As of my writing this post, it’s been 137 days since I keyed the mic on my radio. It’s been longer since I had a JT/PSK QSO. Life has been busy, but for a good reason: I’m returning to school to pursue an electrical engineering degree, and amateur radio was the inspiration.
Since I was a kid, I’ve had an interest in electronics and how things work. I disassembled everything I could, much to the displeasure of my parents. I have always enjoyed trying to make things work together, solving problems, or thinking of new ways to accomplish the same task. While this would sometimes yield a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption, the thrill was undeniable. I attended elementary school and 6th grade in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, in a district that valued properly educating students identified as gifted. I was among them.
As I moved to Florida and worked through secondary school, I lost a bit of my my zeal for learning. Many of my teachers were exceedingly average, and my new school district had a mediocre “gifted” program — it was more of an honors-plus workload without the expansion of critical thinking. I was bored and apathetic because of the lack of mental challenge, and my grades suffered. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in college, but I enjoyed video production in high school. “Sure,” I thought, “digital media will do.” To make a long story slightly shorter, I went to community college and did not complete my degree for the same reasons as my poor performance in high school. I was bored.
I’ve worked in TV news since early 2008. I started as an overnight video editor, eventually being promoted to chief editor. I transitioned out of the newsroom in 2011, as a photojournalist, and I’ve been doing that ever since. I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I enjoy the creative aspects, as well as the level of responsibility. I do not enjoy the grind – it’s a stressful job, full of deadlines and uncertainty. The industry is also in a strange place right now, trying to strike a balance between traditional newscasts and social media, amid declining budgets and allegations of “fake news.” I’ve thought of getting out for a while, but had no idea what I wanted to do instead.
In late 2014, a friend sold me on studying for an amateur radio license. I’ve been hooked ever since. I finally feel enthusiastic about learning again, and as time went on, I realized that I may have found a passion worth pursuing as a career. In dipping my toes into the pool of the electrical engineering world, I’ve found something that is as expansive as it is fascinating. I cannot put into words how alluring and exciting that is; I’ll always have more to learn.
So, here I go. In a few days, I’ll return to school to finish my AA, with the goal of transferring to the USF College of Engineering. As I embark on the journey, I have no one to thank more than the hams around the world who have renewed my passion for science and learning.
Now that I’ve got my ducks in a row, I’ll do my best to get on the air again soon. See you all somewhere on the VFO.