School starts in a couple of weeks. Judging by the jolt of excitement I get when I think about that, I know I’m ready for the return to my studies. This is the final year of the Mining Engineering Technician Program, barring any unforeseen events. (Unforeseen events = knock on wood.)
I wonder how long the excitement will last? You see, if this year is the same as the last two, I’ll be ready to quit by, oh, let’s say mid-October.
I have done well in my studies and have received encouraging feedback from my instructors. It certainly hasn’t been a cakewalk, though.
Within the first two weeks of the first year, I was stressed out and exhausted. I was able to grasp the technical concepts, more or less, and had a lot of fun with several of the papers and projects. The math? That was a challenge. I knew I had the wherewithal stored away somewhere in the recesses of my brain. I just had trouble locating the lobe that stored the math stuff and coaxing it back to life. Still, the material was mostly “doable”. Plus, I had a geologist on my team who helped me with the trickier concepts.
It was the sheer volume of work, however, that got to me. I dropped some courses and changed from full-time to part-time. Even then I logged 50 or 60 hours a week.
The most frustrating were the errors in the textbooks or assignment handouts. It takes only one incorrectly placed decimal point to send a student into a fury after she spends the better part of an afternoon trying to solve a question. Especially maddening when other assignments are also due. These tiny but unacceptable “typos” and my subsequent upset coloured my opinion of the entire program. Let’s call that colour “black”.
Reiner, bless, him, took the brunt of my irritation with equanimity and understanding. Or self-preservation, is more likely. He told me not to waste time on stuff. If I hit a wall, he said, leave it, and he would help me when he got home from work. Don’t get yourself in a lather, he said.
Which was a wonderful thing, right? Well, you’d think so. But I wanted to solve these questions on my own! I wanted to exercise the part of my brain and make it more nimble and less reliant on his help. Besides, as you married folk can imagine, he and I are… well, married.
One Sunday afternoon we worked together on some geology questions. We found a couple of errors in the text, as usual. The mood darkened. Then came a question that stumped Reiner.
“I have no idea what they’re talking about,” he said. “This makes no sense whatsoever!”
Trust me, that made me feel good on several counts. However, the feeling that erupted was anything but “good”.
I snatched the papers from him and slammed the textbooks shut. No doubt one or two syllables of profanity escaped my lips.
“I’m done. I quit.”
“You can’t quit.”
“Maggie, stop that!”
“NO! This is %^#*&% impossible. I’VE HAD IT!”
There were tears.
I stormed out of the room and escaped to my computer. I surfed through the regular bookmarked pages: my email, Facebook, the weather sites, and the mineral pages. Finally I clicked on the icon for the college email. My intent was to write a letter of resignation from the program.
Here’s what I found in the inbox, waiting to be read:
I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected by the O.E. Walli Foundation as a recipient of the HSMAA Mining Scholarship 2012 for $250.00
There were more tears.
A few weeks later, the scholarship award arrived in the mail. Funny. The decimal place in the email on was off by one digit. The cheque was made out for $2,500.00
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In response to the weekly writing challenge on
Writing Essential Group WEMon: Aug 18, 2014
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Categories: Continuing Education