When I Grow Up...

When I Grow Up...

nASA Astronaut

You hear kids say it all the time: “When I grow up, I’m gonna be a [INSERT CAREER]”. 

When I was little, I wanted to be an astronaut. It didn’t matter that I’m afraid of flying, heights, and closed-in spaces. I just liked the idea of hurtling through outer space in a rocket ship. 

Plus, I thought the spacesuits looked cool.

By the time I was in high school, I had pretty much given up on the astronaut plan, but I didn’t have any other ideas, either. So, upon graduation, I decided to major in computers and become a computer programmer. I had no basis for this, other than that I liked computers (or so I thought) and that there seemed to be a lot of jobs for computer programmers. 

The thing I never considered was that, as a computer programmer, a big part of your job is sitting behind a desk for long hours, day after day, with little change of scenery. If I had known this, I probably never would have chosen that major in the first place. As a result I ended up wasting time and money studying something that wasn’t a good fit for me.

That’s why it’s NEVER too early to start researching the careers you’re interested in. Don’t just talk to your counselor or research it on the Internet. Actually find someone who’s already working in that particular career and ask them to describe their typical day. What do they like about their job? What don't they like about it? If possible, ask if you can job-shadow them for a day or two and see what the work is like and if it’s really something you’d like to do.

That way, when you get to college, you won’t waste time and money studying something that’s not a good fit for you.

So...what do you want to be when you grow up?

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