How to be a Good Aviation Student?
Let’s all agree, aviation is charming. It relates to airplanes. And working with airplanes is always, outright cool. There are people that decide to come into the aviation industry because of its shiny aspects. There are people who decide to join this stream because of the money. And there are also people who have no idea how they ended up in the field (a lot actually). My favorite kind is the people that are bitten by the aviation bug and just want to be near airplanes because they literally and unconditionally love them. The last kind is rare to find.
In any case, if you are reading this, there are high odds that you have decided to join the fast, dynamic and exciting domain of aviation and hence, for the purpose of this article will be called, ‘the aviation student’. I will not discriminate what type of aviation student you are, or whether you like the domain or not. You have chosen this life, and from a bit of my experience and interactions, I will briefly go over how to be a good learner in the aviation stream. Let’s get right into it then!
The Good Aviation Student.
(Note: this is general advice but the students I have in mind are mostly aspiring pilots, aircraft engineers and students of aviation management)
The first point I am going to make here is applicable to pretty much any discipline.
1. THERE IS MORE TO LEARNING THAN JUST PASSING THE EXAMS.
All Credits to CAE Oxford.
Attend classes, submit your assignments, sit your exams and pass them. This does not solely make you an aviation professional. In my personal experience, and in asking many people in the industry, what you study in course books and what you write in the exams is barely any help in the actual field. Sure, they are basic requirements but some people forget the meaning of “basic”. They are the bare minimum requirements you need to have! Being content with just passing the exams and doing your work on time is not enough to a seasoned professional.
As an aviation student, you need to go out of your way to make an aptitude of self- learning. This is very important because, even though it seems like you won’t have to study again after you start working, the reality is different. Aviation professionals who want to progress in the industry have a lifetime of exams and interviews. For this reason, you have to build that attitude of going out of the book. The internet is full of resources on literally any topic you want to find. YouTube has amazing content on aviation matters.
Ask around for pdf’s of books that are not in your course. Go out of your way. Ask questions and then seek answers. Because I guarantee, the course book you studied and the exam you passed is not a lot of help in that job interview.
2. If you have passion, keep it lit up. If you don’t, start finding it.
This will be a bit harsh but, at some point in life you are going to have to find a way to love aviation because without it, it can get very, very tough. For those of you who already love this field, (and don’t lie to yourself) it is necessary to make sure that ‘spark’ doesn’t go away. Being an aviation student often means expensive studies and loans. It also means difficult exams. And at the fresh stage of a career, it means less pay and more working hours. Worse, it means uncertainty of getting a job at all after all that investment.
You just cannot go through these without the passion that is required. Whether you’re a student pilot, or a trainee aircraft mechanic or in any other aviation discipline, it is absolutely necessary to love something in your field to get you out of bed everyday with positive energy. Otherwise, even if you do make it to the industry somehow, you won’t be the professional that the industry requires.
Sure, not everyone has it hard, some just sail right into their desired positions, but that’s a very few of us. So make sure you know why you chose this field. And make sure why it’s worth all the sweat. Watch videos of airplanes taking off, keep wallpapers, have airplane themed jackets. Tell people how amazing aviation is. Whatever works, keep that passion alive.
3. Keep Current on Industry matters.
Credits: Flight Design
This one is simple, stay up to date of what’s happening in your world. Make sure you follow all the relevant news pages and channels. This itself is linked to point number 2 which is mentioned above, it keeps your interest alive. And more importantly, you being up to date on all aviation matters prepares you to be a professional that the aviation industry needs; current on all issues and aware.
4. Network, network, network.
I cannot stress this enough. In my opinion there should be a mandatory course on how to meet and network with like-minded people and industry professionals.
Generally, the aviation industry is a close-knit community. For example, looking at one aviation system, people tend to know each other a lot more than other industries. Except some countries where the aviation eco-system is way too large like the US or China. In the rest of the world, aviation professionals across the country would know one another.
For this reason, right from your early student days, start knowing industry professionals. Share your ideas with them, sit with them, have tea with them. Attend conferences and seminars where industry veterans and professionals gather. Join societies that have such professionals. In short, be in touch with actual seasoned aviation professionals from the early stage.
This helps, not only in expanding your knowledge, but also practically as references and recommendations for your future jobs. That one developing professional that you were on good terms with might be a supervisor someday and benefit you in many ways. A good starting point are your teachers and seniors at your respective institutes.
I could really go on and on but this has already exceeded the length I wanted it to be. To wrap it all up, being in the aviation industry is extremely fast paced. And your approach needs to be as dynamic. It is growing day by day and you should grow with it. Being in aviation means lifelong learning that just does not end. This means you need to be well equipped, and mentally prepared for all the challenges.
Whoever you are, I wish you luck in all your endeavors. Clear skies and tailwinds!
Date: 02 September 2019 Comments: 2