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"Hands-On", Active Career?

JPArsenal87JPArsenal87 Posts: 73Registered User Junior Member
I am sure I am going to stumble through asking this and not make much sense, so excuse me in advance. To give you a little background on me, I just graduated from a large State U with a degree in Classics and am starting law school in the fall.

While I was in school, I was very close with the Classics faculty, and was so a focused in the department that I may not have explored other areas that I now think I should have. I ended up taking the LSAT on a whim kinda, and ended up scoring a 172, so after doing well it was just kinda decided that I was going to go to law school.

Now, this is where it gets tricky. I have spent the last few months actually working on writing a textbook for a company (long story). Tedious work, alot of time sitting at a desk working on it, going over the text over and over again, etc. This is a wild thing to say, but I was fixing a lawnmower and hedgetrimmer for a friend the other day, and I just had this epiphany that I much prefer that type of hands-on labor more than I do sitting at a desk reviewing a paper. Now, I'm sure it rings a little bit hollow for me to say "I love fixing lawnmowers so I wanna change my whole path", and I don't plan on being that rash, I think that law school is a great opportunity yada yada yada, it just was a revelation for me, and one that I really truly believe I should consider.

The question is, what types of careers are out there for people like me? I mean, I know I could be a mechanic or something like that, but are there other jobs that might require more training/education but can still provide that type of hands-on experience? I did well in school (4.0), and well on the LSAT, and I really like a challenge. Some form of engineering seems like the most obvious choice, but I really don't know too much about the field. Anyway, I won't ramble anymore, I hope you don't tear me apart, my question comes strictly from genuine curiosity! any words of advice are appreciated!
Post edited by JPArsenal87 on

Replies to: "Hands-On", Active Career?

  • BostonEngBostonEng Posts: 342Registered User Member
    going to law school seems like a terrible choice for you. you may like mechanical engineering much more, where there are opportunities to "get your hands dirty" and work on new designs and ensure the product is built properly.
  • BIGeastBEASTBIGeastBEAST Posts: 1,545- Senior Member
    Dude, you should check out the Air Force. You could join as an Officer and work with some pretty incredible technology (stealth airplanes, fighters, ect.), satellites, missile defense systems, space operations, ect.
  • 15inTbow15inTbow Posts: 108Registered User Junior Member
    definitely look into mechanical engineering!
  • JPArsenal87JPArsenal87 Posts: 73Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks so much for the responses.

    I have been reading alot about mechanical and chemical engineering over the past few weeks, and yea, those types of things definitely sound more interesting to me than law school does right now. I feel just horrible saying that though. I wish I would've come to this realization, say, 3 years ago or say? If anyone has any knowledge of what paths might be open to me at this stage, I would love to hear them. Especially because, as I mentioned, I don't have any practical experience in the field. One opportunity I know about it the LEAP program at Boston U. Unfortunately, every time I try to get in touch with them, they don't respond to emails or return my calls. Not a great start :(.

    I have actually thought about going the armed forces route before. I am the type of guy who likes to have a path set out before him, very goal-oriented, etc, so I always thought it might be a good fit. I don't want to ramble, but some of the problems I have with that idea is that I always get this image of standing there with some sort of drill sergeant screaming in my face in the pouring rain. I have a pretty thick skin, but I'm still a little apprehensive about that stuff. I'm not an emotion-less drone. Also, I run a few miles 2 or 3 times a week (usually about 3 miles). I'm in decent shape, but I'm no tank (I bench about 225, when I'm really trying to work out). Are there opportunities for guys like me out there in the Air Force? I'd want to do something in a technical field, but without a background, would they train me themselves? I've spent today looking around the site, but if anyone has any first-hand knowledge, I'd really love to hear it. Thanks!
  • BIGeastBEASTBIGeastBEAST Posts: 1,545- Senior Member
    The AF has the easiest and shortest bootcamp in the armed forces (perhaps CG).

    There are all kinds of "hands on" careers you could walk into. It all depends if you want to enlist, or become an Officer.

    It also depends on how "hands on" you want to get. Take a look at SERE (survivla evasion, resistance & Escape), Pararescue, SWOT, and Combat Control, they are as hands on as jobs come.

    Of course, there are also all types of opportunities in avionics, missile defense, space operations, and intelligence.
  • ISUCyclone33ISUCyclone33 Posts: 54Registered User Junior Member
    Chair force? Don't think it can get any more "hands-on" than that...(said with sarcasm)
  • BIGeastBEASTBIGeastBEAST Posts: 1,545- Senior Member
    The AF is a good combination of technology and "hands on" skills.

    The jobs I listed above are a pretty good example of taking a "technical skill" and using it in a hands on way.

    Pararescue = medical/met
    SOWT = weather/meteorology
    Combat Control = Air Traffic Control

    SERE really isn't technical, but the nature of the work is very "hands on", considering you are teaching others hands on skills.

    Any branch will give hands on skills, I just thought the AF does the best with combining them with technical abilities, which kinda seemed like what the OP wanted.

    And compared to any corporate job in America, the Chair Force is extremely hands on.
  • BIGeastBEASTBIGeastBEAST Posts: 1,545- Senior Member
    BTW Cyclone, what branch were you in?
  • ISUCyclone33ISUCyclone33 Posts: 54Registered User Junior Member
    I guess I can agree with you to some level. I guess I have always called it "chair force" because of my desire to fly and unlikely chance of that happening. It does not necessarily mean that the jobs won't be hands on. I am not in a service yet, but I am going to fly with either Navy or Marines.

    Also note that the reason for me calling it chair force is from personal experience talking with recruiters basically saying I will sit at a desk all day as well as friends who are in the AF with the same issue as I discussed about sitting in a desk all day and hate it.
  • PerpetualStudentPerpetualStudent Posts: 116Registered User Junior Member
    Your post reminded me of Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

    It's great that you've had these realizations, I have had similar moments and so have many others.

    However, to go from having a good time fixing a lawnmower to ditching law school to become a mechanical engineer is insane.

    Enjoying hands-on work does NOT mean that you should be a mechanical engineer. I do not understand what the people giving out this advice in the thread are thinking. Fixing mechanical stuff has nothing to do with mechanical engineering, I know a few in my family and most would have trouble replacing a faucet.

    Let's be realistic for a second, you want to forget law school and spend another 4 years getting another bachelor in ME? It's not gonna be all fun, most of it will be spent at a desk grinding out integrals until you turn blue in the face.

    I have an alternative suggestion - what you need is a hobby! I majored in a technical field, and now I'm "stuck" in an office all day at at a desk. The situation led to similar thoughts as you had, so I decided to do something about it - getting a hobby. I've picked up cycling as a way to get in shape and spend time out doors, and lined up a whole bunch of old bikes that need fixing to resolve that craving for manual labor, sweat, and grease.

    Perhaps something similar would help you too!

    That being said, if engineering is what you desire, sure, by all means, go back and retrain, but think this very carefully.

    Life's a balance, your employer only owns your time 8 hrs a day. The rest is up to you.

    A career in law will likely give you the financial security needed to pursue your hobbies and other activities. That's a great thing to have.

    Good luck!
  • wrldtravlrwrldtravlr Posts: 289Registered User Junior Member
    Do some research on being a prosthetist or orthotist. It sounds right up your alley; it is very hands on, technical, it pays well, very in demand, and you get to work with people. With new technology, the field is continually growing. You also could travel alot if you wanted to. It is a master's level program, I believe. I know that Northwestern University has the program; not sure where else.

    Physical or occupational therapy is good, also. We are always fixing and/or fabricating items/equipment when we aren't working with people, and we almost never sit down.

    Check out the book Shopcraft as Soulcraft.
  • AndrewskyAndrewsky Posts: 172Registered User Junior Member
    With numbers like you have (172 LSAT and 4.0 GPA) you should definitely go to law school in my opinion. You have a very good chance of getting into a top 6 school, and would definitely get a great scholarship at top 50 schools.
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