Look what just arrived in the mail: my diploma in General Construction!
I could not be more grateful to my unflappable instructor, Kenton Pleger, or to the whole team at Tennessee College of Applied Technology Nashville, for welcoming a middle-aged mom with no relevant experience into the school’s new class in Building Construction Technology. (Nor could I be more grateful to SkillsUSA and MikeRoweWORKS Foundation for encouraging me with generous scholarships.)
Over 16 months at TCATN, I learned how to build houses, had the time of my life, and left with all ten fingers intact. I even graduated with a great job in the construction industry. (More on that later.)
People have asked if a diploma in Building Construction Technology automatically makes me a general contractor. No, there’s a separate licensure system for that, involving an exhaustive open-book exam. I might pursue that credential some day, but for now I’m reveling in this diploma, for which I can readily build a frame using the 20-volt 18-gauge DeWalt brad nailer that I got for a graduation present. (I mean, who wants a fancy fountain pen when you can have a cordless nail gun?)
The eight or so of us graduating in the inaugural cohort of Building Construction Technology don’t officially “walk” until TCATN’s commencement ceremony this spring, so stay tuned for an invitation to Buttercup’s graduation bash.
Meanwhile, just because construction school is over, don’t expect Buttercup to disappear. She’s simply morphing from “Middle-Aged Mom in Construction School” to “Middle-Aged Mom in Construction.” If I learned anything in technical school, it’s that there are infinite stories to explore—from the creativity of construction to the power of continuing education. This is just the beginning.