At the termination of my vacation I was sent to the Poly-Technic School in Gratz, Styria (Austria), which my father had chosen as one of the oldest and best reputed institutions. That was the moment I had eagerly awaited and I began my studies under good auspices and firmly resolved to succeed. My previous training was above average, due to my father’s teaching and opportunities afforded. I had acquired the knowledge of a number of languages and waded through the books of several libraries, picking up information more or
less useful. Then again, for the first time, I could choose my subjects as I liked, and free-hand drawing was to bother me no more.
I had made up my mind to give my parents a surprise, and during the whole first year I regularly started my work at three o’clock in the morning and continued until eleven at night, no Sundays or holidays excepted. As most of my fellow-students took things easily, naturally I eclipsed all records. In the course of the year I passed through nine exams and the professors thought I deserved more than the highest qualifications. Armed with their flattering certificated, I went home for a short rest, expecting triumph, and was mortified when my father made light of these hard-won honours.
That almost killed my ambition; but later, after he had died, I was pained to find a package of letters which the professors had written to him to the effect that unless he took me away from the Institution I would be killed through overwork. Thereafter I devoted myself chiefly to physics, mechanics and mathematical studies, spending the hours of leisure in the libraries.
From 'The Strange Life of Nikola Tesla' p.16-17