Friday, July 20, 2007

But it's so pretty! The welding torch calls to me.

Or, the what on earth am I going to do with my life conundrum...

I'm a college senior now. I'm a college senior who will have a perfectly useless B.A. -- double major, Russian Studies and Religious Studies. I have a goal of a Ph.D. in Religious Studies -- comparative, of course, concentrating on religious imagery and gender. I'm going abroad next month for a semester and need to get grad school applications done as much as is humanly possible right now.

And, I think I want to weld. I was walking across campus just now and saw a guy with a cutting torch taking apart a steel beam for one or another of the construction projects on campus. And, I had forgotten just how beautiful the blue flame and the sparks are from cutting up pieces of steel. (I did some welding in high school shop classes -- loved it!) Oh, how I miss it!

Welding is my back-up plan if I don't get in anywhere, or if I get into the schools I want but don't receive any financial aid. There's a tech school in Hohenwald, maybe twenty minutes away from the 'Shire. I could pick up a waitressing job in Hohenwald or maybe just work for my uncle on the farm, live in Anna's house, pick up a tech degree in welding and other industrial repair, and probably even have enough spare time and money to get Anna's house fixed up quite nicely (I just can't see having the half-ton of homework I've been juggling for three years from welding). Nothing luxurious, but nicely, I think. I'll have certification within a year to a year and a half in a field that I can waltz into basically any city and be able to find a job that pays well-enough that I can work part-time and go to school to get the Master's and Ph.D. with minimal student loans. Or I can pick up some sort of job in the Maury/Lewis county vicinity, work for a couple of years, and save like mad -- aided and abetted by a low cost of living. And, the 'Shire needs another eccentric [insert family name here] woman, and goodness knows I would qualify a few times over for that position. (In Hampshire, my family is permitted to be eccentric rather than just weird, because we are boondocks gentry. ;D)

Also, since I'm sure even after I manage a Ph.D. I'll be bouncing around 1 year appointments and sabbatical replacements for a decent stretch of time (barring writing a really brilliant dissertation) it might not hurt to have a very practical skill that pays well and is in demand. Especially if it's something I enjoy, and I did really enjoy welding. Even when we were out of gloves and I had sunburn on my hands and arms and embedded bit of metal from the arc welder.

So, now I almost thing that I should just go ahead, grab the welding certification, and then apply to graduate schools. But that could just be the part of me that's freaking out about how much needs to be done talking.

I think I might need an torch to cut through this mess.


Zan said...

Not for nothing, but I was considering doing something similiar myself. Not welding, although my Dad's a welder and let me tell you, you can make a HUGE amount more money than my sad little MA is getting me. I have a cousin, he's maybe 22, and he's a welder. Making 80K a year. No joke. Of course, he's really, really good. My Dad says he's never seen anyone with that kind of natural talent. But's good money. And you get to work with your hands and make things. You can see them when you're done, ya know?

But I understand. People tell you going to college is the gateway to good jobs. They lie. Get a trade. It's faster, you make more money. And you don't have enormous student loan debt!!

WordK said...

Oh yes, financially I'll be far better off going with welding. Probably not in the 80K range, but more than enough to live on especially in the boondocks. But I want the academics not because I think there's any real money involved, but just because I do love the field. (Silly reason to go deeply into debt though, says my protestant work ethic.)

Welding seems like a marvelous way to be able to pay my way through and to have a way to eat if I can't find a teaching job. And being able to work with hands too is such a nice idea -- I miss it. (And, we have tons of scrap metal lying around the farm that I've been wanting to make sculptures with for years now.)

Decisions, decisions...GRE on Monday, too...murr...although, if I do badly on that, no more worrying about decisions. :D