Once upon a time, I really thought I wanted to work with electronics. For as long as I’ve been alive my dad has worked as IT/Tech support for SAIT, and as far as I was concerned my dad was a superhero. So growing up, I thought I wanted to follow in his footsteps.
I’ve been a big fan of the internet since I was a kid. I remember the fact that I could play Warcraft with my friend across the city was absolutely fascinating to me. My love of electronics from an early age meant that I went through elementary, junior high, and high school believing that I really liked the technology behind electronics, communications, and information tech.
As it would turn out, I’d mixed up my interest in using electronics with an interest in actually creating and understanding the technology behind how it all worked…
Choosing my path after high school
Naturally, when it came time for graduation I picked one of the first electronics programs I saw: Electronics Engineering Technology and SAIT. I graduated from high school in June of 2009 and got accepted to SAIT for the Fall of that same year. I was two months away from my first taste of post-secondary education!
It would be the most conflicted six months of my academic career.
What have I gotten myself into?
I started at SAIT when I was 18 years old, and while the program I enrolled in may not have been a good fit for me, the school itself was incredible. I loved the whole post-secondary atmosphere but I wasn’t happy in my program. It was very math intensive. In my first semester I was taking courses like:
Electronics (the physics behind electronic components)
Digital technology (Circuitry, AND gates, OR gates, NOR gates, NAND gates, Boolean Logic...what?)
Linear Algebra (gross)
Professionalism and communications (yawn)
The only course I actually enjoyed was Fabrication, which was the lab component. I hated the rest of my courses, and it reflected in my marks. I managed to maintain a B to C average (low to high 70’s), but for me that simply wasn’t good enough. I knew that I could do better, but I just didn’t care about my classes.
How I figured out the program wasn’t for me
I figured it out pretty quickly that Electronics Engineering Technology wasn’t for me. All it took was a few weeks of interacting with my classmates to realize that: A) I was not nearly as passionate as they were; and B) These were not my kind of people. My classmates were nice enough and they obviously loved the program, but I just did not relate to any of them.
My inner gaming nerd could relate, but by talking to my classmates it became clear that they enjoyed the program on a whole other level. I was good at math, but I didn’t like math. I enjoyed making power supplies and circuits, but I didn’t love it. It seemed like my classmates’ life dreams had come true when they were soldering resistors onto a board, and I wanted to find a program that would make me feel the same thing.
Telling my dad
Telling my dad I wanted to switch my programs wasn’t easy. He was pretty mad, but for all the right reasons. School is expensive, and my parents paid a pretty penny to get me there. The only thing he asked was that I “do more research next time.”
Not only was my dad fine with me going out and trying something else, but he actively supported me in my next endeavor and made me realize just how lucky I was to have the opportunity to change my post-secondary path.
Seven years later my advice to you is this: do your research, don’t rush into anything, and have some reserve money (y’know, get a job). You might need some extra cash one day and may not be as lucky as me to have supportive parents. And finally: never go to school simply because you think you have to, you’ll probably end up regretting it. Take the time to do the research and find your best fit.
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