Monday, March 30, 2009

Part of getting an engineering degree is getting an iron ring. It's a small silver ring that you wear on the pinky of your working hand. It represents many different things for different people. It can act as a reminder of the responsibility that you may have or it can act as a reminder of the hard work you have accomplished. For more info, head to

My point...
I got mine this weekend. It's a huge weekend and we count down to it right from the day we start our undergrad pursuits. It's bigger than getting your certificate, bigger than finishing your last exam, it is the biggest day of your engineering degree.

There are other degrees which give out rings but the engineering tradition has existed the longest, from my understanding. We also are the most likely to wear them and many, many do. It is also very recognizable in the feild.

This weekend my class got our rings, we celebrated, we drank, it was great. Today, at school every fourth year engineering student was proudly sporting their new piece of jewelery, many of which will rarely take it off.

My actual point...
I feel so strange about it. I've been counting down for so long. I celebrating my 1500 days to iron ring, 1000 days to iron ring, 500 days to iron ring, 250 days to iron ring, 100 days to iron ring... you get the point. Now I have it and now I don't care to wear it.

I got it Saturday afternoon and naturally wore it all day and celebrated into the night. On Sunday, I spent the afternoon making lasagna, like any old person. My roommate, who also got his ring, was wearing his all day. I didn't get it. I wasn't an engineer on Sunday, I was just me... cooking a lasagna... why did I need my ring?

What other profession sports their degree on their body ALL THE TIME? Doctor's do not drive their kids to school with their white coats on. Why do I have this silly little ring that I'm expected to wear all the time? I just felt silly.

So I kept thinking about it. Maybe I'll just wear it at work. But then again why do I need a symbol of my degree showing, why can't I just get respect from my abilities to be a good employee? Why can't I be judged on the things I say and the quality of my work? Why do I need this reminder, for myself, and for others? It's too bad that many will see my ring and immediately judge me, whether good or bad. I may get respect for it, I my get mocked for it. Either way, I am being judged on the degree I chose to pursue and not on my actual intelligence.

Right now I'm at home, not wearing my ring. I'm not sure if it's because I spent 3 hours in the kitchen with my hands in and out of the sink, or if it's because I don't feel like I need to wear it. I'm really not sure. Anyone I spoke to today about this simply said 'you'll get used to it' but I'm not sure I want to.

For the time being, I think I'll play it day by day. Maybe I'll end up wearing it all the time, maybe I'll never wear it.

What is most interesting to me is that no one, including myself, could have predicted this.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Valedictory Address - The Sequel

As I posted earlier this week, I was a contender for Valedictorian of my convocation.

Well, I got it.

Let me elaborate:

On average, 1200 Engineering students graduate from the University of Waterloo every year. This is a crap load of people. Also consider that each of these students has 2+ family members who attend the convocation. Because this number is so huge, there are 2 ceremonies for us. The first is for the civil, chemical, geo, enviro, mechanical, and mechatronics students and the second is for the electrical, computer, and systems design students. As there are 2 ceremonies, there are 2 valedictorians. One chosen from each group. I am thrilled to have been chosen to speak to the first group. There will be close to 700 people at the ceremony. 700 people I have to speak in front of. Excuse me while I crap my pants.

I was going to post the whole thing here but I had some discomfort about it. If you would like to see it, by all means send me an email and I will fire it your way.

I am SO excited. My parents had better make it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Valedictory Address

For the past year I have been interested in given the valedictory address at my convocation this summer. I have written down some thoughts but I think I could use some more insight, any ideas?