Future Suggestion for College/Career

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by imaketouchtheme, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. imaketouchtheme macrumors 65816

    Dec 5, 2007

    I've started to look into where I want to go to college/what I want to major in/what I want to do in my future life. I'm 17 and a junior in high school (yea, I know I should of started thinking about this earlier). My sophomore year I had a few surgeries on my ears, so that plummeted my overall GPA from missing so much school/being deaf (almost at least), but I'm maintaining a 4.0 this year. My cumulative is (I think) around a 3.2, horrible to myself as I'm one of the smartest kids in the school of 1,700. I'm mainly interested in math/science/engineering and am great at all three. By the end of my high school career, I'll have seven science credits, including two AP science classes (AP Environmental Science; AP Chemistry). My ability to think abstractly is almost zero, I'm an extremely concrete person, so my creative side is a little down. That's what I think my problem will be for engineering, although I'm great at fixing problems with products and manipulating them to provide more productivity. Not that this holds much significance, but my ability to do mental math is great, I can do entire formulas/equations in my head. I've worked on a few projects for my state (WV) and I'm going to a NASA science academy at Glenville this summer, then to an engineering class at Marshall. I really want to be an engineer, but physics have started to really interest me. I only read non-fiction books, mainly scientific books. Also, my computer skills are great, I can diagnose/build/repair almost any computer issue, and I know a little coding in Cocoa/Blitz. I can also do web design, graphic design, some video editing, etc. I haven't taken the ACT yet, but if I were to guess based on my friends scores/my ability to guess, I would say I would get in the 30 overall range.

    I know this post just looks like me gloating, but it's truly not, I really want a broad opinion on what options there are out there. I'm really not sure where to look when finding options, so thanks for any help you can give me.

  2. jaydub macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2006
    Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you're equipped to know what you'd like to do for the rest of your working life when you're 18.

    I'm 31 now, and if you had asked me when I was 18 if I thought I'd be where I am now, I'd have been waaaaaaaaay off. Do what you enjoy.
  3. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    Yeah, I wouldn't sweat it too much either. Go off to college. Take some classes in a variety of things that might interest you, and go from there. Don't feel pressured to get it all figured out right now. Have fun with it - college is awesome. :D
  4. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    OK, I admit freely to mattscotting that lengthy paragraph, but it wouldn't change my advice: Choose a specific degree path only if it is required for a field of work that truly motivates you, or if the studies you will undertake will feed a passion. Otherwise (as in you really aren't sure of the long-term), just go Liberal Arts/Interdisciplinary Studies/General Ed.

    For the vast majority of career paths that one falls into, the major is inconsequential. Merely having the sheepskin is sufficient entree' to most upwardly mobile vocations.

    Full Disclosure Statement: I am a serial college dropout, as I found the bureaucracy and smug thievery were more than I could stomach on several occasions. That's why I'm in the Higher Ed business now, charging outrageous sums per hour to consult. :D
  5. imaketouchtheme thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 5, 2007
    I've always heard "just do what you enjoy", but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm good at it/creates a nice cash flow. Like I said, I really enjoy technology and science, and I'm great at things in that area. I just want to find a profession that will pay nice dividends and I'll have an easy time finding a decent job.
  6. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    Well, doing what you're good at and what you enjoy aren't mutually exclusive, of course. But if you don't at least somewhat enjoy the job - the money isn't going to matter.

    That said, just go have a good time and kick some ass in class. You have plenty of time to figure out the rest.
  7. Nukemkb macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2006
    Columbia, SC
    Health Physics is an option... Medical Physics if you can work with oncology patients...

  8. kindablue09 macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2009
    Don't worry so much. Shop around for colleges that are

    -flexible with majors, so if you change your mind you won't have to transfer

    -that fit your budget, make sure that you will have extra room in your budget for the fun things in life (greek, study abroad, vacation, off campus apt) with respect to your budget. I'm talking about financial planning/loans, not the $ in your savings account. For instance, its a bad idea for an education major to rack up 200,000 in debt - it will take way too long to pay back on their salary. Be warned big cities are fun, but expensive (I am paying $650 a month for a very small studio).

    -somewhere you'd actually like to go. Maybe its the geographical location, maybe its the campus, student body, sports teams. Don't pick a place that you know you'll hate, its not worth it.

    - respected in your fields of interest. Make sure the faculty in your area love what they do, you'll learn a lot.

    Don't worry about choosing a career, that is what college itself is for. I'm currently in grad school for a profession that I didn't know existed until my Sophomore year of undergrad. Just go in with what you are interested in and explore from there. You'll find something.

    p.s. you'll also find people ridiculously smarter than you, you'll understand that in a bit (and unbelievably stupid too...)
  9. imaketouchtheme thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 5, 2007
    My least favorite thing in the world is anything to do with hospitals. I absolutely cannot stand having to go to hospitals/any medical place. Even simply getting my blood drawn is horrible to me, I cannot stand it. Anything pertaining to medical relations will be a big no-no for me. Health physics, on the other hand, actually looks interesting. Thanks!
  10. michael.lauden macrumors 68020


    Dec 25, 2008
    let me just say if you do your absolute worst. quit high school. don't goto college.

    as long as you have a friend in the same boat as you, and you are smart - you can do it.

    i know people who live off minimum wage. the only difference is they work hard. they have a room mate (or girlfriend/wife) and they budget the crap out of their paychecks.

    if you work hard, you generally get what you deserve.

    coming from someone who graduated with a 2.1GPA from high school, i am currently enrolled in a Junior College and will transfer to a normal college (UF, GA Tech) as a junior.

    don't worry about it you are on the right track.
  11. Boneoh macrumors 6502


    Feb 27, 2009
    So. Cal.
    Here is something that I learned a long time ago. It is called the Doom Loop. You basically move through stages, imagine these four stages as quadrants in a grid.

    1. Enjoy but Not Good At. At this point, you are doing what you Enjoy, but have not yet mastered. This may be where you start a new major, career, etc. You really enjoy it, but its going to take a while to get some expertise. Usually not a lot of money here, but lots of satisfaction in learning new stuff.

    2. Enjoy and Good At. This is where you have reached a certain level of skill at what you are doing. The pay is better than in step 1. You have the feeling of satisfaction in that you have worked hard to get here from step 1. A lot of folks feel rewarded here in helping their coworkers get the job done, too.

    3. Don't Enjoy and Not Good At. This often happens when a person is promoted to a management position, for example. Sometimes tech folks get here because they can't earn any more money than in step 2. At first there is a lot of paperwork, budgets, performance reviews, etc. that you suddenly have to take care of. For a lot of folks, it's not very enjoyable, and it takes a while to get good at it.

    4. Don't Enjoy but Good At. This is a transition phase. In my manager example, you have gotten good at managing things, but it's not nearly the fun that you had when you were in step 1 or step 2. It's time to move back to step 1 for something that you enjoy. Because you are still in a Good At quadrant, you are perceived as being able to perform well. Often an opportunity to move to Step 1 will come your way, perhaps still in management but a different area.

    You must at all costs avoid getting stuck in step 3. This is where You Are DOOMED! This is where you hear about people either just quitting one day because the couldn't take it any longer, or perhaps getting fired because they were perceived as a bad apple.

    Some key points to keep in mind.

    A. Aim for what you Enjoy!
    B. If you find yourself Not Good At, it's important to either get good at it or try something else.
    C. Money is not the key motivator for job satisfaction. I'm not saying to go become a starving artist, but just that money should not be the entire object of your life.
  12. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2006
    Accounting is nice if you're into business, it will get you not only into accounting, but most other areas of business as well (and there isn't much abstract thinking in accounting courses). Engineering and Computer Science also pay well and are usually fairly in demand. You do need to be math inclined for all of them (more so for Engineering and Computer Science).

    I'm not sure where you are from, but you should really consider taking the SAT; more schools accept in in comparison to the ACT, and its easier for them to measure you against what most other students are taking. IMO, having taking both the SAT and ACT, the ACT is easier. If you score very high on the SAT (2200+, maybe even 2000+ depending on the school), you might be able to overcome your GPA at top schools. Also, explain to the admissions committee why you felt your GPA was lower (there is usually an essay section for anything else you would like to explain or tell to the committee).

    Most importantly, don't focus too much on what you want to do now. You'll have plenty of time to decide once you enter college. The college environment is so much different from the High School environment and its pretty likely that all the general education (and early lower level courses in what you think you might want to major in) type classes you have to take in the beginning will shape what you actually want to major in.

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