When I was a freshman in high school, I was told I had to start thinking about colleges. I thought to myself “College? That’s so far off. Why do I have to think about college?” Well, five years later, finally a student at an amazing university, and it feels like I’m back at square one. The first week of classes, freshman year, we were hit in our engineering classes with “IT’S TIME TO PLAN YOUR CAREER!” I was fortunate enough to have a pretty good concept of my desired future in the amusement industry. But even so, I had no idea where to start.
When you’re interested in the big engineering industries, like automotive engineering and urban land planning, most of your opportunities will generally come from career fairs. Yet almost no companies from the entertainment sector will come to these fairs, so you’re on your own to find opportunities. You have to travel to find opportunity. That’s where TPED came in for me. I’m no longer at square one, I’m ahead of that.
Having the chance to be able to attend the 2015 IAAPA Attractions Expo gave me such an interesting perspective on the entertainment sector, not just from the engineering side, but from foodservice, agriculture, architecture, business, really, any and every side possible. But what’s it like to see the famous “nine miles of aisles” from a student’s eye? IT’S SO MUCH. We only went for two days, and by the end our voices were already gone, with holes in our socks and bags under our eyes. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be there for the whole week.
Some companies were thrilled (get it?) to see us. They took huge amounts of time to talk with us, network, and really make us feel like we were part of the industry. And even more, IAAPA held a seminar for university students with the express purpose of getting big advice from big names. Personally, I’d urge any company to join in on it. As students, we’re ready to learn, especially when it comes to gaining new perspectives.
What would we like to see? Something nerdy. Something really technical. We’d love to be able to learn more about the behind the scenes stuff, especially how we can take material we’ve learned in our coursework and apply it to design (e.g. looking at a large animatronic and applying dynamics calculations, now that’d be fun) But that’s for next year. Until then, we can’t wait to hear about what innovative and crazy concepts come up. See you on the floor.