Some folks are wise and some are otherwise. -Tobias Smollett
Question #86456 posted on 05/11/2016 11:27 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board (including alumni!)

Out of curiosity, how many of you are doing (professionally) what you thought you'd be doing when you graduated from high school?

- She

A:

She,

I wanted to be a nuclear physicist. Instead, I teach high school physics. So, some iteration of the word "physics" shows up in both. That's pretty close, right?

-The Man with a Mustache

A:

Dear She,

When I was in high school I wanted to be a forensic pathologist.

Now I work for Wall Street. And have a cat. 

So...no. 

-Concorde

A:

Dear friend,

When I graduated high school, I was leaning toward print journalism. I'm not anywhere near that field now. However, I was also considering music therapy. While that's not exactly what I do now, I do teach music and many of my students are severely handicapped, so I wasn't too far off.

Peace,

-Stego Lily

A:

Dear She,

Me! I wanted to teach kindergarten when I graduated and I teach 1st grade now. 

Although, I have to say, I never dreamed of being a nurse, peacemaker, zookeeper, and custodian, but I guess those are just perks of working in education? 

-Ms.O'Malley

A:

Dear She,

Am I the only one who had no idea what they wanted to do when they graduated from high school? I just applied to BYU and figured I'd choose something once I got there. I never even considered choosing a school based on which programs they offered.

-Genuine Article

A:

Dear Her,

Coming out of high school I thought that I would go to school and major in chemical engineering. I now work as a chemical engineer, so yes. 

I hope this helps. Please don't hate me. 

- Brutus

A:

Dear She,

When I graduated from high school, I had vague ideas of being an actress or a spy. Instead, I am a humble, mild-mannered librarian. (Or am I?)

- Katya

A:

Dear She,

Hmmm, graduating from high school I think I wanted to be an interpreter or a graphic designer, but I know I wasn't super confident about either of those; I'm not sure what I would've answered if you asked what I thought I'd be doing five years from then. I most recently worked as an editor at an eLearning company. The title is different, but many of the same things that drew me to interpreting/designing are what draw me to teaching and developing learning materials, so that worked out nicely.

-Owlet

A:

Dear she,

Let's break this down by stages.

When I graduated from preschool, I wanted to drive a train.

When I graduated from elementary school, I wanted to be a pilot.

When I graduated from high school, I wanted to learn Arabic and bring peace to the Middle East.

When I got home from my mission, I wanted to work at an NGO and solve global poverty.

When I graduated from BYU, I wanted to work as a city planner.

Now, I'm working 60-hour weeks in a hospital cafeteria to save money for graduate school this fall. My plan is to stick with city planning, but my track record is clearly kind of horrible.

-yayfulness

A:

Dear She,

In high school and up through most of college, I had a strong desire to become a doctor. That desire, however, was mixed in equal parts with only the vaguest idea of what the requirements to be a doctor and what a doctor's life really looks like.

About once a month I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I didn't do medical school (it helps that I'm surrounded by med students and I know that lifestyle would've burned me to the ground). I figured out, near the end of college, that the things that were the most appealing about my vague notion of doctorhood were helping people manage disease and knowing enough about something to contribute usefully to a problem.

I'm about to graduate with a PhD in Immunology, but I have a fellowship lined up that will set me on my career trajectory in clinical microbiology. It will eventually lead to a position running a hospital microbiology lab, interpreting results, innovating new tests and techniques and helping with patient diagnosis. It's exactly the sort of thing high school me wanted, he just didn't know it at the time.

- Rating Pending (who admits that high school him might possibly have been wrong about one or two other things as well)

A:

Dear Fred,

I am not doing what I had planned on in high school, but I am doing exactly what I dreamed about from about fourth-8th grades (I teach elementary school).

-Az

A:

Dear Female,

Well, in high school, I was certain I would be curing people's problems via therapy. Now I pry into people's lives by reading their emails and internet stalking clients. 

#success

Sincerely,
The Soulful Ginger 

A:

Dear Doctor,

I wanted to be a linguistics professor. 

Somehow, I'm still doing that (while also doing something I never dreamed I'd be doing).

I like the way Katya put it to me: "I love that you actively decided not to become a linguistics professor and the job still went out and found you, anyway."

-Tally M.

A:

Dear Her??,

Let's see, high school? I believe I wanted to be some sort of translator. I definitely had never heard of natural language processing or functional programming, which is what I'm doing now. 

-Mico

A:

Dear She, 

Not even close. The companies I've worked for didn't exist at the time, and my job only barely did. 

-Petra

A:

Dear He for She,

I always told people I wanted to be a doctor when I finished school, but always kind of thought I would be a paramedic at least somewhere along the way. Since that's what I'm doing now, I'm kind of midway in that I am doing what I thought I'd be doing, but not what I said I'd be doing. I wish I'd just gone the way I was thinking because it took a while to get here.

Have fun storming the castle,

-Il Guanaco

A:

Dear She,

I am not at all doing what I expected to be doing as a high school senior. I did plan to get my B.S. in psychology, which I did, but I never expected to go onto graduate school, let alone a PhD. Even up until the summer before I applied to grad school, I insisted I would never want to do therapy. And now most of my week is spent doing therapy or peripheral activities. I love it, and I'm so glad I ended up going this direction!

-Divya

A:

Dear She,

When I graduated high school I had vague ideas about going to medical school and becoming a radiologist. Although I halfheartedly fulfilled many of the requirements for that path in college, I ultimately decided I really didn't want to go to medical school; it was my mom that wanted me to do that. Thankfully my brother ended up going, so I'm completely off the hook. Instead, I made my mom a grandma.

--Maven

A:

Dear She-

I'm pretty sure my goal back then was to study physics and work at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but I decided pretty early in my college career that physics and engineering weren't actually the things I wanted to do for a career. I've changed my mind many times since then, but right now I work in cybersecurity. It's pretty cool.

-Foreman

A:

Dear She-ra,

After high school, I declared my major as Computer Science during my first semester, thinking I would be a software developer. I got that degree, got a Masters degree in CS also, and then became a software developer. I'm still a software developer. I'm also not a very exciting or spontaneous person.

-=Optimus Prime=-

A:

Dear She

I had maybe some vague ideas of wanting to be in film/television production when I left high school, but no firm aspirations. I just kept going to grad school because I had no idea what to do out in the real world, and now I teach at a University and try to write academic things about pop culture...so I propagate the system I never figured out how to leave.

-Humble Master

P.S. I just remembered that in high school I hoped to become a muppeteer. I am not a muppeteer and my life is the less for it.

A:

Dear Jean,

I am! Pretty much, anyway. I guess I didn't have the best idea of what I'd be doing, just that it'd be some kind of engineering. And now I'm a software developer.

-El-ahrairah

A:

Dear Person,

When I graduated high school I wanted to be a biology professor. I picked biology as a major and stuck with it through a crisis that maybe I actually wanted to focus on Russian instead... I graduated BYU with a minor in Russian, plus my original biology major. 

I was a little burnt out with school, plus a little ashamed and discouraged that I had never really done "research" for a professor (plenty of TAing and help on projects though). I determined I would spend at least a year in the workforce before applying for graduate school to see if I would be happy doing 9 to 5. I also got married at the same time I graduated, meaning I had to stay in Utah for a year and a half to stay with my husband so he could finish up at BYU. 

So, currently? Not living my high school dream. I accepted employment in a non-biology field because there is nothing in biology in Utah, except for biology high school teacher (don't have a teaching certificate or patience for teenagers) and morally compromised scientist for an essential oils or dietary supplement company writing twaddle about how amazing and healthy their products are. I knew when I accepted my current job that I would never really love it, but that it was the best of all my current options. Indeed, I love it even less than I predicted at the outset, but it pays the rent. And my husband's tuition.

I never expected to get married young, so I never factored a partner into my plans. In some ways it's far more freeing, because I don't have to worry about making ends meet if I do go to grad school and then choose a meagerly-funded academic career, because my husband has always expected to be the primary wage earner anyway. In other ways, I have more constraints because we like living together, so we have to find employment/school/whatever in the same city. Also: kids! That's a whole complicated series of decisions right there. 

Ask me again in a few reunions! 

TL;DR: Still kinda sorta following the same dream, but a little sidetracked right now.

–Concealocanth

A:

Dear She

Now I just want to be a muppeteer. What am I doing with my life?????

-Humble Master

A:

Dear She,

My top career choices when I graduated high school were German translation, dentistry, and politics (what was I thinking?!). 

Instead I am an awesome doctor (also a narcissist) and I spend every day serving the poor and relieving pain and suffering. I like my job and I'm lucky I ended up here.

- Eirene