Fear is not an absence of courage, but an inevitable obstacle for us to test our confidence. Beyond all things right now, I think I can say that I’m afraid. I think for the most part, I’ve always been afraid, ever since Day 1 of university, but conviction and my the words of my peers have been able to straighten that out from time to time.
Fear is about lack of control and with how complicated the world is, it’s hard to really control anything; sometimes you just have to try your best and hope it all turns out okay. Applying to grad school in a field that’s not exactly well-developed or in high demand (M.A.Sc. in Industrial Engineering focusing on Engineering Education) is a huge risk for my career prospects, but most of my decisions up until now have been about what feels right, and I’m just going to have to trust myself on this one.
I struggle with whether or not I’m doing this because I didn’t get a consulting job at Hatch (a low CGPA basically barred me from an interview), but since then, I’ve had 3 offers (either directly or indirectly) for a personal reference into the company, and all 3 times I’ve declined so I guess that’s a good sign of conviction (or stubbornness).
I’m going to be broke, my Master’s degree is going to be relatively unemployable, and to be honest, I don’t even know if I’ll get accepted into the program.
What if this doesn’t lead anywhere? What if I can’t write a good thesis (the undergraduate variety I should be working on now…)? What if the choices I’ve made weren’t the right ones? What if low grades really do prevent long-term success? What if I’m just not good enough? These are the types of questions I’ve been contending with. But as I’ve told countless others in the past, there is no right way to live life, every experience is a learning experience, and although some failure is inevitable, life is about learning to deal with it.
So I guess now it’s time to walk the talk. Most people in engineering see going to grad school as a back-up plan, a failure’s move, especially at your alma mater. But if this is what I want to do then I’m going to have to work around the stigma. Here’s hoping that it’s all worth it.