The Daily Item
NEW BERLIN — As an inherently academic student, I (Claudia Pehowic) never dreamed that I’d find myself walking the halls of SUN Area Technical Institute. To the astonishment of my parents, peers, and professors, I decided to enroll in SUN Tech’s automotive technology program. To this day, I find that I am still coming up with new reasons to explain my decision. I wanted job assurance, I wanted to meet new people, and I wanted to learn something new.
It’s always been my dream to move to a foreign country and be immersed in an unfamiliar culture. On Aug. 20, I began living the dream. Being mixed in with Lewisburg, Midd-West, Mifflinburg and Selinsgrove students meant many new faces. New tools, new terminology, and new procedures were difficult to adjust to. I was studying abroad. After 12 years of English, math, sciences, and history, I had become weary of the core curriculum. I knew how to regurgitate facts, cram for finals, and write an advanced level PSSA prompt. SUN Tech offered me the chance to learn about things that I didn’t yet know how to do.
On my first day in the automotive program, I was told to identify 100 different tools. I flipped through catalogs desperately searching for the difference between sockets and adapters, between drills and impact guns. I got a ‘C’, but I knew I tried harder than anyone in the class. Adapting to a new environment was very humbling. The students who had asked me for help with math and English were now my crutch to lean on. I went from being a gifted student to being in constant need of assistance.
Luckily, with much help from those around me, I’m now able to hold my own. I’ve studied wheels, tires, brakes, electrical systems, steering, suspension, and engine components. Every minute of class time is spent doing something productive. Finally, I’ve mastered tools other than my pen and pencil. SUN Tech’s healthy environment made learning much easier for me. It was surprising to see how professionally and efficiently my program could be operated. Every morning I’m greeted by smiling faces and a never-ending tasks list. Still, spending my days at SUN Tech was nothing short of a breath of fresh air.