I wrapped up the fall semester a little over a week ago, and it was a great semester. My classes were challenging, I learned a ton, and I earned good grades. All that remains between me and this degree are two classes and one lab. I’m going to earn a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. This degree has been the most difficult thing that I’ve ever done, by a wide margin. I have questioned my decision to return to school, and wondered if I would even be able to complete this degree many times along the path. Now its all but certain. This last semester won’t be too bad.
One of the (several) reasons that I decided to go back to school was that I wanted to be able to earn enough to one day provide for a family. I’m not sure what direction my career will take once I graduate. Because of this degree and my background, I have options. Whatever the direction, I am fairly certain that I’ll be able to provide. This is a testimony to God’s goodness. I am humbled. It feels like I am achieving something here. Its so awesome I could cry. When I graduate I probably will cry.
I can say without hesitation that completing this degree has been significantly more challenging than I anticipated. Apart from the academic difficulty I have struggled to keep up with finances, time management, and of course separation from friends and family (often there is no time for anything other than studying). I can honestly say that I haven’t ever been tempted to quit, I WANT this. I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve wondered if I would be able to complete the journey.
One time I was visiting with a few friends, and I mentioned that I had just completed a difficult course and had heard from other students that the follow up course was even more difficult. My buddy said “Isn’t that the way it works? The courses become more challenging as your skills develop?” My heart fell, I went home and prayed. At that point I had no idea if or how I would get through the next course, much less the degree. Of course, I did make it through the material. And God has always been faithful in providing for me.
Honestly I’m not sure which I’m more proud of, earning a degree in aerospace engineering, or the fact that I’m a Longhorn. When I was 18 if you had told me that I’d get a degree from UT I wouldn’t have believed you. Likewise, if you had told me that I would ever earn this degree (from any university) I’m not sure I would have believed you. In my mind these two things are about equal.
I am a Longhorn and an engineer, and I quite literally could not be more proud.