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lolojr1 23rd January 2005 06:36 PM

HELP! my brain is melting
i have a question i am planning on returning to college after a 10 year break and dont know what to take for a degree program.

i currently have a 5 year apprentiship and a journeyman plumbers liscence so i have a bit of training i have taken advanced tig welding courses in through lincon welders in clevland ohio i have done fabrication and layout of many diffrent things in my job from heating cooling water distribution and sewers for the big mains in my cityand now currently work for a large state college doing general mintanence.

this is where it gets good, they offer to pay for my schooling and i can get a degree for free all i would have to pay for would be books and fees but no tuition so i want to do it just i cant seem to decide on what i want to take.

right now i am bored with my carear choice and the money is to be desired. so what are most of you in your everyday life do you just do this as a hobby or do u do it as a profession? i want to be challenged and to do something great or al least something intresting

i have i pretty good grasp on math and science and love working with my hands my intrests and hobbys are speaker building and computers/electronics i have done some pretty cool projects with both so i guess what i am asking is do i go down the mechanical engineering road or is the audio and speaker /computer field a good chioce and what does it take to get in to a good company that is looking for new blood

thanks for reading and any advice would be greately appreicated

x. onasis 23rd January 2005 07:51 PM

Plastics, young man.

I'm kidding of course. The new plastics might just be DSP, but the important thing is you taking advantage of this opportunity. You've got options and energy, the things that seem to fade as we age. The academic community is where you can find direction in your personal pilgrimage, especially if you see yourself as a "renaissance man." Stay there as long as you're growing. What could be nobler than learning and/or teaching as a profession?

A willingness to work, an interest in the sciences, and experiences in the "mechanics world" already set you apart from your contemporaries. I'd say, set your academic goals light, basic and interesting to you at first. Giving yourself the chance to attain high grades and pursue new opportunities as they present themselves. For instance, take some art or sculpture courses, you'll have access to incredible facilities. Architecture, remote sensing, organic chemistry...a few thousand dollars worth of books later, you might find yourself doing something you truly love.

A college degree has turned into just a requirement for employment anymore, and that's too bad. And the costs have limited opportunities for personal growth in many ways. Take your time setting goals, take advantage, keep looking for new interests and opportunities, and grow your wings.

Just my two cents.

phn 23rd January 2005 08:43 PM

Congratulations. I have a humanist background (I don't think there are too many of us on this forum) so I can't really offer any advice. But whatever choice you make, I'm sure it will be the right one. I mean, you have already made one right choice. And engineering is never wrong. I used to think engineering. Then I though about the math and didn't think about it anymore.

And I second x. onasis. College is one place you are allowed to make mistakes and have wild, impossible ideas. So many go thru college without dreaming. Let the boring stuff come later.

lolojr1 25th January 2005 01:32 AM

Well thanks for the advice and i willl take it all in
So just out of curiousity what do you all do for a living and are you satisfied with the pay ,benefits,retirement,and the way all of your jobs treat you ?
is it beter to stay in a job that is just ok but has great benefits and treats me good but where i am bored and dont get paid as much as i want or shoiuld i just sweat it out and hope for a promotion and more money?

barn 25th January 2005 02:01 AM

You only live once - get out and do what you want to do or find what you want to do.

I was a operations / production manager in the food industry for 21 years, it was a good job , got to travel all over the world designing and building multi million dollar food processing plants but I got sick of it and each day was just another boring day. Traveling on your own can get very lonely.

So I chucked it in and now do building / handy man work. it's great, more work than I want, people who REALY appreciate what you do for them, I'm learning new things and each day is very rarely the same.

We are all individuals and what works for me may be hell to you but if your not happy then do something about it.

Da5id4Vz 25th January 2005 02:43 AM

A fantastic program.
(of course its not exactly audio centric)

Take all the math classes you can stomach.
Figure on acing them too.
If you don’t, take it over until you do.

You may or may not find the audio world tough to break into when your done. (whether civel, mech or EE)
Job markets fluctuate and the opportunity you might be dreaming of could be ten years in the waiting after you finish. But once you have the degree, you likely can find some fun interesting opportunities. These may or may not become your life’s passion. Even if what you don’t find yourself working in an audio related field when your done, any engineering or math degree will leave set of tools to pursue audio either vocationally or a-vocationally.

These are tough curricula to follow and work full time too.
You do however have a great opportunity.
Follow your dreams, and have some fun along the way.

How’s that expression go? “The destination is not as important as the journey”

DSP_Geek 25th January 2005 03:27 AM

I'm happy with my engineering degree, modulo some idiot former managers (but we won't talk about what's holding up Exit 7 on the Jersey Pike any more, heh heh heh). I would strongly recommend economics courses, both macro/micro and engineering ec, because at the end of the day what makes everything go are the beans someone's willing to pay for what I design and it's nice to know how that stuff works.


Enzo 25th January 2005 05:50 AM

College is great not just for learning things but also for learning about things. You can expose yourself to a world of things you otherwise couldn't. I wandered in my college career, started in physics and after a couple years went into telecommunications, and graduated in plain old communications. But along the way I developed an interest in geography/geology/geomorphology. took courses in meteorology(Thought about becoming a TV weatherman, that was the tie in), learned Russian, studied anthropology. Worked in a microbiology lab - science in action there by golly. I still get something from the class I took in aerial photo interpretation.

I would have known far less of those things if I had not gone to college. Take every advantage. Start with the general stuff and keep an open mind. Who knows what you mught encounter.

You have skills to build on. If you like the sort of things you work with now, you might enjoy engineering or engineering technology courses. Thre is mechanical engineering, civil engineering, architecture, and others all needing pipes. The local university here has its own power plants - I think they can burn either coal or gas. Steam is piped all over the very large campus. Plus the water and sewage systems. Be it spread out over sqaure miles like the campus or tall and thin like a skyscraper, they all need infrastructures, which in turn need design, construction, and maintenance. And all the parrts and materials that went into those things also need the same. Look around you, anything you see was designed by someone, made by someone, installed by someone , and maintained by someone. Thousands of careers right there.

Things you can't see are around too. Oil and gas distribution come to mind. ANd things you normally ignore like railroads have needs as well. All those tank cars going by eventually connect to something, something that had to be designed, built, etc.

If you like hands on rather than just head work, you might prefer eng. technology rather than straight engineering, but look into both.

Electronics is math heavy, be warned. If you handle math well, and if you can deal in the abstract, then electronics may work for you. If math and abstraction is a deal breaker, consider it broke.

Electronics is avionics, biomed, computers, auto systems, power circuits and on and on.

Even audio is a big field. Live sound reinforcement, recording arts, consumer audio, car stereo systems, communications systems, telecommunications, even those little headphones on the airplanes. Once again we have a field where the myriad products need design, manufacture, sales, installation, maintenance. A pro audio company I work with for example does large sound systems for places of worship. They have people on staff to design the hall acoustics, working with the architects. designing the power amd cabling requirements. They use blueprints more than soldering irons. They have sales engineers to offer choices and options for the customer, explaining how they work and what the features do, they have installation crews who do everything from woodwork and drywall to wiring, they have sound engineers who train the customer in the system operation. All these people are in audio, and that is just for churches.

Home theater is big, and especially in the high end homes they build today, this market will grow. In its own way this is a smaller version of the church scenario. All the angles are present here too.

Sales engineers are an important part of any industry, and is yet another direction to go.

And beyond all that, every one of the people I mentioned above had to learn how to do what they do. SOmeone had to teach them their trades. That means we need teachers as well as all the others.

Enjoy school.

Circlotron 25th January 2005 09:16 AM

THE place to ask/search.
People have often asked that sort of thing.

SY 25th January 2005 11:42 AM

Don't just limit your dreams to a "job." Get some education, work at a couple of places, then think about working for yourself. In the US, it's an easy thing to do and can have many rewards beyond money.

Francois's point is absolutely correct- while you're having fun absorbing quantum mechanics, polymer chemistry, and partial differential equations, do hold your nose and take some courses in business and finance. That's my biggest regret- if I had done that, I'd have a lot more money today than I do. You can make money if you're lucky, but having a good understanding of finance tilts the luck in your direction.

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