Here is a story that I tell for the benefit of others. There is no need to worry about me, for while this period of time was difficult, it is also over. Do not feel bad for me either, because going through this difficult period of time afforded me many tools that allow me to thrive today.
I do have one request. My telling of this time period will give sufficient information that people who know me well enough would be able to identify me. If this post gives you enough information that you know who I am, please keep it to yourself. I use the name oeruli because it allows me to tell intimate stories about my life for the benefit of others while maintaining anonymity. The name behind the mask is one I want kept to myself and those who I personally assign my trust. I suppose we could talk about it on an individual basis, but please be careful. It would be embarrassing if you misidentify someone else as me.
And with that, my story begins:
Before going to UOIT, I spent 2 years at the University of Toronto where I studied Engineering Science. High School was too easy for me, a joke practically. The pace was too slow for my capabilities, and so I was eager for the challenge that Engineering Science provided.
I was also struggling to chose between studying biological science and studying physics and engineering. Both were very interesting to me. Engineering Science seemed the ultimate compromise, and after the first two years I could go into the Biomedical Engineering option.
All of this seemed perfect for me, but I struggled with it. I treated it like high school and was punished for it with barely passing grades. I didn’t give it the effort it deserved, and so I only made it the first year before I was transferred out of Engineering Science and into Core 8 Engineering.
The summer before that academic term was when I was told of my autistic condition, and if you have read my previous blogs you would know that I did not take it very well. It was with this news that I went on my summer trip to Europe on a group trip. I went on the trip and while I found it enjoyable, this revelation swam in my mind the whole time. Keeping this knowledge to myself was challenging, but I managed the whole time, which is a good thing. I do not stay in contact with any of the people I was on the trip with. The memory of the trip leaves me feeling bitter when I think of the individuals who were on the trip.
The trip was also the time where I first went to night clubs, and as I have posted in the past, I hate them with a fiery passion.
With these memories, and with the revelation of my autistic condition, I went to UofT and studied engineering. With these distractions and with my underestimation of the challenge of the program I was enrolled in, I struggled. As I struggled, I felt I lost my identity and I questioned my capabilities as an intelligent mind.
Evasively I thought about suicide. A while ago I would have never admitted this, because I was so evasive about it that I wouldn’t have even believed it if someone thought I was contemplating the deed. My mind is quite the trickster that way, clever and well trained.
After the first year of Engineering Science, I was transferred into Core 8 Engineering. After my experience with the System Biology course, I was turned off of biology. The professors (while I imagine they are excellent researchers) were not very good teachers, so bad that I lost interest in biology for some time and selected Electrical Engineering instead of a branch that would lead to pursuits in biological science. I continued to struggle with that and flunked out in the second term. Somewhere in the second term of second year I must have given up.
So how did I recover from this? I was councilled into going into UOIT and trying biology instead of engineering. I did as was recommended and went to speak with UOIT’s recruitment manager to procure my place in UOIT as a biology student.
First year science is the same for all science students for the most part. Everyone does biology, chemistry, physics, math, and some computer programming. My second round through university was considerably easier than my first. UOIT presented a lesser challenge than UofT Engineering Science, but having learned the material in the past one time gave me an advantage.
Then I realized just how much of a grasp of mathematics and physics I really had. Engineering Science gave me a lot of trouble, but it promised to give me a strong foundation that would help me in all other pursuits.
Turns out it delivered on that promise.
UOIT allowed me to refine my skill at math, physics, and computer science, but UofT forged them in the first place. The second time around I was surprised with how good I was. I understood the material and learned better techniques for remembering and applying it.
It wasn’t only math and science either. Through the gauntlet of Engineering Science, I learned to give oral presentations. Engineering Praxis was my favourite course in Engineering Science. It was about taking the knowledge from my other courses and applying it as an engineer. It was about seeing the world as an engineer does, applying knowledge and gaining new tools. The professor of that course is probably my favourite professor of all time. From him I learned to think like an engineer, and from him I learned how to present like an engineer.
So while I had a tough time, I came out of it better. I struggled through the process, but through that struggle I was forged into a better, more capable person. It allowed me to reassert my identity, and it allowed me great opportunities to flourish. Despite the challenge and difficulty, I would not trade it for anything.
So don’t feel bad for me. I’m fine now. I’m better than fine. I went through a tough time and emerged stronger than before.
But again: if you know who I am, please keep it to yourself. Be so kind as to do me that courtesy.