(Although not frivolous in subject matter as the previous two might be seen to be, this post arises from my continued pondering over the previous two entries: about attitude, aptitude, determination etc. Here, I post certain observations of my second daughter, Althegal. Since they are my observations, I don’t claim them to be her assessment.)
Althegal did very well in high school, particularly in maths and computers. In fact, she did well enough that she was accepted into the computer program at University of Waterloo which was (and presumably is) considered to be absolutely top notch.
Whether it was the rigorous program, lack of interest or just the wrong time for Althegal, I’m not sure, but her one semester at U of W was less than a scintillating success.
After several years of working and travelling, back she went to university, enrolling in psychology and native studies. In those courses, she’d be doing lots of academic reading and writing of esoteric essays, which did not seem on the surface to suit her strengths in the same way as math and computer studies might have. Didn’t matter. She applied herself and graduated summa cum laude — with highest praise. Not everybody can make that claim: certainly not daddy.
These days, Althegal makes her living by working on research teams at her university whilst she waits for the ink to be applied and dried on her Master’s degree parchment. From my viewpoint, Althegal’s academic triumph is an outstanding example of how steadfast determination to “follow your heart with all you’ve got” leads to good things.
I know it seems like a long leap from where I began, which was the contemplating paper cups and plug-jiggies, to talking of Masters degrees, but the thoughts connect somehow in my little brain.
(An addendum somewhat related to the above musings.)
During our first visit to Vancouver several year ago, Lyshee had to leave us for several days to attend a conference. When she returned, she brought back several government reports for Althegal, dealing with health and education issues on native reserves. While most of ordinary humans would probably not welcome such dry material with abundant enthusiasm, Althegal received them gladly saying, “I love this stuff.”
That’s when something went click in my brain. She really liked poring over such arcane reading material. How crucial that must be in order to succeed behind the ivy walls of academia. (Or is it ivory towers?)
I guess that’s one reason why she has a Masters degree and I don’t. For me: researching and writing essays was little more than doing whatever was necessary to graduate and get a job. Although I could often appreciate the end result with some satisfaction, I mainly just wanted to get the thing done. I wouldn’t think of reading dry-as-dust government reports as a pleasant diversion on a fine, sunny day. Not back then when it mattered anyway. Different strokes for different folks.
Note: Perhaps, in order to make a point, I have over-stated my lack of enthusiasm for researching and writing as I tremendously enjoyed my university days — for educational reasons as opposed to the reasons why many look back wistfully upon those days.