Emily Lam

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Daunting Future

I'm constantly thinking of my future. I can't help it. And I don't quite mind it. But it is a little tasking at times. It wears me out because the future is daunting.

Why?

It's daunting because even though I have two years of college under my belt, I still feel completely useless. There's just so much to learn! I think that's the difference between the sciences and the arts. The arts requires lots of practice and self discovery, while the sciences requires lots of knowledge and logic over intuition. And then there's engineering, which I think is a combination of the two. You don't necessarily need to understand as much as the physicist why certain things work but you still need to understand, unless you want your project to blow up, or worst, do nothing. But then you also need to be creative, and design and make things. Like the arts, you need to practice engineering. You can't just rely on what you learned in classes, or from textbooks, or on the web. You need to practice engineering. So to be a great engineer, you must live the lifestyle of both the scientist and the artist. That sounds like a lot of work.

Now, toss in the fact that I want to be an Imagineer, specifically an engineering Imagineer. Not only do I need to understand and apply the latest technology, I need to be more creative than the normal engineer. I need to understand how stories are structured, how colors and lights and metals combine into a story, how to bring a little magic into the world. You know, so that I can build an attraction like the Enchanted Tiki Room, where guests, especially the younger ones, still walk out the attraction and wonder why it's not raining, when inside the Enchanted Tiki Room, the Imagineers made it look so convincing that it was raining outside. That sounds so rewarding!

I do know that every attraction at Disney is built by a team, and one person doesn't necessarily need to know everything in depth, but they do need to know one thing very in depth. So what's that one thing for me? In my trip down to Florida this summer, I discovered I wanted to do animatronics. I've always thought I wanted to make roller coasters. And yeah, that by every means sounds like a wonderful job. But I realized that's not what I want to do in the end. I'll take it if it comes my way though, without hesitation.

This is where everything becomes even more daunting, borderline gloomy. How does one even build an animatronic? I'm working right now on building a teabot, and I see it being finished in the future. But that's that, a robot. How does one build an animatronic to behave fluidly like an animal or person? Again, so much to learn.

And I don't want to restrict my learning. I still do want to know how roller coasters work. I also would really like to know how photonics works, partly because I am just so jaded by color lights. And fluids. I'd love to be able to build something like World of Color. (hmmm, that's got me thinking . . .) And let's not forget pyrotechnics.

So I think of all these things. Of my current  knowledge and skill level. Of all the things I need to learn, which is a lot. All the work that must be done, again a lot. Work that looks frustrating and tedious, and perhaps pointless. And decisions I need to make: like do I want to study abroad, take a semester off to intern, take interesting classes, etc. Oh, and let's not forget I want to live . . .

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