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I'm In A Jam...

(32 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by pipenscotch
  • Latest reply from simenon
  1. pipenscotch

    pipenscotch

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    So I've just started University, and I'm taking more of a general studies route at the moment. But I've been having conflicting thoughts lately about if I'm going the right way or not. One of my original ideas about school was to get a trade, specifically Instrumentation Technician. To be honest, I can't see myself attending university for 4,5, maybe even 6 more years. There's a really great polytechnic school near me, that offers trade programs. I'd be done in 2 years, and be making about 30 grand more than I would be straight out of university.

    Any tradesmen out there that can give me advice? For me, I'm just worried about what kind of reactions I'm going to get from my parents, who are supporting me through school. I was wishy washy before starting uni, and probably sounded like I was firm in what I wanted to do. Now, even though I've only been attending for a few weeks, I'm having conflicting thoughts.

    I'm writing this while on a break between classes, oh how I want a bowl of baccy right now

    “The fact is, Squire, the moment a man takes to a pipe, he becomes a philosopher. It’s the poor man’s friend; it calms the mind, soothes the temper, and makes a man patient under difficulties. It has made more good men, good husbands, kind masters, indulgent fathers, than any other blessed thing on this universal earth.”
    -”Sam Slick, The Clockmaker”
    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    PS, all I can tell you is my experience. I went to college because my father expected me to become and attorney like him. I hated school my entire life. After 2 years at Boston University in their college of basic studies, I had enough. I dropped out and yes I broke my fathers heart but I had to do what was best for me. I went into sales and never looked back. College is not for everyone, if you really want to do a trade then go for it, when your parents see you become successful they will be happy for you. You should have a game plan mapped out to take to your parents. Tell them exactly what school, what trade, your job prospects upon graduation, show them you are serious about it.

    Harris
    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. swhipple

    swhipple

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    The only negative I can tell you about getting into a trade vs. getting a 4 year degree is you will eventually "max out" in your career. I'm an equipment technician in the semiconductor industry, I've been in this business for 20 years and my career is basically at a dead end. I make decent money but without a 4 year degree I won't be making the move to management. Now I'm good with that but it is something to consider. Of course nothing says to can't return to school after you get some real world experience and really know what you want to do.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. sparroa

    simenon

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    I don't have a trade, yet, but I can say one thing from experience...

    "General studies" is a general waste of time unless you are independently wealthy.

    If you have to rack up student debt or spend your parent's money or even your own hard earned savings, then you are better off entering a trade in a field where you can quickly secure an income.

    In this economy and the even worse economic future yet to come, idling in post secondary without a plan is kind of like pissing in the wind.

    Trust me. I used to want to be an Arts major. I would've been better off with a library card instead of what it cost me for two semesters of study. I got good grades, but it ain't no degree and is therefore worth nothing...

    Even if you get a trade and only stay in it for a couple of years because its not your calling, as long as you stay working long enough to pay off your debt and perhaps finance another round of education then I'd say that's a marvelous return on investment. Then you can just chalk it up to life experience and move on.

    From a "real life" perspective, it is way better than a year or two of college/university will get you...

    It is also preferable for busting your hump in a low pay job with no room for advancement. Five years can go by in a flash and you realize that you could be skilled and experienced in your trade by now if you actually had to start back when you wanted to start...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. mrenglish

    mrenglish

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    I would go with the trade school if that is where your heart is. You can always pick up a degree later and with making more money, you probably will not have to borrow as much to get the degree.

    Michael
    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. sparroa

    simenon

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    Ride out this term, do your best, and don't burn any bridges as far as your academic record goes...

    But, if you are already having doubts about the university direction, and you cannot see yourself doing this for another 4-6 years time, then you should probably get all the information you can on said school/trade/educational program and present a well researched case to your parents.

    It is their money, yes, but it is also your life. So you need to grab the bull by the horns and go on the path that you think is best - as long as it is logical and well planned! This sounds like a sensible idea, so I say go for it.

    Your parents may bridle at the thought and resist your idea, but you will be a lot better off with a complete polytechnic education as opposed to an incomplete university one. I'm sure they will understand with time...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. mikephillips

    mikephillips

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    I could swear I remember reading a topic almost identical to this 3 or 4 years ago on another pipe smokers forum....

    Anyway, I have no real advice other than to not be a fence-sitter. Pick something and follow through, whether your parents agree or not. Your life, your choice, weigh your options best as you can and pick one, just don't look back with regrets after you decide. That way lies madness.

    If it matters, I'm college educated, but have worked with my hands my entire life...by choice, never necessity, and made a decent living, but I'm sort of an exception in that I'm extremely mechanically gifted and I can make a living doing nearly anything with my hands, and have. I hate working indoors (unless it's frigging COLD), sitting in an office, spending the day on the phone or PC. I've done it a few times but was never happy no matter the salary.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. austinxpipe

    austinxpipe

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    I had every intention never to return to college after a bad semester a few years back. I had a lot of the same feelings you did. I took time to work, took time to find myself, pissed off some family members - but it was what was best for ME! Eventually, not too long ago, I made the decision to go back after some good bonding with upper management at my company and a very nice incentive to go back. Now I'm not saying things happen without working for them, but if you do what is best for YOU, good things are bound to come your way!

    I like to smoke pipes
    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. numbersix

    numbersix

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    The only negative I can tell you about getting into a trade vs. getting a 4 year degree is you will eventually "max out" in your career.

    +1

    I really don't think it will be the worst thing in the world if you were to get a trade degree, but a 4 yr degree will put you in the running for more jobs, especially if you decide to change your career direction later in life (which has happened to several people I know).

    "Be seeing you"


    Posted 1 year ago #
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    flmason

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    I wish you all the best with your choice. You need to do what you feel is best. Your family may not like your choice but hopefully they will respect it.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. sparroa

    simenon

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    numbersix,

    It all depends on if one is studying to be a medical doctor, engineer, biologist, philosopher, or basket weaver...

    It is easy for the brand new student to get caught up in the university mindset where "the sky is the limit" and "knowledge for its own sake" is encouraged above any practical applications.

    I used to work in a bookstore where 90% of the workers had university degrees, but their majors were not exactly high in demand. Some people even had graduate degrees - a degree does not a career make...

    Anyway there is also merit to your argument but it all depends upon what you've studied.

    The universities don't care where their students end up so much as where the next influx of tuition comes from...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. robusthermit

    robusthermit

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    I am a draftsman / CAD technician. I went to a trade school right out of high school. Like swhipple said you do max out and will only go so high in any company. But that is what I always wanted in life was a job where you show up, work hard, get paid, and go home. I never wanted to be a manager of any kind or have a job that comes home with you.

    The two things I can say is make sure you enjoy or at least tolerate your trade because you will be doing it your whole life. Also make sure the area you plan on living in has the job market with ample need of your trade.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. puffy

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    When I was a young man I was pretty much facing the same situation you are now.I sought advice from an old timer.He told me that if I truly wanted a happy life I needed to make my living doing something that I enjoyed doing.I hope you can figure out what that is for you.

    Life's most valuable treasure is..Love
    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. nsfisher

    nsfisher

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    Take a look at the Employment Opportunities in any Web Site. The world is SHORT Trades people, everywhere.

    If at first you don't succeed, have another bowl.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. rlunderhill

    rlunderhill

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    I did the Trade School first and attended the University years later when I was making good money. It got me promoted to a much higher paying job because of adding College to my list of achievements.

    You decide. It's your path my friend. What ever makes you happy is the right choice.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. sparroa

    simenon

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    robusthermit, you make great points and are a gentleman in the know. I disagree with you on one point, though - the notion that one has to practise the same trade for his entire life. There is nothing stopping an individual from retraining themselves after a decade of work in one field; in many cases the past experience may be a great asset.

    Finances and family circumstances may be limiting factors, but these are obstacles that can be overcome.

    Still, a decade is a hell of a long time in the work world and you'd better like something if you are going to invest that amount of time in it.

    nsfisher, you are right - tradesmen are only getting older and the demand is going to build.

    Certain trades also have advantages in that they are not easily outsourced...

    (Although if the federal governments have their way they will make me a liar with temporary foreign workers)

    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. numbersix

    numbersix

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    numbersix,

    It all depends on if one is studying to be a medical doctor, engineer, biologist, philosopher, or basket weaver...

    It is easy for the brand new student to get caught up in the university mindset where "the sky is the limit" and "knowledge for its own sake" is encouraged above any practical applications.

    I draw from my brother's experience. He's a computer programmer who dropped out of college. He's a brilliant programmer and got paid gobs of money in the 90s. Now that he's older, he wants to slow down and manage programmers, but his lack of a degree has put him out of the running for top level jobs.

    I'd say 70% of the people I know have expressed a desire to change their career path. So for some a 4 year degree can help. Still, a trade can be a smart move for sure. And I definitely agree that some diplomas are not going to get one a good paying job (like 19th-century French poetry majors) .

    Gotta love this scene from Groundhog Day:

    Rita: ...it's about a million miles from where I started out in college.
    Phil: You weren't in broadcasting or journalism?
    Rita: Uh unh. Believe it or not, I studied 19th-century French poetry.
    Phil: [laughs] What a waste of time! I mean, for someone else that would be an incredible waste of time. It's so bold of you to choose that. It's incredible; you must have been a very very strong person.

    http://www.naden.de/blog/bbvideo-bbpress-video-plugin -->

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    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. vaboatbuilder

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    i have been a shipyard worker for eleven years. I work in two trade departments. you can move up in management, but a general degree will get you there faster, and with all the lay off chances of staying improves. in this job market get the education while you can later its harder to get there. you will need it and life gets in the way.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. sparroa

    simenon

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    numbersix,

    There are definite advantages to a degree. Your brother would undoubtedly benefit from having one, but presumably he was not at that time a temperamental fit for college if he dropped out. Maybe it was just the allure of a higher income at an early age - who knows.

    If he has ANY credits built towards a degree, then it would be to his advantage to pursue it now if it furthers his goals. I don't know his age but if he is anywhere south of 45 I don't think it's too late because he could face another 15-20 years in the workforce...

    Really funny clip. It's been so long since I've seen Groundhog Day that the scene was fresh for me...

    I respect people who are studying 19th Century French Poetry (or Latin or Archaeology) I just hope for their sake that they are the best of the best on a full scholarship or trust fund babies and not just winging it because they have a vague interest for the subject. Studying the humanities is a very enriching experience, but it can also lead to enslavement to debt with little recourse to pay it back...

    IMO, the best career is one that you are contented with and allows you time and money enough to live your real life and pursue your own passions and occupations to the fullest in freedom and security.

    To quote Henry David Thoreau from two different sources:

    "The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run."

    "I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living."

    Take from that what you will. Increasingly, for me, they are wake up calls to look at education and employment as a means to an end instead of some kind of salvation...

    Find something that you like, or can tolerate, that will pay decently and give you valuable marketable skills and allow you to earn your salt. Then, just live your life and enjoy it for as long as you can. There is no universal recipe for success, you just have to improvise and make the best of it...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. numbersix

    numbersix

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    IMO, the best career is one that you are contented

    I agree with that 100%. I think for some people, they don't always know what that is until after college or trade school. But some people just aren't cut out for college (people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs come to mind)

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. dochudson

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    out of HS I had zero direction.. got drafted and spend 2 years building a lot of confidence. got back and went to a little computer programming school. bounced my way from computer operator up to sr system programmer on large mainframe computers and the last 10 years or so Sr Network Engineer for a huge group of hospitals. In our group was one PhD, two MBA's, one with a masters in Performing Music and the other 3 or 4 had BA or BS degrees. the service is a great place to get squared away and build a nice education fund.

    I Enjoy Aromatics
    I Enjoy Peterson Pipes
    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. simnettpratt

    simnettpratt

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    And quit thinking money is the measure of success. It's not. Doing good for others is.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. prettyinpink648

    prettyinpink648

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    My son graduated high school this past June. He was accepted to the University of West Virginia. In August he told me he didnt think colleg was for him.

    I told him that was fine and to think about a trade instead. With a trade you learn a something very valuable. You dont necessarily have to spend the rest of your life working in that trade but once you have the training it's yours and no one can ever take that knowledge away from you. It's yours to use at your own will. To work for someone else or for yourself. This country was built buy trades.

    So long story short he chose to attend MMI the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Phoenix, AZ. I literally just flew out there on the 16th with him to sign in. 1.They set them up in apartments. 2. They help them get jobs to pay for these apartments and all of their living expenses. 3. When he graduates all of his class time will be considered as job time. So if he stays for a year his time there will be looked at as a year of on the job experience by employers.

    A trade is very respectable. If it makes you happy go for it. I wish you all the luck in the world!!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. pipenscotch

    pipenscotch

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    I'd just like to say a big thank you for all the comments and advice guys and gals, it's gonna help a lot!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. dpkrause

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    I am in a skill trade job in the utility industry. It pays well and with the number of people retiring, there is still a lot room for upward mobility. If you can get into a program for Auxiliary Power Plant Operators, you will be set for life.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. foggymountain

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    If you think you can put up with it, get as advanced an education as possible. Without at least a bachelors degree your options later in life will be limited. Besides, think of all the great partying you will miss if you do a 2 year program.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. pipedisciple

    pipedisciple

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    All I can say is go where your heart tells you. I went back to college in my late 40's and it really didn't get me anywhere. I do a job I love and I haven't used my degree yet. Completing college was for me. My dad wanted me to go to Harvard but I had other plans, the military. I'm glad I did it my way, I can't live my life for someone else, I have to live it for me. Just my 2 cents worth.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. eibhir

    eibhir

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    You should go with what makes you the happiest. It's far too easy to live life for someone else. I personally went to a trade school and I take online courses to further my education.
    Now I do the trade(Cosmetology)on the side and follow my passion (Writing) full time; with a bit of fine art and jewelry making to brighten things up. You should figure out what you love, make a plan, and go for it.
    Good luck!

    A smile will always keep them guessing.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. rmbittner

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    pipenscotch:

    I wrote a book on careers ("Your Perfect Job"), which may or may not be helpful for you. But one of the resources I recommend is a book called "Discover What You're Best At." It's essentially a series of self-tests that highlight your specific talents and interests and then suggests a wide range of possible careers that take advantage of those skills and passions. You might be surprised at where your passions can lead you. For instance, I profiled a woman who studied voice, intending to be a professional opera singer. But she found that while she loved singing, she didn't like public performance. So after talking with a career counselor, she went back to school and got a degree in speech pathology. Today, she works with people who have lost the use of their voice -- through illness, injury, even suicide attempts -- and helps them to start communicating again. Opera singer to speech pathologist. It doesn't make sense unless you see that it wasn't performing opera that she loved; it was using her voice to communicate. Once she tapped into that, doors opened.

    All of that to say: Follow your passions. And be willing to take a look beyond the obvious.

    Bob

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. robusthermit

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    simenon,
    You are correct, one can always go back for more education or otherwise get training later in life. You put it well, when you invest time money and effort into an education you should at least be able to tolerate if not enjoy your profession.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    mustanggt

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    I had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up, still don't. So going to college would have been a waste of time for me and a waste of money for my folks. So I got a good job after pounding the pavement. It sure beat the old folks home I worked in washing shitty laundry all day. I would have said not too long ago that if you can figure out what you want to do then go to college and get the degree that would benefit you the most. Today I can't say that anymore. The college system is so rigged by the government, which controls student loan debt, and the universities that try to sell you an education and a job. But the job never seems to be realized by many kids today and so they are left with 50K+ in debt and no job prospects. As a matter of necessity get the trade. If you become an instrument tech or an electrician that skill will put food on the table and clothes on your back anywhere in the world. It's great to be able to get a job that will make you very happy. If you do you will be very blessed. But if not it will be great to get a trade and not burden yourself, at such a young age, with a crushing load of debt. If you got the trade you'd have a huge leg up in earning potential than someone after 4-6 years in school. You would be ahead of the curve on less debt, more work history and be in a better financial situation than them. Once government sticks their nose into something it screws it up royal and makes it way more expensive.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. sparroa

    simenon

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    I think that a trade with employment prospects is the best direction for youth without a definite professional career in mind.

    If you have the intelligence and the temperament, you can always go back and study whatever you want.

    I presume you are only 18 years old. You will be a completely different individual when you are 25.

    If you have the skills, you could go on to be a doctor or lawyer or teacher or engineer from that age.

    The difference is that you will probably be able to finance your own education a little better, and you will have a lot of life experience under your belt.

    (A lot of people don't go back, because they can't suffer the drop in income or because their family situation has changed, but it doesn't mean that they weren't necessarily ABLE to go back)

    As they say, youth is wasted on the youth. Most of us don't know shit about what we want to be when we are at that age. It takes time to figure it all out, and maybe you will stumble upon a different career by taking this path...

    Posted 1 year ago #

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