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How can one know what he/she is good at?

  1. Mar 27, 2015 #1
    I'm a high school senior but I haven't yet found out what I really passionate.
    I don't know what I'm good at, what skills I'm capable of acquiring, what kind of field and job I'll perfectly fit in.
    I'm not sure whether this is my fault or not.
    I don't want to do something unless I'm going to excel at it.
    I'm looking forward to benefiting from your experience and thanks in advance .

    I'm sorry for any English mistakes ( I've been overseas not speaking English oftenly for many years now).
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2015 #2
    Don't fret about whether or not you're good at something?
    It's better if you start by finding what you're mostly interested about, and then try to find a suitable career that you would find enjoyable.
  4. Mar 27, 2015 #3

    Quantum Defect

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    Try lots of different things. Don't give up on anything right away, but give yourself time to explore each thing thoroughly.
  5. Mar 28, 2015 #4
    I love Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, and Physics. I'm fairly good at them right now, and I have the potential to be a lot better. I love physics the most, but I'm not sure yet what I can excel at and what will be the best option for college.
  6. Mar 28, 2015 #5


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    Why not sign up for a general science degree? Programs that specialize in physics, mathematics, chemistry, or biology are going to be very similar in their first year anyway. That can help you to figure out where you fit in. Then you can transfer fro your second or third year.

    Unfortunately there is no litmus test that can tell you where you will excel and where you won't. You just have to try things.

    Something else that can help is reading a lot. Read biographies of a people you're interested in. Read popular science reviews. Read career profiles.
  7. Mar 28, 2015 #6
    I feel its better to be really interested in something then necessarily having a natural talent at it. You can get better at something if you really enjoy it. Hard work pays off, and its easier to work hard if you really enjoy what your doing.
  8. Mar 28, 2015 #7

    Doug Huffman

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    Don't be afraid of failure and try a wide variety of challenges.
  9. Mar 28, 2015 #8


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    You will most likely narrow it down quite naturally as you take more classes. As you take higher and higher level courses in those subjects you will get a better idea of what kind of time, effort, and skills are expected for those particular subjects and it will start to become clear enough that you can realize "This just doesn't suit me" or "I'm pretty good at it, but it's not interesting" or "It's interesting but I'm not very good at it. Am I interested enough to fight the uphill battle?" and hopefully at some point "This is interesting and I'm quite good at it."

    I started out with a similarly broad set of interests (math, physics, computer science, biology, engineering). For instance,

    Starting college:
    Math is interesting and I'm pretty good at it
    I'm good at Biology but not very interested
    I am good at programming if I'm dedicated enough, but I'm just not interested enough to take a lot of programming courses. Theoretical computer science is interesting but it is practically mathematics anyway.
    I'm not good at physics, but it is very interesting.
    I'm similarly not good at engineering and it is not very interesting

    3rd year of college:
    First semester:
    Time to pick a major. Either math or physics. Take a chance and go with physics.
    >Bad idea, not that interested after all (after taking three higher level physics courses)
    Second semester (now):
    So switch to math
    >Much better
    Applied or pure? Continuous or discrete?
    >Liked intro to DE's a couple years back.Taking PDE's now, hate it.
    >Taking advanced calculus, like some but not all. Hard for me to visualize things.
    >Proofs, not bad, I get some enjoyment out of writing proofs.
    >Liked discrete math and did well, looking forward to graph theory/combinatorics next year.
    >always thought better algebraically then geometrically or analytically.
    So probably not applied math, probably not differential geometry.
    Logic? Not enough experience.
    Possibly some discrete math area and/or algebra. But don't forget continuous completely.

    That's just the process I've been going over as I become exposed to more advanced topics.
  10. Mar 28, 2015 #9
    Thanks a lot for your replies, members !
    Esuna, I think that's the best way to know what one really loves. One can't decide till he goes a little uphill and takes some advanced courses to know what he's very good at and what's he is interested in.
    Unfortunately, the system in my country is unlike the system in the USA.
    Here, I have to choose my major during the first year and there's no transfer. By the way, science and engineering departments in my country are ridiculously horrible and a waste of time.
    However, medical school is fairly good in my country ( medical school is entered right after highschool).
    I have always been interested in biology and chemistry, but I'm not sure whether it will be the best choice, since being good at biology and chemistry doesn't necessarily mean being good at medicine, plus medicine is a lot harder.
    I think medical school is my only option now, I'll just do it anyway.
    My plan is during medical school I'll heavily self study everything I have interest in, and I'll even study advanced topics to know what really fits me. I may then discover that I really do fit in medicine, if not, I will enter college again in the USA after finishing medical school ( I'm a green card holder) and I'll major in what I really want.
    My plan seems messy, but I don't really have a choice.
    My parents won't allow me to study in the USA till I finish college here first !
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
  11. Mar 28, 2015 #10


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    The fair way to learn this is study your general education courses and electives according to what you would like to pick, and try a variety within the choices available. You should do this mostly at the local community college. After reading further posts on this topic, and finding that the "community college" course choices are not readily available, .... I still say that you need to general ed. courses from something like a community college, not a very satisfying bit of guidance but not really any better way.

    You need to be able to try many different things. Psychology, journalism, computer programming, mathematics, engineering, biological sciences, vocational-oriented courses, language & culture, whatever else you find interesting.

    Going to medical school right out of high school makes no sense. One does not know enough yet just out of high school. You really need to get at least an undergraduate degree in something first, otherwise you have no personal development justifying going into medical school.
  12. Mar 28, 2015 #11
    I'm completely aware that going to medical school after high school makes no sense,
    but I don't have a variety of choices.
    The system in my country is there's no such thing as undergraduate before Medical, dental, and pharmacy school.
    There's no such thing as community college, and I can't get into a college and enroll in any course I want, I have to choose a major once I get in college.
    Sadly, I'm lost.
  13. Mar 29, 2015 #12
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