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High school

  1. Sep 22, 2009 #1


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    Ok. Lets start from the beginning I guess...

    I am 14 years old, turning 15 next month. I'm a freshman in high school. I love math and science. Ever since 5th grade I have been 2 grades ahead in math. I'm taking Alg. 2 right now. I do consider myself very smart. I love physics and astronomy and just thinking about things. Here is my problem. When I was in middle school (6th - 8th) I didn't do to well. I was lazy. At this point I should tell you that I never liked English. Never have and never will. Its not straight forward like math. Being creative just isn't my thing. But even that isn't the big problem here....

    Let me emphasize that I was very lazy in middle school as I have said before. I guess I was just bored. It was easy... But hard, if that makes any sense :frown:. People knew I was smart. It showed. My ISAT scores were incredible.... Now I'm a freshman....

    Alright. I'm just going to say it now. I want to work for NASA. Yup. See the thing is though, well I'm kinda scared. My parents support me and they love me a lot. They would always tell me that if I didn't get high school right, well I was doomed to say the least. The true reason I was lazy in middle school was, well, there was just no motivation. But now I'm in high school and I'm not used to actually trying. I'm scared. I feel like if I'm not valedictorian (yes I am looking that far into the future) I wont get into a really good collage.

    What is NASA looking for anyway? Princeton? Stanford? Crazy insane GPA in high school?

    I have only got one shot at this. Any advice guys? I would strongly appreciate it if someone would give some inspiring and motivating words.


    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2009 #2
    NASA is looking for motivated, talented engineers/physicists/astronomers, just like any other organization. Simple as that.

    Why would you think that only high school valedictorians work at NASA?
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2009
  4. Sep 22, 2009 #3


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    Not being top of your class may not get you into Princeton or Stanford but the big secret is, no one cares. In fact, your high school is going to be the very bottom of what will be important in you getting a job at NASA. The caveat is if you dont try and don't do well in high school, you'll probably do poorly in college. At some point, you need to wake up and realize the only way to get where you want to be is to ... well, want it. Do good in high school, do good in college, put your best effort forth. Simple as that. Seriously. The best organizations, even if you head in a different direction, don't want people that are scared to try and worried about failing because fact of the matter is, you will fail at some point in life and it's only people who stand back up and keep going that get where they want to be.

    For the most part.
  5. Sep 22, 2009 #4


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    You definitely don't need to be a valedictorian to get into a good college. I got about 8 or 9 Bs in my high school career (out of 12 classes a year, so about a 3.8 gpa) and ended up at caltech. You have to be self-motivated and work really hard to stand out. Don't settle for just learning from the classes in school. Read on your own. I'd take math analysis over the summer if you can this year since it's just algebra II again with some trig. The sooner you do that and take calculus the sooner you can get into more interesting topics.

    I'd also like to point out that you're not the smartest out there. Everyone has to work hard at least some of the time.
  6. Sep 22, 2009 #5


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    I can give you some advice based on my own experiences. I have worked in both blue and white collar jobs each with their own challenges, culture, and workplace experiences.

    My parents have owned businesses also and I have been a part of that side working for my family.

    When people want to hire someone most don't care if you have an IQ of 160, or have a piece of paper saying you can do uni study. Well ok to be honest they will see your uni transcript as evidence that you can learn.

    What most people want from an employee is that they can work, have initiative to get what they need done, an egoless attitude, responsibility and accountability for what they do, to have good communication skills, and to think of others namely doing their job with the focus of helping the community and the company rather than their own interests.

    This is why you have these selective schools look at things like extracurricular activities. Things that develop leadership capabilities can be good training for management roles.

    If you can put yourself in the deep end you will generally be more valuable even if you fail. Its called experience and we all need it to progress to bigger and better things.

    My advice is to throw yourself in the deep end and get exposure to things that test and strain you. If you fail you can only go better from that point and I guarantee challenging yourself and putting in a good solid effort will set you up for bigger and better things.

    Most of us aren't going to be Mozart or Einstein or Newton or whatever. But so what. We all have talent and we are all capable of great things if one has discipline and effort.

    It might take a few positions before you finally arrive at NASA to get there. I think the current admin of NASA has about 4-6 degrees in a variety of fields.

    Also I recommend getting a mentor of some sort while you are studying or working initially. You could build a good rep with them and also in the future become someone that can give back to other people when the opportunity presents itself.

    Another piece of advice is to surround yourself with people that are better than you. Better in math, better in communicating, better in negotiating, better in leadership, better in many things. It is a good way to become the best at what you do.

    Also don't be afraid to ask questions and learn to be humble. An education doesn't entitle you to anything special and remember that some of the smartest people in the world out there don't have degrees yet have proven to be pioneers and leaders in our world accomplishing many things. The piece of paper shows that we are able to learn but its only a starting point.

    I wish you the best of luck for your future.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2011
  7. Sep 22, 2009 #6
    get off your hand bones and start working! that's all the advice you need!
  8. Sep 22, 2009 #7
    Well, I wouldn't say doomed... there are definitely people who have straightened themselves out after high school and started to do well in community college long after high school graduation. But it is *much* easier if you travel the usual path, and that requires you to do well in high school.

    Do you have to be valedictorian? Absolutely not! But you have to put in a lot of effort in *all* your classes, including the ones you don't particularly like. Extracurriculars are also incredibly important, especially for the very top schools. (The very top schools could very easily fill themselves up with straight A students with perfect (or near perfect) SATs... but they don't. They want to find ambitious, talented students... and if they've got a few less than perfect grades here or there, no problem.)

    Just remember, there are a lot of *very* good schools in the US. You don't need to get into one of the very top schools to have a very good career in any field.
  9. Sep 22, 2009 #8


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    Fuz, you're in a prime position to distinguish yourself in the future and achieve your goals. Nothing you do in middle school matters at all, and colleges will be looking more at your junior and senior years than at your freshman year.

    Start working hard now, and the world will be your oyster. Take the hardest classes available at your school, work your butt off in them, and show the admissions committees that you mean business. You'll have no problem getting into a good school (there are thousands of good schools, don't focus so much on getting into the top five), and NASA will be writing your paycheck one day.

    Good luck, and feel free to make use of PF as often as you need to get ahead in your coursework!

    - Warren
  10. Sep 22, 2009 #9


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    Thanks a bunch for all the advise :D

    See ya guys on the sunny side :)

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