I remember walking into my second year calculus class at the U of S feeling slightly uneasy. I had the distinct feeling that something imminent and possibly dangerous was about to occur. Then the professor began to teach. My jaw dropped. I recall him throwing complicated equations all over the blackboard, chalk clouding the increasingly oppressive air. He solved these “simple math problems” using a magic unknown to me, dissolving the complicated mass of letters and numbers into one element answers. After staring at the board for a dazed couple of seconds, I looked slowly around the classroom and witnessed the pained expressions of suffering on my fellow students’ faces as their eyes widened and glistened with panic. Through the heavy silence, the professor proceeded to announce that we were now moving on from “trivial” problems and into the more complicated procedures – What. The. Heck. I remember thinking, or maybe I declared this statement, because murmurs of agreement and fear sounded around me. Long story short, I made it through the class even though what seemed at the time to be an insurmountable task ended up being, in truth, surmountable. Achievable. Possible.
I return to school in September for my third year of chemical engineering, and I can honestly say that this “Uh oh!” feeling happens more often than not; yet, this feeling does not have to define us. We have the ability to battle and overcome any challenge that can range from enduring a line-up of 100 people when buying an overpriced textbook, to succeeding in a class that had initially set you back on your heels. Students face year to year transitions as they move closer to the world of professionalism, and though the challenges that we face may change, our attitude toward overcoming obstacles and doubts is the same.
Even though I’ve been with the Centre for Research & Innovation for a short time, I have seen the evidence of how they affect the lives of the people who walk through the doors. Dreams, so often tamped down by “reality” and missed opportunities, have the chance to blossom and grow under the guidance and support provided by the wonderful and dedicated team of the CRI. Being in the professional yet vibrating atmosphere of the CRI, I feel a connection to the world very different than what I had previously perceived. It’s contagious, this energy to move forward, to make things happen instead of waiting for them to either stroll into your life or fall by the wayside. Innovation: Not just a dream, but a reality; a reality where people grab on to their dreams and wrestle them from the cloud of their consciousness to a table of tangible truth. So, when you face your own challenges, maybe similar to my calculus class of horrors or maybe something wildly different, keep in mind that anything can be overcome with hard work, a positive attitude, and a supportive team. Eventually, you may find that the “obstacles” were really just building blocks for your journey.