The road to powerlessness
After working for three years, I went back to school. Suddenly I felt powerless. Stripped of my business suit, desk, computer, and job title, I was a mere paying customer subject to the examination and scrutiny of my suppliers --- the teachers.
My attitude had changed from the previous time I was a student. If I didn't learn anything, it wasn't my fault but my teacher's. I was a client who paid to get good service. This attitude got in the way of my learning.
Five years later, I returned to the rat race with an inflated ego too big to handle. After all, I had acquired three precious letters after my name.
The rat race was not about degrees or salaries I soon learned. It was about looks, political finesse, and emotional intelligence. When I finally saw through it all and left the rat race, I discovered the alternative route to self-actualisation, among people who had their own agenda and followed it with their creativity and dedication.
So why am I abandoning all that, just when I have become comfortable with the natural bliss of independent living among other independently minded souls?
On Monday, I queued behind students half my age to register for a course.
"Please show me your high school diploma," the lady on the other side of the counter asked.
I took out a faded diploma yellowed from storage but safely protected in its green folder.
She handled it carefully and made a copy.
"Would you like to see my university diploma also?" I offered.
"Oh, you have that too?"
"And there's more. My master's. My doctorate."
She was probably overwhelmed and confused. Why would anyone with all these degrees want to go back to school, join teenagers first-time leaving home, to study for a Bachelor's degree?
I have trouble understanding that myself. Perhaps I want to experience what it's like to be a college dropout.
Well, at least, that gives me an option to quit if I don't like it. Otherwise it's a second spring for me. I get to pretend I'm young again. This time I have the courage to do what my heart has sought all along. Not engineering but music.
24 August 2004 Tuesday