Electrical Technician, NashvilleRichard
“After high school, I took like three, four years off. I just worked. I moved to Illinois for a minute. That didn’t work, had some problems out there. So I moved back down to Tennessee. Kind of played around for a few months.
As soon as I had a child, life smacks you in the face. Time to get real. I have a child that’s biologically mine and then I have two other children that aren’t biologically mine, but they’re my kids, my babies. I’ve got to raise them up in the world and give my children something to look at so that they feel proud of me. Give them something, aside from health care benefits when I die. Build a house for them, do something for them before I leave this earth. They’re seven, three, and one and a half. All girls.
“As soon as I had a child, life smacks you in the face. Time to get real.”
I really want them to choose their own route, but I really do want them to go to college. Because I know what it’s like to not have a college degree for certain jobs. Then again, I know what it’s like having those jobs and hating everything. I’m going to encourage them to go to college when they’re 18. They’ll figure it out.
I was going to the first day of my job on a Friday and the manager asked me if I had any experience in electricity, and I said, ‘No.’ She then asked me not to touch any of the circuits, so in my head I was like, ‘Well, the only way to gain experience is for somebody to teach me.’
So I called Brightwood up and Ron from Admissions introduced me to the place, walked me around. I was sold. I liked everything about it. They’re great. They walk you through things. Some teachers just give you the homework and send you home. Not here.
“The most exciting thing I’ve learned here on campus was to be able to speak to people.”
The people here are great. Loving. Smiling. Everyone here can put a smile on your face. You can come in here sad or not be having a good day. They’re going to say something to make you smile. From the front desk all the way back to Mr. Baker’s class. They joke. They try to lighten up the atmosphere so that you can learn. So that you’re happy. So that you’re comfortable.
They make sure you’re in class. ‘Why weren’t you here yesterday?’ Emails, calls, leaving voice messages, ‘You going to come to school?’ They give you a lot of motivation here. Everybody needs a push forward. Especially from people outside your family. Sometimes you come across a lot of people who you feel like may not care, so when you come across people who actually do call you and do reach out to you, you go, ‘I should keep going to school.’
The most exciting thing I’ve learned here on campus was to be able to speak to people. Talk to people. Respond. One of my instructors, Mr. Baker, he’s awesome. He’s a drill sergeant. He’s going to teach you. Even if you don’t want to learn, he’s still going to make you learn.
The student resource center is always pressuring you to put a résumé up. ‘Where’s your résumé? Send us your résumé. I need your résumé. We got jobs out there waiting for you.’
“I want to leave something for my children so they feel secure.”
If you’re going to come here, just be serious. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t play games. Come here and be for real because it’s going to pay off. This is a great learning facility. You can learn a lot. I mean, you go out there in the world and see everything differently. I’m looking at street poles and I understand it. I see the transformers and light poles and I see people working on stuff, and I actually understand it now. Nashville, east Nashville specifically, it’s just growing. I can just look at houses and go, ‘That’s what we do in school.’
The place I am working at now offers a journeyman or an apprenticeship program. So I am thinking of staying with them for another year to get a lot more experience then venturing out to an actual electrical company where I can further my education and hopefully become a master electrician and own my own business.
I didn’t really grow up in a family that did a lot of maintenance or construction or just handyman work. My father died when I was twelve years old. Everybody dies. Who knows when my day will be, but I want to leave something for my children so they feel secure. Even after I am gone. I want to get a house. A house that is mine. Something that I can give them. I want a safe haven to leave them.”