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Lee 1 Ryan M. Lee Dr. Lauren C.

Mason ENGL 1101-002 17 Jun, 2013 How I Got Here, and Where I am Going Looking back on my life I would like to believe that my childhood allowed me to turn out normal, but then again, who is to say what constitutes normal. I was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. I am currently an employee of Gulfstream Aerospace, where I work in the Hydraulic Lab. I work mostly on landing gear, but have been known to move around a bit. If you would have asked me five years ago where I would be today, there is no telling just what my answer would have been. I do know however, that I would not have been correct in my guess. I am also currently attending Armstrong Atlantic State University where I am just starting out on my journey to obtain a degree in Mechanical Engineering, hopefully. So lets take a look at just how I got here and where I am going. It all started one dark and stormy night in June, the twenty-second to be exact. A star was born, well ok maybe not a star, but it was me. I am the youngest of three. The oldest being my sister who is nine years my elder, and the middle child my brother, who is three years my elder. If you are thinking that being the baby of the family, I have been sheltered and protected by my older siblings, you could not be further from the truth. I was beaten up and abused by my siblings growing up, but I guess, what does not kill you only makes you stronger. If that is the case, I should be wearing blue tights, a red cape, and have an “S” on my chest. My parents on the other hand, treated me like the baby of the family, and to this day, they have not grown out if it.

Lee 2 You could say I am a mama's boy, I would not suggest it, but you could say it. My mother was a stay at home mom until I was eight years old. She taught me just about everything I know about how to approach life itself. She is the reason that I learned to cook, clean house, and do laundry, before I was ten. The reasoning behind it was that she wanted me to be able to marry for love, not for dinner, so she says. I think she just needed a little help some days. My father on the other hand, worked a lot when I was growing up, but was always home at night and on weekends. He has always been the handyman type, he has taught me more than I can write about how to fix things, build things, break things, accidentally and purposely, you know the important aspects of life. I have adopted many hobbies thanks to my father, and it helps us stay close as we both grow and evolve. When I was about thirteen years old I met a man who would eventually become my stepfather years down the road. Much like my father, he was always a hard working man, and very intelligent. Of all of the important life lesson things that my stepfather taught me, the one thing he said the most was “the cream always rises to the top.” It would be years before I completely understood what that meant. High school was a very bumpy ride for me. It took me a little while longer to complete than most students. I had a few teachers who influenced me in a negative way, and although I can’t blame my actions as a student solely on the teacher, I feel that they directly impacted the decisions I made at the time. I often wonder if teachers fully realize the impact they have on students, on a non academic level, in a high school environment. I have had many instructors, but not many teachers. One teacher I can remember in particular is my seventh grade History teacher. She had a way to get her students involved in the topic, and make us want to know more. She could teach a class, and have the whole class upset when the bell rings for dismissal. I have never had another teacher like that since. My friends from high school and I were under the

Lee 3 radar most of the time. We didn’t cause much trouble, and didn’t do much homework either. I could have been considered by most, as a slacker in high school. I could always find something better to do than study, or homework. I started high school without knowing anybody there, and was the kind of kid who really put a lot of thought into other people's judgment of me. That was until I met a guy by the name of Charles Doster. For us to be as different from each other as we were, we hit it off right from the start. He was a carefree individual, to say the least. He dressed, behaved, spoke, and lived however he wanted to with no regards to anyone’s opinion of him. I took to that like a moth to a flame. Within a short period of time we were pretty much inseparable, if you saw either of us, the other wasn’t far behind. We both dropped out of school our senior year, and to this day I don’t know why. I always wanted money, so I went out and got a job. I never knew that digging ditches was an actual job, I always assumed it was a career path your parents told you was your only option without an education. Well as luck would have it, that was my first job after dropping out of school. It was about as good as you can imagine it to be. I’ll never forget the day that Charlie and I were driving around looking for a new job when we passed by the high school. We both wondered about the possibility of going back and graduating. So back to high school we went. Going back to high school at the age of nineteen was actually easier than I thought it would be. I had such a better appreciation for the teachers, the curriculum, and the experience as a whole, than I had before. Friends used to pick on us about being so old and still in school, but going back to high school and graduating is one of my biggest accomplishments to date. I will never forget the feeling after we walked across the stage and got our diplomas, and just telling Charlie how crazy of a story this is going to be to tell our kids.

Lee 4 My first ever job was at Mcdonalds, it did not last very long. Let me just say that I was not cut out for the fast food industry. During my highschool years I would go on to work most of the stereotypical jobs. Bagging groceries, washing cars, anything for gas money. I sure do miss those simple days. The first real job that prepared me for the real world was working in a ceramic tile warehouse. I worked there for just over three years, with my stepfather as my boss. This was one of my hardest jobs, just because it was hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and it is hard to call in sick when your stepfather is your boss. I would eventually leave there, on good terms of course, and start my journey as a diesel mechanic. This was by far the job I would hate the most, even long after I quit, but it is also the job that taught me the skills necessary to obtain my current, and favorite job. Being a diesel mechanic I have had the pleasure of working on all types of trucks, to unfortunately include garbage trucks. That was the worst thing ever, and somehow I just so happened to be insanely good at it. This allowed me to focus my talent and skills into one aspect of my job, unfortunately it was a nasty, stinky aspect. Being the one guy who did not mind working on garbage trucks quickly gained me the respect of my fellow workers, as well as the respect of my employers. When the time came for me to leave I was not very sad that I would not be able to work on trucks anymore, but more excited that I would get the opportunity to work on airplanes instead. I started work for Gulfstream Aerospace in April of 2008, and I am lucky enough to still be there today. Since becoming employed at Gulfstream I have been lucky enough to work in many of the different disciplines of maintenance, but also the ability to travel some. I have been chosen to travel to Florida, as well as California in order to aid other Gulfstream facilities with particular repairs. I know the reason I was chosen to travel is because my manager feels that I am not only the most competent man for the job, but also the best person to represent the company

Lee 5 while I am there. I have no one to thank for this more than my mother, she is the reason I have such determination and drive to be the best, and the reason I carry myself with a certain level of maturity. Life completely changed when I met my wife, Lauren. I was working three jobs, just graduated high school and had no time for any activity outside of work. Somehow that changed when we met. I had more money in the bank than any other kid my age, due mainly to the fact that when you work three jobs, its hard to find time to spend all that money. So I quit two of my three jobs and started making time to spent with my new girlfriend. That was eleven years ago, and it seems strange to me now how fast those last years have gone by. It is easy to get caught up in life, and they say “time flies when you’re having fun”. We have been through a lot of ups and downs, as most couples have, and yet and the end of the day I believe we both come home to the person we would like to more than anyone else. Once I completed high school I went directly to work. I never really thought that I would have the ability, much less the time to attend college. That all changed when I met my current manager, he has for a lack of better terms, forced me to start college and make something of myself. The whole, right out of highschool straight into college, experience looks fun and more than likely it is. However, I am not sure if I could have succeeded had I chosen to travel down that path. I think that my approach to college has to directly mirror my approach to high school. That may be why I waited until I was thirty years old to start college. I think that by waiting I have matured and will now have a better respect for the process, as a whole, of college. My current plan is to finish at Armstrong, then transfer to Georgia Southern to complete my B.S in Mechanical Engineering. I have no immediate plans of furthering my education from there, but that is the same thought I had after high school. I started A.A.S.U with no real expectation of

Lee 6 what it would be like, so when I start G.S.U, theres no telling where that experience may lead me. I do think that my age will eventually play a role in my decision to continue my education much further past my Bachelors Degree. I still have a very long road ahead of me in order to achieve my degree,and I have gotten a much later start than most. I am happy to say the least with the job I have now. Once I complete my studies, I hope to continue my employment with Gulfstream, only in a different department of expertise. I work closely with engineers on a daily basis in order to perform my required duties, and have really found that they have, in my opinion, the ultimate job. The job requires them to be analytical, very left-brain oriented. I have always felt that way about myself, and the approach I take with most tasks. I believe that once I receive my degree, combined with my past experiences, becoming an Mechanical Engineer at Gulfstream would be the perfect career for me. Once I accomplish the goals that I have set out for myself, there is no telling what I will do next.

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