Jasmine and the Lamp
Leonard Tate The Battle for the Kingdom JasmineandtheLamp.com
Leonard Tate's Blog

Leonard Tate

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     An Author’s Blog #1



            Leonard Tate

How Did I Get Here?  


I haven’t always been a writer, but secretly I think I’ve always wanted to be one. As a college freshman, I made a serious choice. The choice was between majoring in journalism or electrical engineering, both of which I enjoyed immensely.             


As a young child I spent hours reading Walter H. Farley’s Black Stallion novels. I must have read each one at least twice. After finishing one I would think how great it must be to create such an enjoyable story. During the same period of my young life I would spend an equal number of hours building crystal and transistor radios. I was so proud of my small accomplishment that I would show it to anyone who would listen. Keep in mind that this was the middle fifties and miniaturization was in its infancy. Most of you have never seen a vacuum tube, but radios were once large cumbersome stationary pieces of furniture.


When I was growing up the consensus thinking was that if you were good in English, then you probably weren’t very good in science and math. Well I blew that idea right out of the box.  I wrote winning school essays and advanced to the citywide science fair of Chicago twice.


But all of this was just background for the choice I had to make. I chose electrical engineering over journalism. The question is why? Keep in mind that I was a seventeen-year-old inner city youth who didn’t know one journalist or one electrical engineer. Now follow my logic here. I firmly believed that physics, chemistry, algebra, calculus, differential equations and electromagnetic theory were far more rigorous than the courses required for a degree in journalism. My simplistic logic was that if I found engineering too difficult, I could always change my major to journalism.


By my junior year I thought just that. This engineering pursuit is just too hard and even though I remained in good standing the struggle to do so had beaten me down. Now here comes the shocker. I went to my adviser to request a change in my major to journalism. He asked why and I explained it to him. After reviewing my academic records he spoke, “Well of course you know that means starting over from the beginning. None of your engineering courses are transferable to the School of Journalism.”


My bottom lip hit the floor. Two years later I received a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and the only writing in my near future was engineering reports.    

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