Speed School

speedschoolscrop-249x175The stereotypical notion of college is living in a fraternity house with other guys, lotsa beer drinking, partying, some study, sorority girls all over the place, the football games, and so on.

None of that was college for me. In fact, my college was more like high school warmed over. I lived at home and commuted every day. My hours were a bit irregular but the rest was very similar. There were no girls at the Speed Scientific School of the University of Louisville. There were no female faculty and no female students. While some of the engineering guys were in fraternities, that was the exception rather than the rule. And football at the University of Louisville? Although the team is nationally ranked nowadays, when I was there, basketball was big but the football program was about on par with volleyball and chess.

Every night it was study for me. I found engineering to be pretty tough as do most people and the grades were hard in coming. Under the quarter system, it seemed as if we were taking finals
continually. In fact, I figured out once just how many hours we spent taking tests in the five year
undergraduate program and it came out to 50 full days!

I suppose that everyone who has ever attended university would be able to tell stories about
wacky professors. We had a few at Speed School. Our Physics professor, Dr. Schwartz, had an
eccentric style of lecturing. He would call out people in the class and ask them questions. He
would tell them if that question was to be on the test and make  predictions as to what percent of the class would flunk the question. Our engineering math professor was Chinese, very smart and completely impatient with anyone like me who didn’t get it right off. “Ehhh, well, yo see, in-te-grate X to the X, dx …” Integral calculus was hard enough without having to deal with the language issue too.

At the end of the sophomore year we began alternating every quarter between academic work and co-oping at an industrial firm, vis a vis an internship program. This lasted for two years until we became seniors and was a good program for gaining experience in business as well as earning money for tuition and expenses.

All four of my quarterly co-op periods were spent with the telephone company, not immersed in cutting edge technology, but an enjoyable learning experience for an unworldly nerd trying to
become an engineer. The co-op experience led to my employment after graduation with Southern Bell and a career that I was to enjoy for nearly forty years.