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©2000 Zhan Huan Zhou
Updated Jan-01-2000

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The Road To Nowhere

©1999 Zhan Huan Zhou, Fall 1997, Issue 4

Why are we here? Where are we going? These are two questions that have baffled philosophers for centuries, from Ancient Greece to modern times. Personally, I donít care. What matters is why I am here at the University of Waterloo and where I am going after I graduate. In the past week while I was choosing a course for next term for pre-registration, I continually asked myself these questions, never getting a clear answer from myself.

Honestly, I think that many students come out of high school entering various programs in post-secondary institutions not knowing what they are getting into. I would have to include myself in this group.

There are two main reasons I chose Computer Engineering at Waterloo. The first is that there is a growing demand for skills in this field and there will be plenty of job opportunities when I graduate. In short, I wanted a field where I could find a job upon graduation and make money. The second reason is a little less material. There is certain prestige saying that I was accepted into the hardest discipline at the best engineering university in Canada. I like that kind of attention. Similarly, many students I have talked to voice similar opinions.

Going back to course selections, I had to plan out my electives so that I could take the courses I want in fourth-year. I looked at my options and doubts flooded my mind. I continually asked myself the two questions I raised at the beginning of this article. Half of the required curriculum seemed so uninteresting from the course descriptions. I didnít know what I was doing in Computer Engineering, it didnít seem like it was for me. However, recent events and some rethinking has lead me to a new path. I realized that by choosing my specialization in fourth-year would more or less determine the rest of my career. Previous notions of my future plans were strengthened and I had a clearer perspective. I knew where I was, why I am here and where I am going.

The point I want to make is that many of you probably only have a vague idea of what you want to do in the future. The co-op system is actually very good in helping you decide what you want to do. You get to taste many different areas and you ultimately decide which area you want to specialize in.

You canít go about life aimlessly without any sense of direction. Your life becomes clearer when you know what you want to do and have goals to strive for. Even if you never reach your goals or your goals change, the steps you make toward them will be satisfying. After all, success is a journey, not a destination.