IT’S TIME TO PLAY ‘POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE’ MY SON JEFF IS OFFICIALLY A MECHANICAL ENGINEER!
June is a crazy month for the Smith family. In addition to my daughter’s wedding (you may have read about her marriage proposal back in March), we will also be celebrating a huge milestone in my son Jeff’s life: his graduation from Seattle Pacific University! While he has spent the last four years taking math classes with names I can barely pronounce, Jeff’s choice to major in mechanical engineering wasn’t a surprise to anyone in our family. Ever since he was a small boy, he’s always had an amazing affinity for cars. The moment matchbox cars were no longer a choking hazard, Jeff had his pockets stuffed with them. He also spent a lot of time during his formative years building Lego cars. I remember having to constantly buy models that were allegedly made for kids in much older age groups. It seemed like his love for cars helped him speed through every Lego model made for kids his age! He sustained his interest throughout middle and high school as well. In fact, I recall him pulling car magazines from the shelves to memorize hundreds of car stats while the rest of the family shopped for groceries. His keen ability to remember even the most minute details was so impressive. His brain just seemed to absorb anything that pertained to cars. It got to the point
where I could point to any car on the road, and Jeff could tell me the make, model, top speed, and average price.
When it came time to research potential colleges, Jeff already
intended on majoring in mechanical engineering. Near the end of his junior year in high school, my wife and I took him on a trip to tour several colleges in both Southern California and Oregon. We asked Jeff if he wanted to make a quick trip over to Seattle to tour schools there, but he assured us he didn’t need to. Not long after we returned home, Jeff received an email from Seattle Pacific, which piqued his interest. One of his friends at school was already planning a visit, so Jeff tagged along. In the end, he loved the campus, the host students, and the city of Seattle so much that when he came home, he knew exactly where he wanted to pursue his degree. While his decision was slightly unnerving for his mom and me, because it was the only school we hadn’t researched and visited, hearing about Jeff’s experiences over the past four years has demonstrated that he knew exactly what he should be doing and where he should be doing it. Very few college students around the world have their career path determined before their first day of
college, and even fewer stick with the first major they declare, but Jeff has worked so hard to get to this day. He uprooted his life to live in a city 12 hours away from his hometown, made a life for himself in a new place, and spent unimaginable hours mastering mathematical equations that leave my head spinning. And even now, his passion for cars continues. In May, Jeff and his fellow students will be competing in a car competition called Baja SAE. They build an off-road car from scratch and compete against universities from all over the country. When Jeff walks down the aisle at his college commencement this month, he won’t just be celebrating his degree; he’ll be celebrating his ability to thrive as an adult.
Congratulations, Jeff! Your mom and I are so proud of you!
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