Steve Sicard, 2011, Southington, CT
What are you up to? Currently I am two years into my electrical apprenticeship for an industrial company in Waterbury. I service industrial and manufacturing facilities across the state as well as build control and automation systems. I spend most of my time working, but I have recently enrolled back in school to get an electrical engineering degree.
How'd you get here? I guess this all started my senior year of high school. To be honest, I never really cared much about school. I skated my way through high school, having more fun than anything else. I don't regret that, high school was a blast and I'm glad about how I did it.
Senior year everyone was applying to schools and figuring out what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. I, on the other hand, was in denial about it ending. So, when March came around and I had to make a decision on what to do, I chose to go to Western Connecticut State University to study Criminal Justice. This decision was based solely on the fact that many of my friends were going there and that everyone always told me that I HAD to go to college after high school. Two years of school went by and I realized how much I despised the subject. That's when it hit me. Why should I go to school and waste all this money on something I don't even like? I actually signed a leave of absence form that day and dropped out of school, unbeknownst to my parents, of course.
I finished out the semester working full time for a local amusement park as a mechanic. This is when it all changed for me. My boss at the time was very supportive in my decision but also pushed me to do better. He encouraged me to work with every type of trades-person that he hired and told me to try to find one I liked and pursue it. I tried all of them, but found electrical work especially interesting. Fast forward 3 years and here I am: trade school completed, half-way through an apprenticeship, and back in school for something I really love.
What are your goals? As of now (they seem to change constantly) I'm pursuing my master electrician's license, a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, and working to obtain a professional engineering license. I have been all over the place in what I want to do with my life and I finally have found a future I'm very focused on. I'm fascinated by electrical control and automation and want a career in designing and building those systems.
Advice for WHS Students? For starters, you DO NOT have to go to college directly after high school. I 100% believe that higher education is the way to go, but don't rush it. If you don't really understand what you want to do, you could end up with years and thousands of dollars wasted on something you will may never use, with possibly a paper to show for it (if you make it through). Instead, take every opportunity to try different things and explore what really interests you. Once you have found that out, pursue it with everything you got. You'll never fail if you give something 100%.
Secondly, NOTHING is going to be given to you. You have to work your ass off for everything. One of the biggest things I have noticed about my generation is the sense of entitlement everyone seems to have. Don't expect to get anywhere in life being lazy, it may have worked in high school, but in the real world you will fail.
Finally, never stop striving to do better. One of the best quotes I have ever heard was this "Successful people continuously learn new things, unsuccessful people think they know it all."
P.S. Don't be afraid to work with your hands. Growing up I worked on anything I could get my hands on, from cars to bikes, but I was always told that it wouldn't take me anywhere. WRONG. The world will always need skilled trades.