My project in Material Science in college was an embarrassment. I tried to reinvent something that is being commonly done. Right, that was the objective. But doing something more complicated than how it’s usually done is never good. Like tracing the holes in a wheel for vulcanizing process. Currently they just pour water on the tires to look for bubbles. Then that’s where the hole is. So I looked for an alternative. I thought of smoke. We would create an improvised smoke machine and pump. Then that’s it. And my poor teammates accepted my proposal as I insisted.
|It seems you got a flat tire.|
Last December 15, 2012, I was invited by my former professor in Material Science, now the PUP-ECE Department Head to be part of their thesis panel of evaluators. It was my second time. Coming from a night shift, I hoped not to doze off during the thesis defense session.
But Sir Mari (that’s how our professor is affectionately called by his students) knew how to keep me awake. After serving us breakfast, he told me that I’d be giving a talk in behalf of the other alumni at the opening ceremony. A surprise one. I wasn’t ready for it. But I was glad to be given that chance to speak to the students and representing the former ones. I love sharing my thoughts. If not, then what the heck am I doing on this blog.
So this was thesis defense. We could see the drained energy, effort, money and time in the eyes of the students. For all the stress they got, being told that all of these won’t matter after they graduated would be the last thing that they needed to hear. And that’s what exactly I told them.
I said that they would hear mostly from professional people that majority of what they learned from school will be useless when they apply for work. True. That is if they are talking about the information we get from attending school. But at the same time they are wrong. Because they are totally missing the point of going to school.
I’m pretty sure that after a year you’ll forget majority of what you learned from all those subjects in college. Or even for just a couple of months. The information we got is just 10% of the whole picture. It is the 90% that we’re expected to bring outside. How our teachers push us to use our creativity, resourcefulness, hard work, imagination, inventiveness is what remains after leaving the campus. How we communicate, handle and relate to difficult thesis-mates prepare us on a harsher society out there called an “office”. And surviving the terror profs makes us ready to face those power-tripping heads of the oval table.
And some educators add damage to it thinking that making it easy to students by spoon-feeding them with everything will help them. But rather, most of these kids would become wimps and whiners in the future who think they are entitled to just about everything. And that all things must be served to them on a silver platter. As second parents, teachers are expected to discipline their children. Just like on this earlier blogpost, they must not hesitate in making things harder on these young citizens as early as possible. I did not include this part in my speech. Majority of my professors aren’t like that anyway. They made it hard for us that we almost didn’t have anything left to whine about. And that made us tougher. And I thank them for that.
We were not sent to school just to get merely informed. We're there to learn how to look for and utilize the essential and right information necessary to pursue whatever we will be doing in the future.
So then my MatSci group continued with my proposed “tire-holes detector”. We created the improvised tire pump and the smoke machine. Both were functioning well individually. But combined, it hardly worked. And looking for the parts and materials for it was tough. But we passed. What we lacked on the prototype, we made up on the demo and the explanation. Maybe. I’m not sure. But luckily we made it. That whole tire-hole detector made up of improvised smoke machine using Glycerine solution and tire pump made of PVC pipes, it sounded cool. But compared to just pouring water and looking for bubbles from the holes, what was I thinking then? Good for me I wasn’t part of the panel then. I would have flunked myself.