Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Welding Out of My Comfort Zone

The summer before my Freshman year, I mapped out my entire high school class schedule. At this point in my life, I thought I was going to be a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, so my classes consisted of anatomy, medical interventions, introduction to the medical field, and Health Sciences at my local vocational school, Blue River Career Programs (BRCP). I’ve toured BRCP several times, and this place was so interesting to me. Instead of sitting in a chair and desk for 50 minutes, students get to learn hands-on in a specific field, such as firefighting, culinary arts, autotechnology, and much more. In the Health Science 1 class, I would get to learn the ins and outs of the medical field before advancing to Health Science 2 to obtain my CNA license. 

During my sophomore year, plans changed just a bit. I was sitting in my child development class one day when I came to the realization that I didn’t really want to be a doctor. I went back to my 4 year high school plan to make some adjustments. I knew now that I wanted to be a teacher, so I switched my Senior Year Health Science 1 class with Work Based Learning to job shadow a teacher. I submitted my senior year class requests just as I had planned. 5 days later, I was having second thoughts. I spent my junior year in Education Professions shadowing my 2nd grade teacher’s class, and I loved it, but did I want  another year of shadowing? I searched Purdue University’s class list for Ag Ed and focused on the Ag Mech classes, and my eyes were attracted to Welding. In the spur of the moment, I emailed my counselor to sign me up for welding at BRCP. 

My mom’s face dropped when I told her I was going to take welding class, and honestly, I was shocked I did it too. I’ve never welded a day in my life, so was I really about to use 3 hours of my school day to learn this new skill? Absolutely. 

I was the only girl in my class, which I won’t lie, was pretty cool. In a matter of days, I was figuring out the basics to striking an arc and simple stick welding. Before the semester ended, I was mastering all positions of stick and MIG welding with some OxyFuel in between. I started TIG in January and began constructing my project for the SkillsUSA competition in April. Although class was cut short in March and I didn’t get to complete my project or compete with it, I still found a love for the craft and found a way to finish my project at home. 

It’s crazy how plans can just change in the blink of an eye. Yet, when we take a leap of faith, incredible things can happen. We only have this one life, so let’s embrace every opportunity we can and step out of our comfort zone every now and then. 

Always embracing opportunities, 

Julia Hamblen

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