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Listen for the Boiler Leak

July 29, 2009

So, I currently work at a power plant and it is awesome. I like hanging out with huge machines all day and being in an environment where no one knows everything. We all have to work together because power plants are too freaking complicated for one person to know everything.

I stayed late today for an equipment reliability test. As I was sitting by the outlet of the air heaters, wondering when it would begin to rain and writing down a number every minute, I started to think about all the classes I wish I had taken.

If only I had known what I wanted to do earlier, I would have planned ahead much better. For anyone else out there who is interested in power generation, these are the classes I wish I had taken (and I suppose I do technically still have some time to take them):

  1. Transport Phenomena
  2. Mechanical Vibrations
  3. Introduction to Microelectronic Circuits
  4. Failure Analysis and Prevention

I did, however, manage to take/register for:

  1. Thermodynamics
  2. User-Oriented Collaborative Design
  3. Signals and Systems
  4. Software Design
  5. Introduction to Materials Science
  6. Systems
  7. Fundamentals of Machine Shop Operations
  8. Nautical Science (including some Meteorology)
  9. Renewable Energy
  10. Sustainable Design
  11. Controls (anticipated for spring semester)

So I least I can sleep at night with the naive hope that at least I know something. It’s funny, looking at this list it seems like I ought to know a lot – but I still feel like there’s too much I don’t know anything about.

I love working in power generation. I used to always say, “I want a job where the weather matters”. I wanted to be outside and active for my summer job, not cooped up staring at a computer screen. I’ve found that power generation is a nice balance weighted towards the “get out in the field” side. You can’t figure out where the boiler leak is by staring at data on a computer screen. You have to go listen for it.

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