The Knack

Every year, as a requirement for BE and MEM candidates, Thayer students have to write the world's shortest essay with the prompt "Prove to me that you can write in less than 3 pages." In essence, this is just an assignment given to terrorize the non-english-speaking students that come to our school. Other than perfect grammar and construction, you are being graded on nothing. You could write about why Flux Capacitors are an important up-and-coming technology and still get a perfect score. Because I am a storyteller and not a writer, I wrote about my own personal experience with the knack. My parents loved it so much, I thought I might share part of it with you:

I loved my Lincoln Logs, TinkerToys, and wooden tractor that could be disassembled when I was growing up. I had my own woodworking toolkit. Even during the summer before I started college I spent almost every day either in a garage under my Jeep Wrangler or out on a trail in it, getting high-centered on boulders that were taller than me. My mom is a CAD technician and generates or edits drawings for land or building planning. My dad is a naval engineering consultant for US military vessels and an avid vehicular hobbyist. My paternal grandfather was a nuclear physicist. My other grandfather was an electrical engineer. My best classes in high school were physics and math; these also happened to be the only AP classes I took. Somehow, none of this ever rang in my mind when I was applying to colleges. I just wanted to get as far away from my high school and childhood as possible, and prove my individuality in the process.

Everyone who knew my family asked what sort of Engineering I would be studying when they learned that I was going to attend Dartmouth. This was quite possibly the worst thing that could happen to my quest to outline my unique snowflake: predictability. I tried my very hardest to prove that I was going to a liberal arts school and I was going to major in something fun and most definitely NOT engineering. I was not any of my relatives; I was me. I decided upon my arrival that I was going to major in International Relations. Anything with the word “international” in the title would provide an outlet for me to travel the world, right? In the spring of my freshman year, I took my first government class, and it was fascinating. I got a C. I couldn’t just invent my own government or tell country leaders that their policies weren’t mechanically stable because those weren’t the right answers. I was also dating an exceptionally talented and passionate engineering student who was in his senior year. As it turns out, you can be an engineer and still a perfectly sociable person. After a year of struggling through a variety of introductory classes, I finally accepted that engineering was, in fact, in my blood.
I'll let you know how the grading works out. If you follow this blog at all, you know that I don't have a very good grip on grammar and construction. But I have an awesome grip on my tub of Ben & Jerry's.

1 comment:

Allie said...