When I was in my senior year at Cornell, my adviser tried to get me to enroll into graduate school. My dad had advised me to wait and see what it turned out I wanted to specialize in. Also, I’d likely be able to get work to pay for my degree. My adviser told me I’d never end up getting a graduate degree. Those who don’t do it right away end up procrastinating forever and don’t get one. I knew I’d work at getting one, so I didn’t pay him any mind. I went to work and work did have a program by which they paid for college classes. But I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. Almost everyone went to Johns Hopkins Engineering because they didn’t require the GRE. But something inside just didn’t feel right. So I waited.
And I came to feel that my interests and talents lay with the field of Systems Engineering. In a sentence, I’d say that Systems Engineering is the Engineer’s MBA. It’s about taking an engineering point of view to project planning and management. Eventually I found the Systems Engineering program at Stevens Institute of Technology. As a bonus, they offered classes online so I’d be able to attend without having to take a sabbatical to New Jersey. The classes were quite helpful as I moved into an engineering management role at work. And the professors were really great, bringing real world experience to the classroom. Many of them were consultants to Fortune 500 Companies or the US Government.
After a few years of taking classes part time and writing up my special project paper (which I’ll upload to the blog soon), I finally graduated a few days ago. It was a very different feeling than graduating from Cornell for a few reasons. First of all, the challenges were very different. At Cornell I was learning how to learn. At Stevens I was learning how to apply my work life to school to learn lessons to take back to work. And I had a very different set of time management issues; this time juggling a full time job, a wife, and a daughter along with my class load. When I was done with Cornell I was about to start my life. Finishing my graduate degree at Stevens was a milestone on a life already begun. Differences aside, I’m definitely glad I went to my graduation because it cemented the sense of accomplishment of the past few years.
Below is a gallery of photos I took at the event followed by some video.
Entering the ceremony:
Conferral of Degrees:
The audience decided to do one strong clap after each name instead of a bunch of regular claps:
Confetti after the ceremony:
Finally, a gallery of photos I had my mom take with my Rebel XTi of Scarlett and I: