Sunday, April 24, 2016

Why Finals Are Hard

No, dear heart, the exam is not going to be easy.

Sorry, concerned parent, I will not "be gentle with" your precious snowflake.

Via Kenneth Libretch

Your exam is not going to be easy.  No one is handing you a participation trophy on your way to becoming an engineer; not me, and certainly not those who come after my class has ended.  Engineers drive the world.  You are signed up to become someone who makes things.  Makes them!  Stuff that didn't exist before, you create it out of observed need and honed skills.  Things that you have already seen, you're going to be improving, making them faster, quieter, more efficient, more effective.  You are going to be great.

And its going to be hard.  

That's what you signed up for.  If it weren't hard, (a) you'd be getting the shaft because you're paying all this money for something you could have just picked up by yourself, and (b) everyone would do it, because its a really cool job and it generally pays well.  So its hard, because its a weighty responsibility, and requires a lot of head knowledge along with critical thinking and creative problem solving skills.

So when you asked me today if I would "go easy on you", I told you no, I would not.  Because you don't learn anything by people going easy on you, and you don't prove anything by getting passed along without effort.  If I asked you to climb over an ant hill and then declared you a climber, it would mean nothing.  So instead, I'm going to make you climb a mountain, and when you get to the top, you're going to know that you're a freaking mountain climber.  You're going to know that you've earned it, and that it matters because it was hard and you pushed yourself and you can climb that mountain now.

You can do hard things.

<3 M.
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