For a while now, I’ve been contemplating the decision to go back to school and continuing my studies. As it stands, I currently have a diploma in Software Engineering but I am not considered to be an engineer because I only have a diploma. In order to be qualified as an engineer I need a degree. Universities hand out degrees while colleges hands out diplomas. The reason why I didn’t go into university from the start was because I was lazy. I didn’t raise my grades high enough to be accepted. I took all of the advanced classes but I didn’t try hard enough. The grades that I ended up with were good enough for college. Plus the workload was less in college than in university.
From the start of my high school days, I probably had the potential to get into university. I was a good student who had close perfect attendance. I never skipped class. I was in school everyday albeit sometimes late which is hard to understand since I only live across the street from the school. I hardly went out to party because I concentrated on my schooling so much. Studying wasn’t always the reason though. I was playing on my computer most of the time.
Before I completed high school, I had the choice of continuing my education in post secondary. I enrolled in all of the advanced classes in case I change my mind and do decide to go to university but my mind was set on college. I read up on everything that university life had to offer. If I had gone to university, I would have left Hamilton and attend a university out of the city. McMaster University is a well known university but since I was going to be paying a lot of money for schooling, I’d figured that I might as well go all out.
By the time the end of the school year came around, I was really into computers, especially programming so my first choice for post secondary was University of Waterloo. I heard that they had a good programming program and the big boys like Research in Motion (RIM) and Microsoft were on campus all the time looking for potential recruits. I found whatever reading material I could find about the school and researched it to see if it was the school for me. I saw that the campus was big and really beautiful. I think that the appearance of the campus attracted me more than their curriculum. But when I looked at the marks required to get into the school, I saw that my grades were way too low. In order to get into their Engineering Program, I need an average grade in the low nineties. At the time, my average grade was around the mid seventies. So I didn’t go to Waterloo.
My next option was to decide between McMaster University and Mohawk College. If I attend McMaster, my tuition would be twice as expensive as Mohawk. My thought of university was that I would be spending a lot of time reading while in college, I’ll be taking a more practical approach. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to spend all my time with my nose in the books and I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to spend a lot of money either. So it came down to Mohawk College. I would be saving money because tuition fees werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t that high. I would be living at home so I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to worry about the cost of living. I could get my studies completed a year earlier than university. So I went to Mohawk.
While attending Mohawk, I had days where I wished I went to university instead. I took all those advanced classes for nothing. Mohawk is a great school but it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t as challenging as I thought it was be. Yes, I spend most of my time programming than I do learning the theory but that wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enough. A part of me wanted to transfer to university. I wanted to be an Engineering rather than a Technician.
When I graduated from Mohawk, I regret not having gone to university from the start. I was so eager to get into the workforce that I took the easier way. I wanted to complete my education and just start my career. Mohawk had promised a high employment rate after graduation but the longer I stayed in school, the lower those rates seemed. The placement rates were so low that I was losing hope. Eventually, I stopped looking for a software programming job and just looked for a computer job. And here I am working at a job that my diploma got me. I am not an Engineer. I am a Computer Technician, just like my diploma says.
I still want to pursue my option of getting a degree and I plan on doing so within the next year. Mohawk sent me a letter stating that they have a joint program with McMaster University where I have the option of upgrading my diploma to a degree. McMaster and Mohawk are “collaborating in the development of a unique concept for the shared delivery of technological education in Ontario. The primary purpose of this new endeavour is to offer a Bachelor of Technology degree program with a variety of technical specializations. It builds on the very successful Bachelor of Technology program which has been offered jointly by both institutions since 1997. This type of program is targeted to individuals whose technological interests are applications-oriented.” The program allowed a Mohawk College graduate, like myself to take a two-year course to get a degree rather than four years.
If I choose to attend, I will have full access to McMaster and Mohawk resource. Upon completion of the program, I’m qualified to take on jobs such as an I.T. Manager, a Network Supervisor, a Software Engineering Project Leader or a Systems Analyst. But right now, I’m fine with being a Computer Technician. I like going around and fixing computers. I would like it every much to get back into programming though. I see this opportunity as a doorway to something better.