What to do...

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tscribs's picture
tscribs
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Posts: 6
What to do...

Hey everyone, I'm new to the forums, but I've watched all of the crash course (and I've told nearly everyone I get into a political discussion with about it).

I was just wondering, as an 18 year old, with an exceptional education so far, and one intended at a large university in the next fall... Is majoring in Civil Engineering (and possibly entrepeneurship) a good idea?  I plan to develop new and retrofit old buildings with renewable energy and renewable materials.  Is that a smart move?

 Should I invest? Any general suggestions for college?

I once read that human capital is something that can never be taken away from us, and I intend to invest alot of time and money into expanding my human capital) ...But Human capital isnt everything. Are there other things I should focus on?

krogoth's picture
krogoth
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Posts: 576
Refreshing to see this

Tscribs,

You are great. Well done young man! I am not an old man (sometimes I feel old, but I am 42), but YOU are an example of hope for the future. Civil Engineering and in the future retrofitting old buildings with renewable energy and materials sounds like an excellent future. You will learn alot of human capital just by studying these subjects. Get your hands dirty and learn some carpentry and things that don't necessarily require large amounts of oil or energy (sounds hard, I know). Spread the word to all that will listen to you. In school, at home, at church whatever. Get the big picture. My man, you are the key, and thinking about this at such a young and pivotal point in your life is truly refreshing.

As for investing, my god the opportunities right now, but also the dangers. This depends on how good an investor you are. The conditions in the market are moving into uncharted territory, so it's hit or miss. I currently am investing, not shorting.

I don't know how to answer your college question because I don't know where you are. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maenad's picture
Maenad
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Re: Refreshing to see this
Yep, engineers can always find work. I've had engineers on both sides of my family going back generations and they've always weathered economic storms well.
Treah's picture
Treah
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Re: What to do...

A comment for "tscribs":  I understand, at 18, you have always been pretty much told what to do & consequently figure you have to get consensus from others to go forward. You are just on the brink of adulthood. If I, at the wise (?) old age of 61 can give you one bit of advice to always carry with you, it's to look inside & determine what your heart is telling you to do. You MUST love what you do! Anything else promises to be just more drudgery that will give you a heart attack in the end. Listen to everyone, but filter the messages through your own unique perspective. There is no one formula for everyone..... Best of luck to you.

tscribs's picture
tscribs
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Re: What to do...

thanks everyone!!

In reply to jewelbuddy, I came up with this idea, for the most part, on my own. I have been intersted in renewable energy ever since i did a highly awarded science project in 8th grade involving wind turbines. I did ALOT (and I MEAN ALOT by a College Prepatory High School's standards) of research on the topic. And it REALLY intrigues me. That I think is why I loved the energy portion of the crash course so much.

Over time, with research and development of new technologies, Wind and solar, and Algae Solar (google "solix algae") will achieve higher ERoEI ratings. I want to contribute to the improvement of the human race, not be a bystander in a challenging future.

Oh, I plan on attending (my top choice) University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Illinois (if I get in), or Purdue University in Indiana. Basically big 10 engineering schools for me.

 

 

EDIT: Oh and in response to krogoth, my grandpa is a big carpenter type of person, I already am pretty handy myself (I've always been good with fixing and making things...yes, I had tons of legos).  Maybe I could ask him to teach me a thing or two. 

tscribs's picture
tscribs
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Re: What to do...

I would appreciate other comments on this... 

gregroberts's picture
gregroberts
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Re: What to do...

tscribs,

Here is a video of a solar/hydrogen house, might interest you,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEdQRVQtffw

Woodman's picture
Woodman
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Re: What to do...

I'll try to share some hindsite after being in the engineering profession 20 years.  I've gone from electrical to mechanical to nuclear to civil/environmental.  Civil engineering is a great field because this is often the disipline that can control an entire project not just one part of it.  When I design something like a water treatment plant, I have electrical, structural, mechanical and geotechnical subconsultants but I get to shape it all together and work with the client to drive what I think is the best solution to their problem.

School and grades might help a little bit to get your first job, but experience is what counts most.  As important as it seems now, later on no one will ask where you went to school.  I wouldn't go massively into debt just for a fancy school; I started my first job right next to people who paid 3 times as much to go to a private college as I did at the state school.  Do pick a school that has the physical, social, etc. environment you like; e.g., for me staying far away from the city was a must. 

Keep your experience range broad; you'll get more projects assigned and make yourself a more valuable employee less likely to be laid off. 

Investing for you now I say should be in your education, and avoid any debt that does not lead to a greater return (e.g. a car any fancier than one that just gets you to class). 

One of my college projects was designing a wind turbine powered boat; it could sail directly into the wind, neat stuff!. 

 

 

 

 

 

rlee's picture
rlee
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Re: What to do...

Wow, an 18 year old thinking about something other than chasing girls.  I commend you sir!  To add to what others have said - enjoy whatever it is that you do, no matter what else happens.  Second - keep control of your own investments, and keep learning as you go.  This is a very volatile time for money, so be weary of the conventional wisdom.

I personally appreciate your posting this thread.  It's a reminder that all is not lost, and there are those in this country that have what it takes to carry us into the future.  Best of luck to you!

Bob 

Nichoman's picture
Nichoman
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Re: What to do...

tscribs...

 

Will take a different tack to your question.  Key is applying some basic principles to always keep in mind besides attitude, effort and following the 7 human virtues of life.    These are eternal and will ultimately never fail in aiding you in your journey.

1.)  Your never as good or bad as you think you are.

2.)  Always treat people the way you'd like to be treated. 

3.)  No choice is also a choice...learn from each experience in life. 

4.)  Get with people who challenge you and make you a better person (tell you what you need to hear in the correct way and not what you nexessarily want to hear).

5.)  Observe...listen, then try thinking out of the box occasionally.

6.)  Success in business and life comes from meeting unique needs (internal individual and interpersonal business).  That does not mean trying to "please" someone.

7.)  Ask people you respect to pass on their wisdom...then digest accordingly.

8.)  Never make any decision based on emotion.   That does not mean not having emotion...its just telling you internally you haven't processed how to deal with the issue(s).

9.)  Always look for and keep the big picture (i.e. perspective) in all you do.

 

Good Luck!   Only you can decide if that choice is best for you as no one can predict the future...but these will help you make timely and beneficial decisions..

 

--Nichoman 

 

 

   

 

 

leo0648's picture
leo0648
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Re: What to do...

Hey tscribs,

I am currently 21 years old taking mechanical engineering at Texas A&M.  Engineering is definitely the field to be in right now.  We just had an engineering career fair, and plenty of companies are hiring.  The hiring numbers are down from last year, but at least they are hiring.  Engineering is a field that will always be needed.  For some reason we have put a large value on lawyers and bankers, but at the end of the day it is engineers who actually solve technical problems.

I'm not sure if you have looked at other engineering disciplines, but I would recommend mechanical or petroleum, as they are hiring the most right now.  My friend is about to graduate in civil engineering and the only people hiring civil engineers are the oil and natural gas companies.  If you do go engineering, I would recommend taking as many co-op/internships as possible.  There is no telling where our economy will be when you graduate, so gain some experience and make a little money while in school.

 Leo 

krogoth's picture
krogoth
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Since we are adding philosophies of life

Since we are adding philosophies of life

Always try and surround yourself with positive, supportive people with like interests. Surrounding yourself with people that are negative all the time, tell you you can't do this or that or generally pessimistic about everything in the world are like life sucking vampires, and they will bring you down with them. Positive people will always give you advice, but believe in you as well. This applies to colleges, friends, family or anyone. You would be amazed how positive like minded people can make you life better. These are the people who accept you for who you are, not what you have. You can't avoid negative people entirely, but you can try to control your exposure to them.

Believe in what you do. The greatest thing you can do is find something that makes a good or great living that you love. Too many people are forced into careers they hate, then get trapped with the hooks of life, like credit or whatever.

Realize that over life, the greatest power is time and not money. If you can control your time you are the richest person in the world. You can make all the money you want, but if you don't have time to enjoy life, children, travel or simply having the time to enjoy your personal interests, you are simply a slave like the rest. It's a difficult balance in life to do what you need to do as well as enjoy life and have the time to do that as well.

Give something back. If everyone spent just a little time helping the community, helping the handicapped, working with kids as a mentor or whatever interests you, the world would be a much better place, and it makes you feel good as well.

Don't hide your knowledge, share it. Too many people spend a lot of energy protecting what they have learned because they are insecure about losing a job or status or the other negatives that are just not good karma. If you are confident and good or great at what you do, then share it and make colleagues or friends better and more productive by teaching them to be stronger. If you are not so good, then find the people to make you better. BUT if they are negative people, don't waste your time regardless of job or situation. The only time this is a problem is when it's YOUR business, then you need to root out the negative people because they will do nothing but be hidden destructive forces in your company,  and possibly you. 

Don't fall into the typical trappings of life. Be different and special. Make major decisions with care, like marriage or kids, major financial decisions or changes in life. Do this when you are really ready, not when you are poorly prepared. This is not the popular path in our distorted society, and you will get resistance from many people, but later in life they and you will see you did the right thing.

Don't fall into the typical consumer trappings of life. Get what you need and maybe a little more, but don't get excessive. Having a great expensive car, a house that's too big for your needs, or a $10k flat screen is not what you should be chasing. Get what you need and keep your world footprint smaller. Let everyone else chase the tiger or the Brass ring because eventually it will destroy them. Keep your finances secure and keep your life secure. Besides, all the shiny things attract the worst people who just want something out of you and not just you. It seems the more you get rich, the more you collect or have, and the flashier you get, the worst people are attracted to you like magnets to metal. The most miserable, divorced, no contact with kids and horrible people I have met in my life are the richest ones I have met in my life.

When you are ready to have children, make sure your ready. Children should be planned and not accidents that you need to adapt your life to. They are the most important things you will do, and they are truly the future. Share your life with your kids, and let them share experiences with you, but have time for them because they will need this. Be a parent but be a friend as well. Have fun doing things you like together. Too many families need to have both parents work, and the kids are the ones that suffer from this the most. It's a condition that has been forced on us by society, and it needs to be recognized and corrected.  

Free time=Less worry=less stress=happy life

 

 

 

 

 

 

switters's picture
switters
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Posts: 744
Re: What to do...

My random thoughts:

 

  • The safest jobs will be those that are least dependent upon oil and the infrastructure it has enabled.  
  • Think of what people did for a living before the age of cheap oil and fossil fuels, and choose on of those vocations (i.e. shoemaker, herbalist, farmer, carpenter, etc.). 
  • In the foreseeable future there will also be many opportunities in permaculture design, green tech & building, renewable energy infrastructure, and any industry involved in transitioning away from fossil fuels.
  • Choose a job that doesn't require you to live in a large, densely populated city.
  • Economy and employment will shift from the multinational conglomerate to the local, cottage-based industry. Choose something that doesn't require enormous amounts of infrastructure to support it.
  • Choose something that will always be in high demand, no matter what is happening with the economy.  See bullet #2.
  • Choose something that will give you enough free time to grow vegetables, raise chickens, spend time with your loved ones, take care of your home and land, and do everything you'll need to do in the future to ensure a healthy, secure life. 
Everyone else has offered good advice for life.  I would agree that choosing something you enjoy doing and can see yourself doing until you die is of the utmost importance.  The era of "retirement at 65" has come to an end.  Luckily, many of the "pre-oil" jobs involve artistry, craftsmanship and/or special knowledge and it would probably be difficult to get bored doing them. The same can't be said for many of our present-day mindless occupations. 

 

 

tscribs's picture
tscribs
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Joined: Oct 24 2008
Posts: 6
Wow. It sure has been a

Wow. It sure has been a while.  I'm not sure why I stopped reading these forums, must have gotten too busy or something.  Anyway, it was great to go back and see all of the replies I've gotten.  I'm not sure if I've followed all of your advice without seeing it; however, I have followed some!  Since my original post, lots of things have happened.  I guess I should update all you helpful people now.

Let's see: 

  • I am now entering my Junior year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  My major is still Civil Engineering.  I have almost decided upon a primary focus of Transportation Engineering, a secondary in Construction Management, and an honors focus in Sustainable Engineering.
  • I'm spending my summers taking more classes and making some $$$.  
  • I have a very good base of friends who are positive and think like me.  

Just a heads-up to those who said that my post was "refreshing" and that it was good to see an 18 y.o. NOT just chasing girls: Many people my age think the same way I do.  Those who have been lucky enough to have an excellent education know of the real situation of the country, and are getting worth while degrees. 

 

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