Whatever level of education you are in, let me, as an aspiring educator, just say this:
Don’t ever dismiss something in your education as unimportant, you should strive in each classroom, lecture hall or after school activity to learn something… I am not saying you have to love everything. Maybe math isn’t your strong suit, or maybe you hate your overzealous TA who is waaaay to peppy for a 7 am to 12 pm lecture. Maybe you don’t ever want to do anything with chemistry, but it is a required class for you to graduate. What I am saying is an education provides you with experiences, and the value of those experiences is largely driven by what you decide to do with each experience. Don’t be closed minded to a topic just because you don’t think it will be useful, it is amazing how much you can get out of a few general education courses in terms of fulfilling your own life experience.
Alright, survived my first week of high school (yay!)
My geometry teacher assigns too much homework imo, and we’re still on “beginner” stuff. My Chinese teacher wants us to print 11 pages of stuff (not that bad). I’m going to try to study this weekend and see how I do.
While some of this post is good advice, the above quoted text is flat out terrible. In general, be very wary of sweeping advice telling you what to do with your life, especially from someone who doesn’t know you, and especially if they’re telling you to give up on your dreams.
We need more people in STEM, not less. You want to be a wizard? Someone with a deep understanding of the fundamental properties of reality and their applications who can use that knowledge to predict or create effects that would confound the unlearned? We call them scientists and engineers. And becoming one is very achievable. Nobody is born “smart,” but anyone with a lot of questions and the will to learn answers to them can become so.
College also does not have to be expensive. If you’re studious, they’ll pay you to go because it looks good for the school (incidentally, if you’re studious in high school, college is a breeze). Don’t expect to understand everything immediately, and don’t be afraid to ask questions until you do understand. If you understand the fundamentals, you’ll do well on standardized tests. Most standardized tests are multiple choice with only a single correct choice. If you know the basics, that choice is usually obvious (for example, standardized math exams: some quick order of magnitude head-math can usually eliminate at least half the choices in seconds; chemistry: if you see a measurement outside of the angstrom range, be very suspicious; etc.). If you do well on standardized tests, schools will want you.
And if you work in any STEM or academic field, your college transcripts will be used to determine your suitability and starting salary at every job you take for the rest of your life.
Case in point: I did well on the PSAT, so I was a National Merit Finalist. My engineering Bachelor’s degree was free. The university didn’t want to lose me to another school, so they waived my tuition for the engineering Master’s degree after that (so that’s two degrees, both free). Then I went into industry (engineering). None of this should be interpreted as a brag of any sort, merely pointing out what you can do with some effort. I wouldn’t even consider myself particularly “smart,” but I am very determined, and that’s enough.
Obviously you can say I’m in the “30%” you referenced, or whatever, but consider which side of the 80/20 rule you want to be on.
Kids, don’t let anyone tell you you’re not smart enough. If you want to be a wizard, go be a wizard.
I live in 'Murica. I graduated from Engineering with $30k in Student Loans. I was top 5% of my high school class and I forget what % at University. In comparison to other college students, I was “rich”. In that I had more spending money than most other people. I also graduated with less student loans than your average college student. And Yes, public university.
Experience trumps grades. you can have a 4.0 in Aeronautical Engineering, but if you have zero experience, that guy with a 3.0 and an internship with whoever engineering is going to probably win the job. And that’s for starting positions. Afterwards, all I’ve seen thus far is “x years experience” and/or “this certification”.
You can have all the STEM people you want, but what good does a technology have if you no one to apply it?
There is a shortage on tradesmen. Why? Because a 4-year degree has become the norm and people don’t consider trade school as legit really anymore.
The number of full rides I saw handed out to my high school graduating class is 1. Literally one. and he wasn’t the Valedictorian (or Salutatorian)
You may have said it best:
My standpoint is to follow what interests you even if people say it’s a stupid idea.
Hm. I followed my teacher’s advice and my parents and ended up, not hating what I trained in, but the stress - along with personal family problems - it was all too much.
I’d always want to do more artistic stuff, like drawing or even Technical Drawing and I let people tell me that I wasn’t as good at it as X and Y person, and do stuff I had a knack for - programming in this case.
I’m not the best one to go to for advice, but if something interests you and there’s a passion to get better at it - give it a fair shot. At least try it, before you let others pressure you into giving it up. Whether you stick with it as a hobby or profession is a toss up, but at least there won’t be that “what if” question in your mind. Mein 2¢.
I’m in the States as well, FWIW. Though I guess looking into the national merit statistics, I must have scored in the top 0.2% or so nationwide to land that particular scholarship, but there are others that are much more available. I stand by my point though: I’m not particularly smart, I’m just very studious and I recognize how to take tests properly. I’m also super, super weird.
My point about grades isn’t that they’re the only thing that matters, but that in STEM and academia, they never stop mattering. Sure, companies want experience and good grades. But if they have two candidates with similar levels of experience, the one with the higher grades will be more desirable and will have a higher starting salary with the company, generally speaking. Every large company has their own formula, but degree, experience, and transcript are all usually factors in it (with some discretionary wiggle room). There are also diminishing returns to good grades, as with most things. A GPA of 3 is way better than a GPA of 2. A GPA of 4 is slightly better than a GPA of 3.
I’m also not trying to say everyone needs to be a wizard. Just we need more, and that the blanket statement of “don’t even try” was bad advice. And also to be clear to the general reader, STEM and college attendance in general are not the same thing; most college graduates are not in STEM fields (about 1/3 are).
I agree with you that the student’s interests are paramount. On that note: for high school students, if your college of choice has a “college 101” day or somesuch where you can go listen to presentations from various departments, take advantage of it!
Nothing against you personally, but that was some bad advice. I liked the rest of your post, though. Your opinions at the time of posting aren’t “you” however, nor is having a “right” opinion an important part of being a good person. I believe your intentions were good and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I also need to be riled up on occasion to remind myself that I’m still human, so there’s that for an accomplishment.
Oh, I got that (it was tempting to make the racist joke thou), is just that, from where I am, if a school is gonna teach you a language, it’s gonna be English and nothing else.
If you want to learn some other language, you’ll have to go to some other specialized institute for that, unless you are in Uni, where a few do have separate courses you can choose to have on top of English
Drawing is a skill, not a talent, no one is born good at it, you have to pick it up, that’s why you have to practice and keep on going as much as possible, otherwise you’ll lose it, what you decide to do with such a skill, that’s what’s up to you.
That being said, I’m in a similar position to you, I’m working as a programmer right now, but I love drawing more than that.