Vicariously reliving college

April 28, 2016 // By Scott Deuty
Scott Deuty considers the similarities and differences between his own college days and those of his son.

As I sat talking with my son last night, memories of engineering school came back to me. He is ending his sophomore year studying a computer-engineering curriculum. According to him, that's the hardest year. As I remember, my junior year was the most difficult. In either case, he is experiencing many of the emotions that I did back then. It brought me back thirty years to those challenging times.

Engineering is a very frustrating major. I remember the reactions when I would respond to the question of what my major was. When I said physics which eventually became engineering, eyes would roll and a groan of sympathy would come my way. Truly, it is much more difficult than other majors. There is an engineering half-life where the class size is half what it was the semester before. I can still remember the occurrence that took place after the results of the first chemistry test were handed out. Half of us went on to physics class while the other half went across to the administration building to change major.

My son’s frustration parallels mine when I was in his state of climbing the ladder of education. However, he is much further along than I was. When he was 17, he was the first in his class to achieve a Window's certification. He then walked into a startup not knowing a stitch of Linux. Within a few months, he had pared a rack of servers down to three and combined all of the files and web pages into a much denser, more efficient space using Linux. Not many kids can say they were the company's system administrator at age 17. I was fueling trucks at thirty below zero when I was seventeen. I am happy to have experienced every parent's goal of seeing their child enjoy a better life than they did no matter how difficult it is to watch him agonize