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How am I going to use my degree to help and change this world?

I am a graduate of the class of 2022, but I completed my high school requirements in 9th grade. I started dual enrollment in summer of transfering to 10th grade and I plan on graduating high school in December 2020.

When I was doing dual enrollment classes, I always wondered about the classes I was taking. They were required for my classes, but I wondered how will I apply the concepts I learned In the real world? How will I use all the math and sciences for computer science?

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Alison’s Answer

Hi Dhruv,
It sounds like you’ve got a bright future ahead of you. I’m afraid I can’t answer your question from the perspective of a mathematician or computer scientist, but I can answer it as a teacher and a former student now working. Education is built to give us a broad base of knowledge. In some cases, it is broader than we need it to be; you might find that there is some formula or concept, that you agonized over memorizing, that you never really need again. In some cases, it is narrower than what we need; you may find that you have more to learn once you start your career. There are so many people, so many jobs, and so many different circumstances that I don’t believe it is possible to perfectly educate everyone with exactly 100% of the knowledge they need and no more. However, what your education does is give you a fantastic foundation and framework on which to build.
You won’t know exactly what you’re building until you’ve built it - we can’t predict the future - but you will find that as you’re building, you will be able to reach into the toolkit of your school knowledge and use what is there. Sometimes a random technique or fact that you thought you’d never need, really comes in handy. For example, in the course of getting my degree in education, I had to take a class on students with non-standard needs. The professor made sure, amongst many other things, that we knew what to do if a student had a seizure. I don’t work in special education now, and I certainly am not cut out to go into the medical field, but about 4 years ago, a teacher at the international language school I was working at had a seizure during his class. When a very worried colleague came into my office to let me know what was happening, that training from college kicked in, and I knew exactly what to do. While it may not be an emergency situation like that, chances are that you will find yourself drawing on much of your school knowledge as you move throughout your career.
And, if you ever do invent a time machine that allows you to see exactly what the future holds, make sure to share it with the rest of us!
Best wishes :)

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Soné’s Answer

Hi Dhruv. I can imagine it is difficult to consider your role in the world in the future from where you are currently. But I want to remind you that all roles or jobs can be life changing to someone. We might not all become the engineer that designs the rocket ship that goes to Mars, or the surgeon that develops a new life saving transplant, or the environmental lawyer that fights the good cause. However, whatever you become, you WILL make a difference.

I can understand that you are trying to reconcile your subject choices with your day to day work in the future, and the truth is that you won't use everything you have learnt. But in your future studies, you will use the same learning techniques that you have mastered, and you will have a good foundation that can be used to layer new learning on top off.

I am an accountant and I am not saving lives on a daily basis, but every business needs an accountant and won't survive without one. So that is what I remember every day, that I am needed in my job as well. Whatever your role will be, you will be valuable to your company, your family and your community.

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Kiirsten’s Answer

Hello Dhruv!

Your question is so outward and thoughtful. Congratulations on being focused and pushing yourself through school! With you being so advanced, and also being a teenager, it's natural to feel a sense of "what do I do and how do I leave a lasting impact?". For me, certain classes that I took in high school and college didn't necessarily train me for the career I am in now, but I definitely have related some concepts that I have learned to my current role. In regards to changing this world-- even something so simple as a smile toward someone does wonders, you don't know how much that one person may need that friendly face. If you want to help your community, I'm sure there are many volunteer opportunities-- food banks, animal sanctuaries, etc.

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Deborah’s Answer

I am so glad to hear that you want to change the world! I'm a psychologist and although I would love to change the world, when I think about all the lives I've impacted during my career thus far, I may not have changed the world, but I am sure I have changed lives.

The roles (employment, volunteer, advocacy) you choose will give you opportunities to make an impact, and keep in mind that it might be through being an important piece of a larger organization. Although the doorman for a philanthropic organization might not be singlehandedly changing the world, s/he helps support a company that might. And positive change doesn't usually happen overnight. Everything we learn along the way will make us better able to be the change we want to see.

Stay open to opportunities. We can't chart our life course when we graduate high school, or even college, but if we are open to opportunities, we will find our path.

Wishing you a wonderful, fulfilling and happy life.