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That day we learned, when your friend flunks, you feel bad. When he tops, you feel worse. — Farhan, The 3 Idiots

I’m not totally feeling the same emotion as the line above for, right now, I am happy for the two friends of mine who just passed the licensure exams for engineers and are now has “Engr.” prefix before their name. Maybe the “worse” on that line unintentionally meant “envy”.

Maybe because I remember when we were still high school students, in a friend’s house in their steel swing inside their courtyard, most of us dreamt of becoming an engineer. Some wanted to take Mechanical Engineering, some were Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Chemical Engineering. And they did – two of them already passed the licensure exam. Another will be graduating soon as Chemical Engineer and later on will take the board exam. I’m happy for them for gently fulfilling their dreams. I am actually proud of them and a little bit envious, as well, about it.

During those days, while they dreamt of becoming the professions I mentioned, I, together with the same people on that same night we talked about careers we want to direct our way, dreamt of also becoming an engineer, a Civil Engineer.

My father used to work in construction industry. He is not an engineer but I believe a frustrated one. However, he knows how to read blueprints and can execute it very well with the help of people he handles without the need of a civil engineer. I remember when I was in grade school, I would take a glance on the amazing large piece of papers called blueprints trying to understand the house that are measured in centimeters! He had a lot of housing projects from neighbors and nearby villages and towns. And whenever he’s at work, I would often visit him and the site and do some works I can’t actually do because it requires a lot of energy to bend a steel, or drive a nail on pieces of woods or mix cements for an 8-year-old kid. I did enjoy as well walking on the wood bracing, supports and walkways despite the danger. I also often wonder then how my dad can do estimates of number of materials needed by just mere looking at the space or how good his memory is by knowing the specific names and measurements of all the items needed. I once dreamt of having the same skills he had.

As I grew up, I realized that I enjoyed staying in a construction site or just mere looking at it. I remember visiting The Newport City before it was actually became what it is now, or the Mall of Asia before it became known as the biggest mall in asia. I loved those raw sceneries I only stored in my memory — the deep excavations, the shorings, the worker’s yellow hat, the materials, the dust of cements, the noise of hammers and robotic vehicles and all that matters in a construction site. I truly believe that all of these was a great influence from my frustrated engineer father.

And then thought that the influence he had to me also turned into frustration. When collegiate came, I didn’t take Civil Engineering despite passing the entrance exam for that course in a state university in Manila. It was a long and winding road before I finally decided not to pursue my own dream and build a new one for my family and for the good of my own destiny. It was summer of 2009 when all I thought was my dream will be buried soon in anyway. I’m lost and hopeless and sadly, frustrated.

Years had passed when I thought that I have already moved on to that heartbreak. However, whenever I hear success stories of engineers, and now my friends who are already engineers, there is dismay in my thought that I wish I was one of them. I still go back to the days when I started drawing a total renovation plan for our house when I was in high school – how many stories to build, how many rooms to create and where will my room be, or should I have a centralize air-conditioning system for the entire house or depends on who needs it, should I retain the veranda each floor or include the space in the rooms, where will I place the stairs and should it be straight or spiral, etc.

I would admit that it has been the biggest frustration I ever had and I realized that this heartache was already tattooed in my memory. However, whatever and whoever I am now is I believed brought about by what had happened in the past. Those frustrations may have turned into more perseverance and dedications. And the heartaches may have turned into a better life.

Truly, despite not following my dream of becoming a civil engineer, I can say that presently, I do have a better life. Some people would tell me that it’s never too late to follow your dreams especially that I already earn enough to spend for myself. However, maybe things have already changed – my thoughts, my plans, my goals, my own perspective, the things I have learned in between, and even my dreams. I am just thankful right now that despite my lost hope, God lead me to a better place. He gave me a lot of courage and strength to find myself when I was lost.

For the students who are/were able to study their dream jobs, make the most out of it. Study well and never be afraid of making mistakes, that will make you better and be the best you can be. Do not lose the chances you have. Remember that there are students who have lost their dreams. You are already there. A little hardwork and determination will make you through.

For the students who weren’t able to enroll to the courses they wanted, never lose hope and continue that faith you have. He will never leave you alone. He will guide you to rebuild the hope you once had. You will find yourself again. Just never give up.

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