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Do you know any highschool/grade school nuisance turned out to be scientists?

  1. Mar 20, 2012 #1
    I do not know any. The people I know of are almost unanimously straight A students with chin dropping stellar records.

    But I know my circle is rather limited...
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2012 #2
    I wasn't a nuisance in physics, but my physics teacher always referred to me as a "dud" because I never did my homework and I would just get by with Bs and Cs on his tests/quizes/projects. About a third of our class were called duds and it didn't feel good when he would point his finger like a gun at me and say "zap, another dud" in front of the class. Now I have more degrees than he does and work at his dream employer haha . . but I still respect the guy because he was right that I was being a dud and he loved physics.

    I was definitely a nuisance in calculus in high school since I didn't like the teacher and had friends in the room, and I barely passed even though I later took some AP tests and got out of the first two calculus courses in college. I also was a nuisance in chemistry because I didn't respect the teacher. I really regret that tho, I should have tried harder in both of those classes.

    I definitely had to straighten my work ethic when I got into my 2nd year of college tho.

    Only one high school nuisance I know of ended up getting a degree in EE, but he was always smart besides his attitude and getting a DUI when he was 17. A few others tried, but I don't think they made it through. The real nuisances didn't even go to college I think.

    The sad thing is that I have seen a lot of bright stars, straight A high school kids, fail out of college in their first year because of personal problems that came along with leaving home more than I have seen nuisances succeed.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  4. Mar 20, 2012 #3
    I was a bit of a dumb *** in the past, never a bully in my mind, but, as I've grown older, I've come to realize that no one really thinks he or she fits into an archetypal group like that. I had motivational issues and didn't know how to deal with developmental disability at that point in my life. I'm a little older for an undergraduate student, now, I have yet to get a B and I've been challenging myself to the fullest. I had a major depressive episode in 2008 and a neurological experience that probably wouldn't make sense to most people (perhaps a kind of hallucinogenic seizure). Since then, I've had a strong inclination for math.
  5. Mar 20, 2012 #4


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    What do you mean by "nuisance"?
  6. Mar 20, 2012 #5
    My friend did not turn to be scientist but he is quite passionate about what he does and also landed a good job after college. In HS, He got into all kinds of troubles and fights.
  7. Mar 20, 2012 #6
    I was good friends with a drug dealer in high school, who is now a physics post-doc at an ivy league.
  8. Mar 20, 2012 #7


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    I dropped out in middle school, came back in ~10th grade. But they'd only let me into vocational training at that point.

    I don't know if I was a "nuisance" but I sure wasn't a saint.

    Eventually got my BS in physics.

    What a long, strange trip it's been....
  9. Mar 20, 2012 #8
    I was thinking about lisab and Ivan too.

    I think there are quite a few people on PF who had strange trip.
  10. Mar 21, 2012 #9


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    Wow, what a great success story!!!
  11. Mar 21, 2012 #10
    I failed 10th grade twice before dropping out of HS, got arrested on two occasions. I'm finishing my junior year of a B.S. in physics with a 3.9 GPA at a fairly high ranked school.

    Being the nerdy squeaky clean kid doesn't make you better than other people, in fact I think it's the people with rougher pasts who end up having the best attitudes because those kinds of experiences give you perspective, which the kids who always did what they were told don't have.
  12. Mar 21, 2012 #11


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    Congrats to you too! Always nice to hear about people that have turned thir life around, it's not easy.
  13. Mar 21, 2012 #12
    Me either.

    That's been my experience also.

    Mine too. The people that I knew in high school who went on to become working scientists were almost unanimously people who more or less kept to themselves. Maybe had a small circle of nerdy friends. Some were in the band. I can only think of one who played sports. He went on to become a proficient mathematician.

    But I don't recall any people who eventually got post graduate degrees who I would consider nuisances. Almost to a person they were quiet, nerdy, and engaged in doing and learning stuff that most of the rest of us didn't understand.
  14. Mar 21, 2012 #13
    I dropped out of highschool when I was 16, then picked up some books a year later when I went to do some manual labour work in greece. I had a selection of books, I read them and when I got back I started studying for most of my days for the next few years, I then decided that I should probably aquire some form of degree so I sat my highschool level exams externally then applied for university. Currently studying material I studied two years ago in physics!

    It's been a bizarre journey.

    I'm not sure what other people thought of me in classes though, I hated being at highschool and I had incredibly poor attentance yet I was in all the top classes, I even won joint best in the school and gold in some national highschool maths contest :biggrin:
    A lot of people in my classes didn't like me though, I really don't know why since I had never spoken to most of them, I guess I was a nuisance to them?

    It's hard to get back into the academic cycle once you leave it so good on ya buddy!
    I was also arrested once but nothing really came of it.. I managed to get it resolved with the other person involved, I was definitely a nuisance to him then :(
  15. Mar 21, 2012 #14
    Wow! That's some story, care to tell a lil bit more?
  16. Apr 1, 2012 #15

    My friends and I in high school were pretty much like the movie Project X. It was always party party party. Drug use and drinking seemed to be the all we were known for. Flash forward 10 years

    I have my Master's in aerospace engineering, working with propulsion systems at Boeing.

    One friend working on his PhD in entomology and another in dental school.

    We all get together in our home town (to visit family, reconnect, etc) and we always run into people we went to high school with, and undoubtedly we get questions like, "Hey did you guys go from party people to respected people" or "Why aren't guys dead?!"

    It guess it all came down to my friends and I were nerds in hiding and also knew that in order to play hard you had to work just as hard.
  17. Apr 1, 2012 #16
    Not at all
  18. Apr 1, 2012 #17
    Nope, sorry. But it's a true story.

    Most of my friends from back home are alcoholics, work as waiters and have a ton of kids, are into drugs, or generally doing things that make it easier to forget them.
  19. Apr 2, 2012 #18


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    Sounds like my hometown too, QC.
  20. Apr 4, 2012 #19
    I've gone through a few careers... I used to teach high school physics/chem.... but eventually got my Ph.D. in physics and now teach undergrad students.

    Well, when I was in my final year of grad school (in physics), on the selection committee for graduate admissions, and after I went through my individual evaluation process of one applicant's materials, I suddenly felt something seemed familiar about the applicant. Then I looked at his undergrad transcript, and got clued in. I'd taught this guy in high school. He wasn't a total mess-up or in trouble with the law or anything... just a general nuisance with really severe ADHD issues. I remember telling him (as a 17 or 18 y.o. "senior" student) to stop crawling on the floor during one class.

    I tore up my evaluation and recused myself (just giving it to another member of the committee with the statement: "Someone else needs to do this one. I need to recuse myself because I taught this student when I taught high school." I do remember that he didn't get in to our program (that could have been awkward had he been accepted and come...)... but I assume he has some career in science (he at least got his PS in physics, and probably did a Ph.D. somewhere). But I can't even remember his name to check now...

    Maybe he's even one of the respondents to this thread? I'd best watch it.
  21. Apr 5, 2012 #20
    I know several. But going all the way back to grade school we knew they were brilliant and would become scientists. They understood the subject matter better than the teachers. One taught himself calculus and differential equations at age 12, while being forced to sit through a pre-algerbra class. That year he made a point of getting a perfect zero on every test he took that year. He said that you have to be very brilliant to not get one right by accident on so may multiple choice tests. He got a 4 year degree in math by passing all the finals without taking any classes. He had two masters degrees at age 22, and went on from there.
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