For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to understand how things work. When I was a kid, I loved taking things apart and putting them back together. And I was never very “book smart” — learning was easier for me when it was experiential. I pick things up really quickly when it’s a hands-on activity.
Ever since I was that young kid taking things apart, I wanted to be like my dad. He was in construction for more than 20 years and is a great role model. He would always let me help when there were projects to do around the house. And I was eager to learn how to fix things and use different tools. …I may have even picked up a few choice vocabulary words, too!
After I graduated from high school, I started pursuing a four-year degree. I went to Wichita State University for a year, then to Butler Community College. Eventually, though, I realized I wasn't doing what I wanted, I was doing what everyone else expected me to do. I decided to take a break from school and search for a better fit, preferably something I could learn in a hands-on environment.
My dad was the one who steered me toward a great opportunity. He put me in touch with someone at Loper Electric in Wichita. Today, I’m an apprentice electrician, so I get to learn on the job. When I started, all I really knew about electricity was how to spell it, so there was a lot to take in! Everyone I’ve worked with has been very patient. My coworkers help me understand not only how to do what I’m doing, but why I’m doing it. I’m constantly asking questions and the folks I work with are always happy to answer.
To increase my skills even more, I’m also taking classes with the Wichita Chapter of Independent Electrical Contractors. It’s great to be able to work and earn a paycheck while learning new things at the same time.
This is a career that I really look forward to pursuing. My advice for others is that you can do anything you want — you just have to make sure you want it and be willing to work for it!