how I got from wanting to be a teacher to being a metallurgist.
as a kid, I remember wanting to be a teacher. I'm not really sure why, but so did my best friends at the time, so it seemed fitting.
when I was really young (and I mean really) I remember getting (or maybe my brother got it) this little magazine titled "WEATHER" in the mail. (I think it was a bonus issue for being a subscriber of "wild animals" or whatever that magazine was called.) I would look through that thing and study it until the pages fell apart. and then I still browsed through the lone pages. I remember matching the clouds in the sky to their names in the "cloud" section. I remember reading about tornadoes and cyclones. that was my favorite magazine and the start of my weather fascination. (I think I still have it somewhere too.) so when I got into middle school, I wanted to be a meteorologist. not the kind that's on the news and is wrong 80% of the time, but the kind who studies storms and chases them. my mom always thought I was crazy since I have an intense fear of the wind, but that's what I wanted to do for a long time. I loved the weather.
when junior and senior year of high school came along and we were told by the career counselor that we needed to find a major to apply to college, I still had meteorology on my mind. I looked at colleges that offered a bachelor's in meteorology. to my disappointment, I only found a few, University of Florida being one of them. I had no desire to go to Florida. I wanted to stay instate. or at least a-days-worth-of-driving-back-home-state.
so how did I get from meteorology to chemical engineering? after realizing that you needed a masters to be a meteorologist, I returned back to the white board. I remember looking through this monstrous book (at the "recommendation" of our counselor) senior year. I don't remember how I came across chemical engineering, but I did and it made me think of making household products, like windex and pine-sol. I thought that sounded fun and always thought it would be cool to be a part of the process of manufacturing products every one uses every day.
so then, how did I get from chemical engineering to metallurgy? I still dreamed of making cooler and greener household products when sophomore summer of college came along and my boyfriend (chris, who just switched from civil engineering to mining engineering) was able to score an internship close to my parent's house. back then, the mining industry was a lot more laxed than it is now (or maybe it was just that company) so he told the HR rep:
"I'll work for you if you get my girlfriend an internship too."
I thoroughly enjoyed my internship and found the mining industry completely fascinating. the process of making copper was amazing. but I still wanted to try to get internships in the other chemical engineering fields: processing and oil. the next summer came along and I went to the job fairs and distributed my resumes to proctor and gamble and exxon and such and heard nothing. thing is: processing and oil are in an abundance of chemical engineers since the majority chem e's going into those fields. so these companies were a lot more strict with their applicants. not that I had poor grades or anything, but compared to my classmates who lived and breathed chemical engineering, I had no luck. mining, on the other hand, were ecstatic to have chemical engineers apply and paid little attention to grades. and then I realized that once I get in the mining industry, which I already was at that point, getting other internships was a breeze. I was able to score three internships out of the four summers I was in college which isn't common for my classmates (the first chris got for me, the other two I was able to get myself). then while the rest of my classmates were struggling to find jobs and eventually succumbing to grad school as graduation creeped up, I got a job as a metallurgist. (a metallurgist is like a chemical engineer but focuses more on metals, minerals and mining where as a chemical engineer is more broad. most of the classes coincide with each other.)
so that's how I got to where I am today. I had to remind myself because this week has been so hectic and frustrating it had me questioning why I chose this profession in the first place.
quote of the moment:
"a person can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.
holding him down for the first leg is the hardest part."