Waubonnee professor shares how he got into learning and teaching in the automotive program

How do I reset my trip? What if I haven’t figured out what my trip is yet? Where will this journey take me?

These are all questions that our students ask themselves, but this line of questioning should not apply only to current students. This should also apply to future students. Future students who wish to acquire a particular skill; future students who want a special and meaningful career; or future students who are currently in the job market but want to change. The bottom line is that we are all on a journey, and at different points in our journey we have to change course and reset because the world around us has changed, or we have changed who we want to be in this world.

I vividly remember my magical reset moment where my entire journey changed in minutes because someone made me see the larger world around me. I had to see beyond what I thought the world looked like and realize that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I also realized that there are people out there to help me discover the opportunities that are available to me.

I was in my senior year of high school and had no idea what I wanted to do next. My parents always encouraged me to go to university to have more opportunities than them. It was a great idea on paper but I didn’t like it because, at that time in my life, I didn’t like school. I also didn’t want to go to college just to go to college.

At that time, I was enrolled in a few vocational and technical courses at Oswego High School and I knew I liked working with my hands. I learned many important skills in these classes, but at 18 I didn’t know how to apply those skills.

My automotive instructor mentioned that Waubonnee was having an automotive open house and that I should visit to learn more about their program. Sure, how about… a day off and go see something I loved doing? Count on me! I was at the end of high school and I needed a new path to move forward. I was ready to go and see the world as I thought it existed.

When I walked into the Waubonnee Auto Shop on the Sugar Grove campus, I saw the reset button right in front of me. In that moment, I was exposed to a whole world that I didn’t even know existed, in a field that I thought I knew everything about.

It all clicked when I started talking to Ken Kunz, one of the professors in Waubonsee’s automotive technology program. He talked about the vast opportunities available in the automotive field and the fact that there are many more jobs and opportunities outside of just being a repair technician. It opened my eyes to see many paths that I didn’t know were there.

This five minute conversation reset my trip. Waubonse showed me the possibilities and provided me with a clear path on how to get there. Twenty years later, I teach in the program that gave me direction alongside Ken. I help people of all ages find their reset button to find their next trip, and I couldn’t be happier.

Come visit Waubonnee and discover all the amazing trails that could be part of your next trip.

• Guy Tiberio is an associate professor of automotive technology at Waubonnee Community College in Sugar Grove.

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