My name is Claire Kincaid, and I'm super excited to be joining the Olin Class of 2019! So far, my gap year has been a huge adventure in flexibility. My family is USAF active duty and had received orders to Tokyo, Japan. Needless to say, I thought that by now I'd be traveling through Asia, enjoying the sights and staving off culture shock.
But then calamity struck and we had a bit of a family medical emergency, and our orders were cancelled. So, I was left for about a week with no plans whatsoever, keeping the house spotless and bashing my head against a wall. But once I dragged myself out of my stupor, I was able to take advantage of some absolutely wonderful opportunities here in Colorado Springs, and I'm now living my gap year dream.
I have two jobs, both of which I love, and I own and operate a small business. My business, "Claire's Creations" (still working on a better name) is a home based jewelry business where I design and fabricate original pieces using semiprecious stones and sterling silver. I also cut and classify my own gems, determining their geological identity and retail value, so that I can then incorporate them into one of a kind designs.
On the weekends, I work at Gibson's Mineral Gallery at the Broadmoor hotel, a job which in essence consists of me talking to people about rocks and their many personalities, all day. It is also a wonderful learning and networking opportunity, as the store consigns some of my jewelry and puts me in constant contact with big jewelry and mineralogy names, while enabling me to learn more about the field and improve my people skills.
Three days a week, I work as a sales clerk and apprentice at The Gilded Artisan Jewelers, a locally owned custom jewelry and jewelry repair shop. The people I work with are absolutely wonderful, and the job is allowing me to learn more about the jewelry making industry than I could ever aspire to teach myself; as well as learn new tricks and techniques, and the basics of CAD/CAM and rapid prototyping. This job is also giving me the opportunity to become a published writer and certified jeweler by the end of the year, which would be nearly impossible otherwise.
On top of all that, I also take online classes to review Classical Mechanics, E&M, and Chem 101/102 so I don't fall behind during my gap year; and classes in Multivariable Calculus, Business Law, Engineering Mechanics, and Japanese to further my skills. Mostly I'm teaching myself about the subjects through self structured online classes, but I do have help from a private Japanese tutor and a Calculus professor from the Air Force Academy, who happens to be a good friend of the family.
In case you haven't determined it by now, the world is a textbook to me. I am completely obsessed with learning and experiencing new things, to me any length of time spent without some new experience or lesson is completely wasted. That being said, I enjoy the 6 season Netflix binge as much as the next person, as long as I get to go back to doing something or learning something productive afterwards. >
With all the stuff I'm doing this year, its hard to find time to indulge in hobbies, but I do! In my off time, I read, draw, sing, learn new things for no reason at all, write letters to no one on various subjects, volunteer, and turn the world into physics problems. I'm also preparing for my second solo piano recital, as I have been a pianist for 14 years. I'm really excited for this recital, since I'll be playing Beethoven's complete Tempest Sonata, Gershwin Preludes I, II, and III, and Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C# Major. My little sister and I love to try new things together, so we've had quite a few interesting adventures this year too, like concerts, obstacle courses, being goofballs, and C130 flight simulations.
All in all, I'm excited to see what else this chaotic but awesome year has in store for me, and I'm confident that even though life might not work out the way I had it planned, it will definitely work out in the end. In this case, no matter what, I know I'll end up at Olin next fall and start a completely new adventure!
I'll see you all soon,