This week, we asked the students to think back and give some advice that they wished they would have listened to when they first started their journey. Hindsight is always 20/20, so let’s see what they had to say:
Michael: Follow Your Dreams
Here’s the thing, I LOVE the trades. The idea of solving problems while working “hands-on” with tools that energize me… I often ask myself, “if I could turn back time and start over, what would I have done differently?”
Easy. I would have entered the trades MUCH earlier in my life. I have vivid memories of being seventeen years old and proud of myself for landing a meeting with one of the leading “high- end” General Contractors in my home town.
We met at the local diner over coffee (that was a big deal at seventeen). By the end of the meeting, I had landed a new job. I planned to graduate high school and begin my working life in the trades.
My parents (whom I love dearly) had another idea- off to college. Although I do not regret attending college and praise my parents for providing me with the opportunity to advance my education, I wish I chose to use the knowledge I gained during college within my area of passion much sooner in life.
Throughout my adult life, I have filled that void with avid, advanced DIY projects, often with my Dad by my side. Today, I am living my dream!
One footnote: my son Ben is eighteen and chose to attend college. As part of our family’s decision-making process on where he should continue his education, we discussed plumbing, carpentry, electrical, and mechanical trades along with the traditional four-year universities before he made his choice.
Follow your passion…follow your dreams…that was our advice.
Logan: Consider Taking College Courses In High School
Honestly, I wouldn’t change my major at all. After I graduate from college, I would have two major. My carpentry diploma and my welding degree. If I had a choice when I was in high school, I would take college classes to get my degree quicker. I was mostly working through high school. I wanted to make some money, and I did. I worked part-time at a lumber yard. I bought my first car on my own. I am twenty-one years old and ready to be done with school. I
am prepared to go back to work.
This summer, I’ll be doing my internship. I plan on working at PPI in Lenox, IA. They said they would start me off at $17.00 an hour. I am excited to be working there. I applied there eight times and never heard from them. The other day I walked in and told them that I am taking welding at SWCC. They said we would hire you when you’re done with school. I’ll be working 10 hours every day. I don’t regret anything or would not change anything.
Riley: Take that Electrical Class
In my last entry, I explained that I knew absolutely nothing about the HVAC industry before entering it, and that was true! Things I wish I knew about my new career field before entering it would have been how much I’ve had to learn in the classroom and the area to fully understand how to do my job safely and efficiently. I also wish I would have known how much social skills it requires to be in the residential market for HVAC.
If I could go back in time to give my younger self some advice and tips about things I wish I would have done before entering this program, it would be to take that electrical class that they offered in highschool. I honestly didn’t know I would work around so much electrical equipment, which is crazy that I thought that, but it has been something I have had to learn a lot of. I also wish I would have paid more attention in my math classes in high school because I have had some tough math and physics classes while in my program.
While these specific scenarios may not apply to you, there is always something to consider from another person’s perspective. Take these insights and apply them to your own career goals, and learn from others!