Monday, June 13, 2011

The End of the Beginning

When the Allied forces defeated Rommel's Afrika Corps at the Second Battle of El Alamein, Winston Churchill had this to say:

"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. It is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Such could also be said of my life the last two months. I haven't made a conscious effort to update regularly since last Spring Break or so, and it's showed. In that time a number of interesting things have happened. For example, the airplane my senior design team fabricated flew.

This was a wonderful moment after all the effort and time the seven of us devoted to the project. I couldn't have asked for a better team (I'm all the way on the right below).

I also graduated from college. My academic record as an undergraduate is complete. There will be no revisions. The list of addendums and flourishes on my degree are an embarrassment of riches. "Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, Mathematics minor, Summa Cum Laude, Foundation Honors, University Honors, Honors in Aerospace Engineering," the reader said as I stood waiting to shake Dr. Loftin's hand and cross the stage.

It feels so different from graduating from high school, though. I felt triumphant after graduating from high school, as though I'd taken on some great evil foe and won, ready to move on to more worthy opponents. In a sense I suppose that was true. Now I mainly feel defeated, honorably or not. There's so much I don't know, and only so little I do, and I just hope I can keep tackling this monstrous unknown and come out better for the struggle. I suppose that's what grad school's for, and why I'll be heading back to College Station in the fall.

For now, though, I'll be in Seattle. It's a beautiful place, quite different from Phoenix or College Station, though it combines some elements of the two. Hilly like Arizona (but more so) and green like Texas (but taller, and deeper green), it's here I'll take stock of my time as an undergrad Aggie and prepare for my time as a grad student Aggie. In the meantime I'll have plenty to do between Boeing (where I start tomorrow), hiking in the evergreen hills, and generally doing those things that don't get done between September and May. Gradatim ferociter.

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