Chapter 4117 Anton Mendoza
Anton Mendoza. An official female bureaucrat said as she sat behind a wooden desk.
I see you have graduated from your high school with high grades, with a particular distinction in math and physics-related subjects.
That is commendable, but that is only the minimum requirement to become eligible to study at our great institution.
In order to determine your suitability to study at our fine halls, I would like to ask a few questions to you.
Is that agreeable to you, young man
A high school graduate wearing a cheap but serviceable business suit nodded.
I am at your service, madame.
Let us begin by allowing you to explain why we should enroll you into our mech design program.
The pressure on the student was already considerable.
Anton could answer the open-ended question in many different ways, but which one would allow him to raise his impression the most
This was the most important interview of his life.
For years, he had sacrificed his time to study everything he could about the sciences.
He did this just to be able to reach this desk of this specific university.
Now was the time for him to prove that he did not spend all of his time in vain.
I can be a useful addition to your school because I am a good learner. Anton replied.
I may not have broken any records at my previous school, but that is solely because the students who scored higher than me on the exams had the benefit of cognitive augmentations.
I applied myself in ways that allowed me to catch up to my richer classmates with nothing but my own baseline human ingenuity.
If I gain the opportunity to receive similar augmentations, I am confident I can reach the top of my classes once I start my studies at the Martin Hildebrand College of Mech Design.
I am pleased you are confident in your own abilities, but that does not particularly make you stand out among your peers. The woman stated in a factual tone.
You are the fourteenth applicant that has reached my desk today and I have hundreds more to interview by the end of the week.
Many bright men and women who have grown up under similar circumstances such as yourself have presented the same message.
What makes you different
There were many mech universities in the Friday Coalition.
Plenty of good ones could be found in the Vermeer Group.
While Anton Mendoza dreamed of attending the most famous and the most prestigious mech universities of his state, not every student could succeed in getting through.
The high tuition costs and the long and sometimes bizarre enrollment criteria stopped a lot of hopeful students from getting through their pearly gates.
As a high school graduate who already experienced the disparity between himself and those with richer backgrounds, Anton possessed a lot of self-knowledge about his chances.
The Friday Coalition may be a large and powerful second-rate state in the Komodo Star Sector, but the gulf between rich and poor was still as wide in any other region in the galaxy.
Rather than wasting his time by applying to the institutions where he wouldn\'t be able to succeed, he chose to knock on the doors of one that offered the greatest opportunities for someone like himself.
The Marten Hildebrand College of Mech Design had close connections with the Vermeer Group\'s military establishment.
Founded and indirectly run by the Blue Cavalry, the institution received a lot of government support and quickly rose up in the upper-middle ranks of mech design universities in the Vermeer Group.
Though its graduates weren\'t known for achieving high rates of commercial success in the mech market, many of the alumni went on to become solid performers in the many companies and organizations that went on to supply the Blue Cavalry with military mech designs.
It was due to Marten Hildebrand\'s military background that it was able to offer generous scholarships, loans and subsidies to its less affluent student base.
This presented a problem to Anton because the competition was high.
Marten Hildebrand was not particularly large and rejected a huge list of applicants every year.
The young man took a deep breath.
I want to pursue a dream that can benefit the soldiers of the Blue Cavalry.
From the moment I decided to become a mech designer, I studied the problems that mechs persistently struggled with.
I found that efficiency was one of the most enduring topics that came up.
This was a problem that resonated with me.
As someone who wasn\'t able to afford the best clothes or obtain access to the best learning resources, I had to be more mindful of how I spent my time and money.
The school official nodded.
The remarks your teachers have left behind in your record have commended your diligence.
In order to achieve the grades that I earned up until now, I planned my time and budgeted my spending down to the last coalition credit.
The habits and instincts that I have developed have guided my approach to tech.
Maybe it is too early for me to make this claim, but I believe that I am in an excellent position to apply my life lessons to my design approach and ultimately help the Blue Cavalry\'s mechs be more efficient.
The woman looked a little more intrigued at this point.
It is not common to hear that you have already decided the direction of your work should you succeed in becoming a mech designer.
I should caution you that you have not come in touch with true mech design as of yet.
You do not possess the greater knowledge and perspective of what is possible and where you can apply yourself.
Many high school graduates have set their sights on one goal only to change it to another in the middle of their studies.
That has led to numerous missed opportunities as they have missed out on electives that could have furthered their progress in their new specialties.
I will never do that. Anton shook his head.
For my entire life, I have endured deprivation and lack of opportunities.
My options were few to begin with, so I learned to appreciate the ones that were available to me even if they did not sound exciting at first.
I have come to enjoy these simple subjects.
Even if I had more opportunities later on, I stuck to my choices because I am already happy and am not willing to waste the time I put in so far.
I know what I want to pursue and I know my position in life.
Pursuing greater efficiency in all things is the sole area that I am good at accomplishing, so I see no reason to deviate from this trajectory.
While the school official did not show any obvious reaction to his answer this time, Anton guessed that he may have hit the mark.
He had wracked his brains to figure out how to get accepted in Marten Hildrebrand.
After conducting a lot of research, he developed a guess on what sort of applicants the mech design school most liked to accept.
He speculated that Marten Hildebrand probably kept an eye out on diligent, solid mech design students who were stable and free from controversy.
The school did not especially prioritize geniuses and prodigies as they were usually arrogant, flamboyant or volatile.
While those personality traits were often correlated with radical and successful innovations, these divas weren\'t a suitable fit for an institution that was educating mech designers for the Blue Cavalry.
Therefore, Anton tried his best to present himself as a modest kid with relatively modest ambitions.
By showing a determination to follow a course that he had planned and reasoned beforehand, he wished to demonstrate that he possessed many of the traits that the Blue Cavalry liked to see in the mech designer under its retainer.
The interview proceeded as the woman asked a dozen more questions.
Many of them were open-ended and vague, thereby forcing Anton to use his judgment to supply the answer that would raise his score.
There were a few instances where he felt he was close to digging himself in a pit, but he endured the situations as best as possible and continued on as if nothing was wrong.
As the school official gained a more comprehensive understanding of Anton Mendoza that couldn\'t be obtained by reading through documents, the woman asked one final question.
What will you do if Marten Hildebrand has decided not to enroll you for the upcoming academic year She asked as her eyes gazed closely in his direction.
Though Anton did not expect to hear this question, he thought quickly.
He could think of two possible ways he could answer this question.
He could show his commitment by telling her that he would wait another year before applying again, convinced he was the right mech design student for the right mech design school.
He could also show his pragmatism by explaining to her that he would simply apply to another mech university with lower standards.
Which one should he choose As a few seconds passed by, the school official began to show more and more impatience, so he went for the truth.
I would thank Marten Hildebrand for reviewing my application and proceed to apply at another institution. He replied in a firm and unquestionable tone.
While I would be disappointed if you did not decide to accept me despite my beliefs that I would be right for your school, I am accustomed to disappointment.
Mech designers must recognize that they cannot always get what they want in their mech designs, so I too recognize that I cannot always have what I want when I do not control my own circumstances.
That is a realistic outlook on life. The woman eventually replied.
While I found your mature and honest answer commendable, mech designers are more special than other engineers because they do not accept the limits that reality imposes upon their work.
If you take everything too seriously and accept every part of reality as a given, then how will you be able to push yourself to break the limits that are preventing existing mechs from becoming even greater and more powerful than before
Did Anton give the wrong answer this time Uncertainty racked his mind as he guessed whether he had disqualified himself in front of the woman who would decide his entry into his chosen school.
The admission interview ended shortly after that.
The woman dismissed him with a curt message and told him to wait for a message in two weeks.
The days he spent after that were some of the most agonizing ones of his life.
He sleeplessly rolled around in bed.
He prepared applications for other mech design universities.
He spoke to former classmates and virtual friends to evaluate his answers.
He studied the mechs of the Blue Cavalry that might or might not be within his reach in the future.
Exactly two weeks after the admission interview, young Anton received an official letter in his virtual inbox.
He immediately activated his comm and opened it up to read the most crucial sentence of the letter!
[...The Marten Hildebrand College of Mech Design has accepted your application to enter into our first-year Mech Design Bachelor Program…]
Anton normally kept himself under careful control, but this time his emotions grew so strong that he could not hold his surging emotions back!
I\'m in! I\'m in! I\'m in!
Getting into Marten Hildebrand meant that he managed to get ahead of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of rival students who sought to do the same!
He knew that as long as he worked as diligently and earnestly as before, he would definitely be able to make it through and graduate with decently good grades.
That was enough for him to receive an invitation from the Blue Cavalry to work at one of its many design institutions.
From there, he would not only be able to earn a good salary, he would also be able to rise higher by taking advantage of the generous learning and promotion opportunities offered by the military!
To poor adolescents like Anton Mendoza who had no hopes of becoming an independent mech designer, working for the state was the best way to become successful in their lives!
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