In another life

In another life I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. This was back in grade 11 physics, which I loved. My teacher recognized that and talked to me about engineering, and I was drawn in to aerospace. I wanted to make rockets. I was sure that this is what I would do until I discovered art and teenage angst the next year and it was downhill more or less from there. Over the next year and a half I took every visual art and music class my school offered. I started working for a semi-pro theatre company and after graduation I ended up in a BFA dance program in Toronto for a few months. I dropped out of that after midterms first semester, got married, was a starving artist for a few years, had some babies, got divorced, and am now almost done a Women’s Studies degree.

I hate how much I’ve forgotten. I work peripherally now in all these tech capacities without much grasp of the foundations. There is so much backbone work that I can’t do. I took computer science in high school and programmed in BASIC (wooooahhh, time warp) and was good at it – enjoyed it even, but I’m no coder now – not a hope.

Next semester I take a basic C programming course to finish an IT minor – and I both dread it and am nervously anticipating it. The anxiety comes from realizing it’s been over 15 years since I’ve done any type of programming/math – and I’m scared. I know I don’t remember how to think that way and I worry how hard I’ll have to work to catch up. My application to grad school (still undecided there) is also dependent on my last semester marks. If I blow my GPA now, there’s no making it up.

But on the other hand, I remember the thrill of an elegant proof and the excitement of geometry – I really loved this stuff. How can a brain forget how to do this? How do we just let a part of our brain fall dormant? Is it dead? Can it come back? How far could I go?

I don’t know that I can look at this the way I did in highschool. Now my time is finite. If I don’t finish something in an hour there often isn’t another hour later when I can come back to it. I don’t have the luxury of closing my bedroom door and working on problems all night – what if I can’t do it anymore? What if I lost my chance?

I wonder about doing a CS degree now, after my women’s studies is done. I don’t have the prereqs. Once I discovered ‘art’ I had to forego calculus. To get into the program I’d have to catch up the highschool credits I missed – even that makes me wonder. It would be wild to spin my brain in those circles again, but at what cost?

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