In addition to paying attention in class and becoming knowledgeable about carpentry, there are some other qualities you should work on in school. You might want to focus on paying attention to details, honing your math skills, building your physical strength, and becoming an effective problem solver.
You should become detail-oriented.
Carpenters have a variety of responsibilities at the construction site and have to be able to complete many different tasks. Even though something like building a house might seem like a “big picture” job, it is actually a conglomeration of many different details. All your measurements should be very precise, otherwise the different parts of the house or other structure won’t fit together as well as they should. For example, if you don’t measure carefully you could create gaps between windows and frames, which will create leaks around the window. This could lead to multiple problems and may require that your errors be fixed later on down the road. The highest-quality construction jobs are often those where such details are paid careful attention to, so that the future homeowner, office manager, or landlord doesn’t have to deal with as much maintenance in the future. You should also be detail-oriented when reading blueprints and following directions. Small deviations from an architect’s or engineer’s plans could lead to significant issues during the building process. You can work on being detail-oriented in school by taking precise notes and following teachers’ directions exactly as they are told to you.
You will need to learn basic math skills.
All carpenters will need some level of skill in mathematics in order to be a successful carpenter. The job requires that you be able to calculate measurements and add, subtract, or multiply different measurements together to know what type of and how many cuts to make. You might also have to use math to calculate volume, or when making a list of materials and figuring out how much you will need to spend on inventory. You will especially need to have math skills if you own your own carpentry business, as you will likely have to do calculations regarding inventory, budgets, and payroll. If you sign up for an associate’s degree program, you will probably take a math class as part of the degree process.
You should grow your physical strength.
Although you won’t study physical fitness or take a gym class in college, you can still work on this quality yourself. A lot of the tools and equipment you will use at the construction site are very heavy, as are the materials you will be hauling around. For example plywood sheets can weight over 100 lbs.! If you want to keep up with other carpenters and be able to last working all day on different construction projects, you should start trying to become stronger now. In between classes you can go to the gym or take exercise classes to build muscle. Plus, exercise is good for the brain, so it might help you study too!
You need to become a good problem solver.
You will have to solve many different problems once you become a carpenter. If you are hired to remodel someone’s house or repair an issue they are having, you will have to figure out a way to solve their problem, such as by using wedges to level cabinets in homes that are settling or sloping. You might also have to solve problems when building structures from scratch. If there turns out to be a problem with the blueprints or you run into an unexpected obstacle, you will have to work with other carpenters to innovate viable solutions.