Saturday, December 29, 2012

Missing the Point of Being at School



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.

8 comments:

  1. Missed being at school na din! :))

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  2. Wow. At least innovative ang inyong project. Hehe. I remember ours to be about pain management. Hehe..

    Oo, tama ka. Others say that what you learn after graduating is the most valuable knowledge that you need. However, I think that studying itself is a part of that "outside world" as it does not teach only information, but several things that may or may not be taught outside the academe. At tama, students really need to be disciplined. I like terror teachers. At least they instilled something in my mind as I was studying. I think that I wouldn't learn if not because of them. And getting a high grade from non-high grade giver teacher is such a very good achievement. :D

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  3. Same here. I missed being in School soo much :)

    Dati may ganyan din akong ugali na lagi akong nagtatanong kung bakit kailangan pang meron math subjects na may complicated string of formulas na kailangan i-solve eh hindi ko naman magagamit yun kapag nakapagtrabaho na ako. Now I realized na mali din pala ang ganun attitude.

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  4. I missed being in PUP. Regards nalang sir:)

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  5. I almost didn't graduate (na-personal eh).Anyway, I'd love to be a panelist someday. And I promise to be nice. :P


    http://www.dekaphobe.com/

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  6. Parang may na-reply ako sa comment mo na parang connect dito a. hehehe
    anyway, tumpak ang iyong mga sinabi sa mga students. ako noong student pa ako parang pressure or nakakahiya ka pag wala kang medal or ribbon man lang.

    pero pag labas mo, kahit makita sa resume mo ang mga yan, wala na ring bearing kasi ang importante talaga ay yung performance mo at work attitude mo.

    mabuhay!

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  7. Great blog post. :-) I agree with you. Most of what learned in college is now gone. The very hard calculus or the physics, even the engineering drawing are forgotten. But what I brought out is the learning how to persevere when hard times comes. It is like persevering to study for an exam during my college years. Many student complain about terror profs but these prof may be the very people who are preparing you to the hard part of life outside college.

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  8. It was certainly a great experience and honor to be invited by people that once became a mentor to you. It just means that you really have done great in your field. Maybe writing phd dissertation and getting degree would make you experience thesis writing again.

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