Paul Mazyck, All Good Under the Hood
JANUARY 02, 2024
Paul Mazyck smiles at the memory of his first day in the ASU-Mountain Home automotive repair program last year.
“At the beginning, I was not at all used to hand tools or shop equipment,” he said. “I had nothing but an interest in working. At that point, I had been working digging trenches and doing hand-poured cement. I had a desire to get in and learn how to do something easier than that.”
Mazyck proved an apt pupil, bringing an inquisitive attitude to class every day that helped him get comfortable and excel quickly.
“Getting hands-on with stuff I wasn’t familiar with and asking a lot of questions helped a lot,” he said. I was fortunate to have an extremely experienced and well-informed instructor who has given me great resources and knowledge that I would never have by myself.”
The education has opened up new opportunities for Mazyck, whose upbringing included its share of challenges. In 2020, the Fayetteville native moved to Yellville with his father into a bare-bones living situation that lacked utilities.
“For a period of time, I was roughing it consistently,” he said “At the time, I was still in my senior year of high school living without utilities but being enrolled in online classes. I was really struggling to keep up. I was also working a full-time job in fast food to keep everybody fed.”
The challenges finally took their toll, and Mazyck left high school and took some time off, earning his GED in 2021. He then turned his attention to learning a skill.
“When I was looking at the different degree programs at ASUMH, I kind of determined a thesis statement,” he said. “I was going to try to find something that I was able to make money with, that was interesting and fun, where I could help other people and that was a practical skill. I settled on the automotive program. It’s been interesting.”
Through his instructors, Mazyck was hired by the local school district to work on buses. “I have since changed many, many gallons of oil and gotten dirtier and greasier than I ever thought I would have,” he said proudly.
Having a skill at his disposal provides a good way to earn money while he works through the next step in his educational and professional journey. Through his newfound faith and church community, he’s also infused with a more hopeful view of the future.
“Ultimately, I want to get a bachelor’s in education,” he said. “I could do the first two years in Mountain Home in person and then probably finish my four-year degree online. I’m very happy with where I am right now. It’s been the best place I’ve ever been.”