A Profound and Unique Experience

  • Joey Upper

No Common Experiences

In going through school, some students attend their classes, do the coursework, and in two-to-four years graduate with an associate and/or bachelor’s degree without registering a serious impact on themselves or the way they perceive the world around them.

Over the course of interviewing many of our successful graduates, there is one thing that sticks out as a commonality. That’s not a common experience among them.

“If I could describe SDI in one word, it would be ‘profound’,” Clark said reflecting on his time with Sonoran Desert Institute.

“It’s a unique program that is offered to individuals that want to pursue a career in gunsmithing, and the fact that they offer a curriculum that would get you to that platform is fantastic.”

Clark was able to take advantage of the opportunity presented by SDI – and he loved it! In fact, he loved it so much that when asked about his favorite class, the man cheated – possibly for the first time in his academic career.

“My favorite part of my time with SDI was essentially all the classes,” he said.

It’s hard not to let that one slide.

Working with a Master

“Just the hands-on aspect of being able to work on all the projects – getting the parts in the mail was a large part of the surprise – and … just having a lot of fun working on the various exercises, communicating with my fellow students and my instructors, (I) received very good feedback throughout all the course curriculum,” Clark said.

“Everything I’ve learned thus far, it’s kind of helped me build and get to where I’m at in terms of my career here,” Clark recollected.

Clark even had the chance to get close with one of SDI’s best-loved instructors – our very own master gunsmith, Kip Carpenter.

“Kip Carpenter was definitely at the top,” he said. “I had him for two or three of my classes, and he was just super responsive – very helpful. I had questions on more than one occasion in all my classes, and I got answers within hours, which was good,” Chris said.

“I think he was very instrumental in my being a successful student here at the school.”

Building on an Education

At the time of the interview, Clark was on his way to obtaining his FFL, for which, he said, SDI was extremely valuable.

“Everything I’ve learned thus far, it’s kind of helped me build and get to where I’m at in terms of my career here,” Clark recollected.

Clark may not attend SDI any longer, but he remains a strong member of our community of faculty, staff, students, and graduates. He’s not afraid to help expand that community, either. He gave this advice (and a little warning) to those interested in the school:

“If I met someone and they asked me about Sonoran Desert Institute, I would tell them that it is a great school, and it’s well worth the investment. Their curriculum is pretty challenging, and you do have to apply yourself from an academic standpoint. But if you put forth your best effort, and establish some good study habit skills, you can no doubt be successful in this program and graduate.”

Chris Clark is a 2019 SDI graduate.

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