Lanse you should be going to the Hobart school because you want to learn as much as possible about your career choice. That is the BIG difference between going to a technical school, college, university, etc. and regular school like high school where you don't have a choice. I would guess that 99% of the other students are going there because they want to as well.
I agree with Puddles that you need to go in thinking you know nothing about welding. You "don't know what to expect"? Expect to get bombarded with new information and do more welding in a week than you've done in two month's! You'll get a lot of theory as well. You're typical of a first year apprentice thinking you know a lot about welding. I don't mean that as an insult. In reality if you took all the knowledge from the experienced welders on this forum and added it all together... it would only make up a small percentage of the vast world of welding. There is nobody who knows everything there is to know about welding. New technologies and processes are being developed all the time. The good welders will try to learn as much as possible. Some of the old school guys are set in their ways and don't like change.
While it is your dream to have your own shop, you need to get some experience out in the real world working for someone else. I think going to the Hobart school will be a big plus to help you decide what type of welding you might like to focus on. You may not be able to go in that specific direction right off the bat though. An example would be welding cross country pipelines where the big money is. You don't just come out of school and get hired on to do critical x-ray welding. Maybe you'd like to run your own welding truck and do a variety of different jobs. Maybe you'll find it's easier working in a shop where all you need to worry about is doing your job and going home at the end of the day. Running a business can be a real PIA sometimes.
I think you'll do fantastic at the Hobart school if you go in with a positive attitude and show them that you want to learn everything you can about welding. Keep us informed cause we're all rootin' for ya!!! I'm still thinking you'll be on the cover of Welding Journal in the near future being presented with the AWS welder of the year award.
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