Five years ago I took up a job in construction from a couple of neighbors who needed help doing a demolition job on an old house. I saw this as an opportunity to help pay bills around the house as well as cover my own personal expenses. I did a good enough job that my neighbors told me that, if I wanted, I could continue working with them.
It has been a demanding job and I made numerous mistakes at first, like using the wrong tools for different tasks or the wrong size screw. On occasion, I was scolded for my mistakes and I felt incompetent, as I wasn’t able to complete tasks as fast as my co-workers. There were even days that I considered quitting, but I stuck with it.
Since then, I’ve built, repaired, and remodeled numerous homes for family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers. I’ve removed and replaced carpets; broken down walls as well as driveways; installed cabinets, lights, both wood and tile flooring; and painted room after room.
Working in construction has made me feel like a bigger part of society, because I’m shaping the buildings and offices my community uses. Although I don’t make the choices in design, my workmanship is reflected in every job I’ve done. Because of this, my most memorable projects are those that I’ve taken on by myself.
It has been a personally fulfilling experience—there’s just something about peeling away the last strip of tape off a new floor that’s indescribable—and getting to see hours of planning, preparation, and work come together is such a rewarding experience. The best part? Knowing that some family will get to enjoy my work.
But this is not what I will do the rest of my life.
There are other ways I can help cover my family’s expenses, and getting a degree is the next step. In fact, I have a feeling that would be an even more fulfilling journey.