Those that know me well enough, know that I am far better in kinematics and dynamics than electricity and magnetism. However the one main thing that steered me clear away from the Civil Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering fields was the fact that my mom is a Mechanical Engineer herself… >_< So like any other child I refuse to do anything that either one of my parents are currently doing and instead went for the Electrical Engineering field thinking tha I could use that to go into Robotics - my one none parental-influence into engineering. Perhaps I should have just stayed with my strengths instead of strengthening the weaknesses... perhaps I would have a better time finding jobs and everything else by then... Teaching: Mathematics and Physics ~ Okay I think I know what a lot of you are thinking… ‘teaching are you nuts?’ The truth is I adore teaching, I love being with students, and if I had it my way I would teach either elementary school or college level, least likely the secondary school level (high school for all you Americans out there). Well I have always said that I would go into teaching if engineering doesn’t work out for me, however I am about as stubborn as a mule so I wouldn’t give up unless the stakes were stacked well against me.