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How did you know what career path to choose?

I am a sophomore in highschool and have no idea what I want to do in life. All my friends know but I just am not really interested in much. I don't play sports but I do like to paint and I like engineering.

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Carmen’s Answer

Don't stress if you haven't mapped out your entire life by your sophomore year - it's perfectly okay! Remember, if you have a passion for painting, even if you don't envision a career as a painter, there's a whole spectrum of opportunities awaiting you. You could explore roles that involve working with colors and textures, or perhaps become an art buyer or consultant. Similarly, if engineering intrigues you, consider roles like project management or project development. There's a vast universe of careers that can be tailored to your interests. So, keep exploring and stay positive!
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Maya
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Atul’s Answer

You've already pinpointed your passion for Engineering, which is a great start. The next step is to narrow down your interests. Do you see yourself in Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, Chemical, Industrial, or Computer Engineering/Science?

To excel in your chosen field, it's crucial to take the necessary courses related to Engineering. Boost your academic standing by enrolling in AP courses and aim for high scores.

A key to success is identifying what you truly enjoy studying. Keep in mind, nearly all Engineering majors can lead to a starting salary in the six-figure range.

If scholarships don't come your way, consider attending a state university. If your SAT, GPA, and AP subject scores are high, you'll likely have minimal student loan debt.

Remember, the first two years of your curriculum are usually general, providing you ample time to pinpoint your specific area of study within Engineering.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Maya
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Stephanie LH’s Answer

If you are a sophomore in highschool for the 2023-2024 academic year then I recommend using a tool to do an analysis on if AP or dual enrollment classes are the best options for you for your Junior and Senior years of high school. Both could get you credit based on your performance (one is based on the end of the year test and the other your grades throughout the year). Either option could get your general courses out of the way and have you graduate high school with enough credits to be a Junior year starting college for your bachelors (or you could do as some of my students and graduate with your associates and highschool degree at the same time). Next, to decide on the type of engineering I recommend A) talking to your school counselor or CDF for self discovery assessments on your interest, personality, and values to see which engineering field best fits. Then B) talk to your WBL coordinator (sometimes the CDF or school counselor) to find informational interviews, job shadowing, structured field studies, internships and apprenticeships in your area or that provide housing (like Boeing) so you can see engineering I'm different industries and sizes of business to find the correct fit for you. Finally C) remember the best career paths into engineering are not solely academic. The best engineers have hands-on entry level experience in their field to have first-hand experience doing/building/making what they support later as an engineer (think undercover boss or the E.D.G.E. program).

Stephanie LH recommends the following next steps:

Research AP and dual enrollment classes and choose best options for you
Go to school counselor to update your I.G.P with your choice
Ask counselor for self discovery assessments and results meeting
Schedule meeting with WBL coordinator for options to be a completer
Work with your WBL coordinator for different types of engineering roles at different sizes of operations (independent contractor, small business, medium business, large business, Army Core of engineering, etc.)
Thank you comment icon I'm excited to put your great advice to good use! Maya
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Doug’s Answer

I believe that careers are akin to adventurous voyages, filled with unexpected detours and surprises. It's perfectly okay to align your studies towards a specific career path that currently interests you, but always remember to keep an open mind for changes that might occur due to experiences you have along the way. I also believe that this is a time when young people can showcase their creativity in carving out their career paths.

Let's consider an example. You have a passion for both painting and engineering. Have you ever thought about how you could merge these interests? Could there be an artistic aspect to engineering that you could delve into? Once you begin to explore the diverse facets of engineering, you might find yourself drawn to architectural engineering or another creative specialty within the field. It's also worth considering how advancements in artificial intelligence are reshaping various sectors of engineering and how you could tailor your studies to these evolving trends or at least incorporate flexibility into your skill set.

On the other hand, painting can be more than just a lifelong hobby providing a creative outlet. It can also be a rewarding career. Muralists, for instance, adorn commercial buildings' interiors with a variety of artistic designs. Painters also contribute their skills to the film animation industry. Some painters even specialize in crafting artwork for children's books. My wife, for example, has used her watercolor painting abilities to illustrate her children's books, design greeting cards, and produce custom artwork for friends.

To thrive in career journeys these days, it's crucial to be flexible, adaptable, innovative, and ready to commit to lifelong learning. Stay curious and savor the thrilling ride of your career journey!

Doug recommends the following next steps:

Work experience and internships can be the best learning experience you can have. Sometimes our image of what a particular job is like isn't at all what the reality is like.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking the time to help. Maya
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Grace’s Answer

It's great to see you contemplating your future, but remember, many people end up choosing a different path from what they initially envisioned in high school. My top tip for you is to chase your passions. Currently, you're passionate about painting and engineering, so keep exploring these fields. However, always stay receptive to the unexpected changes that life will undoubtedly bring. I'm extremely content with my current job, something I could never have predicted when I was a high school sophomore.
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Nicole’s Answer

First don't stress - take a deep breath and let it out and remember your a sophomore in high school. If you don't have your WHOLE life figured out your MORE than okay. What you can do is write down what you like to do - you already mentioned painting and engineering. But what gets you excited? What is it that your passionate about? If you are still trying to figure that out - that's okay. Maybe explore painting a little more and see if you can meet with an Engineer and ask them about their profession. Here's the good news - your asking all the right questions. Life is about figuring things out - the answers will come to you. Don't worry about what your friends are doing - just focus on you and continue to do what's best for you.

Wishing you all the best and enjoy your sophomore year!
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