I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I’ve had a very different Bucknell experience from the rest of you. I’ll tell you right now, engineering is wildly different from the rest of Bucknell, and it’s brutal. Disclaimer: I’m a big believer in the classic liberal arts education (if done right), and I’ve had difficult courses outside engineering, so I won’t stand here preaching that anything outside engineering is a joke. But imagine joining a major where for 7 out of your 8 semesters you have no choice of what classes to take, your half-credits are just as hard (if not harder) than full-credit classes, a minimum of 3 labs a semester; I could go on for days. It is, in my humble opinion, much more difficult than any other major. The whole five-year track tends to affect my opinion too. I’ve taken courses amongst four different class years, from current sophomores to the class above me (not you), on a regular basis, and the fifth year can be a little jading; imagine all your best friends and your classmates (whom, let’s be honest, you know best and are closest with) were gone during your most rigorous year. You tend to outgrow Bucknell eventually, but I matured quicker than most, and so I’ve been ready to leave for a while. And then seeing my fraternity, the backbone of my college life outside of class, almost lose its charter and assuming this burden to try and stop that is also a unique phenomenon. And so here you have Bucknell through the eyes of an old straggler, torn between engineering and business but desiring a classic education, and who has seen major social and cultural change and played the Bucknell political game for the majority of his career:
I tend to be pretty hard on Bucknell. I see a lot of flaws and I’m not afraid of bringing them to light. I complain and debate with my friends and family on ranges of policies and academic trends, and I tended to make it known to administrators when I disagreed with them and when I planned on fighting against their wishes. But like that middle school boy that picks the most on his crush, I tend to be the harshest and most passionate about things I truly care about. And after five sometimes long, sometimes short, years here, I’ve come to realize how important and special Bucknell is to me. There have been times where I hated her, there was a brief honeymoon period of puppy love, but overall, I have come to recognize how much of an impact Bucknell has had on my life. It is because of Bucknell that I am who I am today; it shaped me as a leader, as a man, and it has guided me down towards a successful career path.
Engineering may have kicked my ass from time to time, I may have forgotten what a good night’s sleep is, and I’ve never had a class outside, but it has still been good for me. It has fundamentally changed the way I think about the world, and has set me up to be quite marketable in today’s economy. I’ve also had a chance to study the fundamentals of how organizations operate, as well as philosophy and politics and literature and music and art and history and all sorts of other subjects (even if it only took 4.5 years to get there). I’ve had late nights staying up to talk about various policy issues or academic trends, and have made some of the best friends of my life. Sure it’s been tough, sure sometimes I’ve wanted to pull my hair out or storm the Dean’s office, but the high road is never easy and I’m all the better for it.
And so, while I still believe Bucknell has a long way to go, it has been one hell of a ride, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I only hope the rest of you come to this same realization one day…