I was watching Terminator 2 a couple nights ago and it made me think of the blog entry I wrote on making your own destiny. The movie ends with the the main characters driving down the road in the dark with the road ahead symbolizing a future that they just changed. The certain disaster has been averted and the future is now uncertain. I watched it with my older son and he freaked out a bit. Apparently all the laws of time travel have been broken and there should be a few paradoxes. It gets confusing and that’s the point. They’re making their own fate. That made me want to write a bit more on the topic from a different perspective.
The first is work ethic and a sense of urgency. My freshman year in college was an adjustment for me like it is for everybody. My grades dipped some compared to high school because I was having fun, the work was harder, and the only people who go to engineering school are just as smart as you are. The best thing I did that year was meet my wife who started off as a study buddy. I drew a line in the sand and, while I certainly did have fun the rest of school, my grades got better and I learned much more as a result. By the end of undergrad I’d reached a certain level of comfort with expectations and how hard I had to work which is similar to what happened by the end of high school.
Then I went to grad school. Something similar happened but I adapted better this time. I knew that expectations would be higher and the work harder, but the sense of urgency was taken up a notch. Undergrad was based on semesters and grad school on quarters. I also planned on getting an MS in a year which really should have been a clue about the amount of work involved. The first quarter started with team project meetings the first day and ended at 5:00 on the last day. You never know what you’re capable of until you push yourself. Boy has this lesson paid off.