Go for it! Getting the education that gets you in the door for a technical career is the hard part. If you tough that out, the rest is fun. The fundamentals you learn in school are the backbone of the knowledge base you'll need to go where you want to in life.
I'd like to have a major technical role on a successful Mars mission. I'd also like to accomplish this goal without having to abandon everything else in my life that I like to do. That seems to be the challenge -- work here can get so intense that it's hard to keep everything else from falling by the wayside.
The most challenging part of my job is staying on top of all of my responsibilities and duties. Time management is one of the most critical skills in this field. You've got to be able to keep several things going at once. Multitasking is key.
This job is like nothing I've ever done before. I have the opportunity to be at my limit as much as I can handle. The cool thing is that when it seems overwhelming, I just step back and remember that I'm building a spaceship! It doesn't get any cooler than that as far as I'm concerned.
I was largely inspired by the Mars Pathfinder mission and the Sojourner rover in particular. After seeing all of that unfold, I said, "I've got to get some of that." I just started working every angle to get myself into JPL and in the right group to be able to design and build flight hardware.
The idea of sending a little vehicle to a whole different planet, driving it around, and learning things never before known by mankind, just blows my mind.
I love cars. I have a background of restoring classic Mustangs and Shelbys, but recently I've been branching out a bit. I've always wanted to get into road racing, so I'm in the process of building a race car.
I'm really into the outdoors, and have been active in rock climbing, mountaineering, and backpacking for years. I'm also an avid mountain biker and can often be seen cranking up the mountains behind JPL on my single speed.