# I'm 17, please help me find a career in life.

Hi. My name is Kevin. Nice to meet you. I'm sorry, I just can't find a place to post this. I thought maybe posting it in the feedback section (I don't want to be off topic), but changed my mind. It's kind of off-topic.

Let me say that my grandpa was a physicst, and is now retired. He invests in the stock market, and it has made him a millionaire in the past. He is very senstive with money, and very strange about money (to my parents). He likes to conserve it.

He told me to save 10% of everything I make. Starting at age 17, I could have a million dollars when I retire.

I am a senior right now, however not currently in school because I graduated from a charter school early (from 11th grade). A charter school is a non traditional school that uses computers to learn, and is less longer than a traditional school. I'm afraid of going to a charter school because I'm afraid my diploma will not count. The school says otherwise, of course.

Here are some jobs that I'd like to persue:
1) Being a pilot. Possibly having corrective eye surgery (My vision isn't 20/20, but its not bad enough for glasses) so I can fly in the airforce or navy in a jet.
2) Being a pilot in a commerial airplane
3) Being a surgeon
4) Being a plastic surgeon
5) Being a physicst (Sorry, can't spell it)
6) Working in an, uhm, coin store.
7) Being a video game designer

Please help me with my decision. I'm good at math but I don't ENJOY it. I can't understand how anyone can.I realise its fun and interesting to learn its connetions with real life material, but I don't find it fun. I feel like going to be a physisst just for bragging rights of being smart rather than going in for the joy of math. I can't do calculus yet. Calculus is very abstract and difficult, and I know I'm going to have to eventually get a grasp on it.

I don't know what to do. I guess ultimately its up to me, however I'm suicidal and have depression. I'm sure the military won't accept a suicidal man. I've been hospitalised 2 times. Sometimes I want to go through boot camp to go to iraq but then I realise that they check your records before you get deployed, so it would be a nightmare to have to go through all the bootcamp and in the end never get to go to iraq.

Please don't say to call 911, get help, etc. I've done that. I have conseling, I take medicine. Nothing helps.

However before I die, I want to have a degree. And that's what I'm trying to figure out. What I want a degree in.

:sigh:

Thank you for the help

## Answers and Replies

One more thing. I want to know if there is such thing as getting a degree in video games. Because Digipen, a college for video game studying in washinton DC, costs $53,000 to get a degree. And I hope its a real one. Pengwuino Gold Member Oddly enough! Many ex-fighter/general military pilots become commercial pilots (and get a loooot of money) later in their lives. Being a surgeon (and i think its eventually the same as being able to do plastic surgery) is a loooooooooooot of work and you better be able to handle someone dieing right infront of you and be able to get back on the job the next day. Otherwise, nice pay. I remember you posting (im starten to think this is somewhat of a repeat post) about being in a coin shop and i dunno... no clue how all that works. Being a physicist... well since theres a lot of physicists on this board you can probably find out what the real world is like in their field. Getting into video game programming is... wooo.. from what i hear, bad pay and not a whole lot of room for promotion. I think its cuz i hear you work in really large groups and in the end, all that matters is the game and since theres no I in team, you dont really stand out enough to get a promotion. If you stay a long time though i suppose, you would get promoted out of just being a 'senior' in the company and be a project manager and then probably move entirely out of the gaming programming and go into higher.... more 'think of an idea and tell someone else to make it' type job.... i dunno though really. I highly doubt a commercial airliner or the military would give you a job though if your suicidal.... or at least I wouldnt... reasoning of course being your in charge of the lives of hundreds of people (or, military case, a high powered, deadly weapon) JamesU Gold Member I think a surgeon would be the best choice. You would save lives, and the fact of knowing that, (I'm not an expert, but..) might help your depression Have you seen an optemetrist? Given that you are 17, if your vision is changing then it may continue to change until you are in your twenties because you are still growing. This means your optometrist would most likely recommed any surgery you might want to have when you are at least in your late twenties or older. Surgery I think is more for worse cases. As for being a pilot, you really have to have a love of flying because that is what you will be doing all the time. Although a commercial pilot is a high paying job, it is not glamourous. Work schedules change, body adjusting to different time zones and there is a lot of night time flying. It is a very strenuous job. Not to mention, there is also a uniform. What can I say about surgeons? Working in such a field will bring you respect and is a noble profession as you are saving lives. I personally don't like seeing blood, guts, wounds etc. so I would never get into any kind of work in the medical field. If I you were looking for a reason not to get into this path, then I would emphasize that there are long shifts, and night shifts. Advice that I would give anyone thinking about careers is always to avoid something that has night shift work because it is unhealthy and it won't make you happy. Physicists? That can lead you to many kinds of careers. Anything in particular? I guess this is primarily motivated by your grandfather. It is an advantage with your grandfather being a physicist. He can guide you, train you, and help you look for work if he has some connections. I have a coin collection. Would you like to buy it? The video game industry is growing to a level that will rival that of the movie industry. Until the day programs are developped that are smart enough to program programs, there will be a high need for programmers to make those games. Games become increasingly complex so they need many artists, programmers and managers to produce a game in a timely fashion. There will be opportunities but competition is tough. To have a better chance to get in the industry you have to have your own portfolio. The easiest way to make that is to design maps for existing games, mods even, game models, or create your own engine if you feel up to the challenge. As long as you have something that showcases your talent you will have a stepping stone to get into the industry. Now all these jobs can mean diddly squat unless you have a genuine interest in them. Not for money, not for glamour. If you have interest, you would be motivated to learn everything about it, fall in love with it and be an expert in your field. And that will get you far. Pengwuino Gold Member haha screw it mathwurkz, just get lazik :D. If you join... well, in the US military, if you join, you get free vision correction. My nephew joined the national guard and they gave him free lasiks.... lucky punk :D. I wanna get it too... except i dunno... laser... eyes... just feels like a scary idea even though its very safe these days. And kinda as your pointing out... quantum, it would be very helpful if we knew what you liked to do and what interests you and such. A$150,000 a year job is only as good as how much you like being there.... rather... any job is only as good as how much you like being there.

Thanks to all the posts. I am really interested in being a commerial pilot and I love flying. It interests me. However if I could fly in the military that would be even better. Can anyone confirm its if its true that you must have 20/20 vision to fly? My vision is not 20/20, but not bad enough for glasses either. I know this sounds stupid, but I want to be an astronaut. Many people do I suppose.

Pengwuino
Gold Member
Military gives you free laser eye surgery :D. They gave it to my nephew and he was only in the national guard :-/ so i assume they would give it to you too. Most astronauts are ex-fighter pilots i believe plus you need to be in tip top shape for all of your life (most astronauts are rather old because , well, i read, that being in space is bad on your muscles adn even with all the excercise, you still lose a lot of muscle and bone strength... so you use older people because it effects them less).

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
QuantumTheory, you should pursue that which interests you the most. But first, if you have depression problems, the last thing that you should do is to join the service. That is a tough road that even those in the best state of mind can find difficult. Next, don't pursue a subject just to impress someone else. There is far too much blood, sweat, and tears involved to end up doing something that you hate. Discover what you love to do and commit yourself to being the best at whatever that may be.

Seventeen can be a very tough age to endure. Hang in there; life may surprise you! :tongue2:

cronxeh
Gold Member
I havent read many posts.. but went over that list you posted

My suggestion is very simple:

1. Go to college and double major in Physics and Math
2. At the same time, attend Air Force ROTC (perhaps even get a scholarship to attend college)
3. Participate in as many PDTs at AFROTC as possible, enroll in Arnold Air Society
4. Graduate from college, go to Air Force, get into the pilot training
- you become a pilot, a physicist (more or less), and a functional member of society (unlike what you are right now) -

russ_watters
Mentor
One thing - everything we are talking about requires a college degree. You need to find out if you can get into college. It may be necessary to take another year of traditional high school. That shouldn't faze you though - if you really want to do it, it's worth it. I went to the Naval Academy (I didn't finish...) and after graduating from a traditional high school, they still wanted me to do an extra year at a prep-school. It was worth doing.

russ_watters
Mentor
Clarification:
russ_watters said:
One thing - everything we are talking about requires a college degree. You need to find out if you can get into college.
The answer to that question is yes. You can get into college. What you need to find out is how.

Also, your grandpa's advice is good advice. The trick is being able to convince people to start investing early and then never touch the money until they retire. You may be interested in a book called "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" (type that into the search function at Amazon.com) which provides general investment education and advocates such a strategy.

And one more thing - there is no reason to stress over what to do with your life (some people might laugh at me for saying that). At 17, it doesn't matter (though it sounds like you have a good idea). You really do have lots of time. And if you figure it out by age 25, you're ahead of the game. Honestly.

In the Navy (probably similar for the other services), you can become an unrestricted (meaning you can do anything) line officer up to age 27. If you were to enlist, you could impress your commanding officers for 5 years, and then the Navy would send you to college and pay for it (and pay you while you were there).

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FredGarvin
QuantumTheory said:
I am really interested in being a commerial pilot and I love flying. It interests me. However if I could fly in the military that would be even better.
Have you ever flown? Seriously. Have you ever been in an aircraft and in the right seat to take control? Have you started learning about what really goes into doing this? If you haven't, I would suggest a bit of research before you get too much caught up in the personas and legends surrounding the profession, especially a military profession.

QuantumTheory said:
Can anyone confirm its if its true that you must have 20/20 vision to fly? My vision is not 20/20, but not bad enough for glasses either.
I'll tell you right now. You won't get accepted without it. With competition as high as it is, that is merely one of hundreds of factors they look at in accepting someone. I will also tell you right now that if you have ANY slight inclings of depression or any other "malady" it will be found out and it will put you out of the running.

If you are serious about this, I would give yourself a little test by looking at the bookstore for a study guide for the FAST test (Flight Aptitude Screening Test). It will be the 2nd thing you do after taking the ASVAB.

QuantumTheory said:
I know this sounds stupid, but I want to be an astronaut. Many people do I suppose.
It's not stupid, but understand again, there is HUGE competition involved, especially with NASA in the shape it's in now. There are basically two routes: The first is as an astronaut pilot. To get here you have to have GOBS of experience and flight time. I believe every space shuttle pilot has also been thru the test pilot school as well. You will have to be one bad ass mo-fo in that respect to get that gig. The second route is as a mission specialist. That route you must have some pretty good academic credentials to qualify for. However, you don't need to be military and don't necessisarily need flight experience.

Like it has been said before, you're 17. Don't freak out about this. Take your time and do some soul searching. You know what you like and may want to do.

FredGarvin said:
Have you ever flown? Seriously. Have you ever been in an aircraft and in the right seat to take control? Have you started learning about what really goes into doing this? If you haven't, I would suggest a bit of research before you get too much caught up in the personas and legends surrounding the profession, especially a military profession.

I'll tell you right now. You won't get accepted without it. With competition as high as it is, that is merely one of hundreds of factors they look at in accepting someone. I will also tell you right now that if you have ANY slight inclings of depression or any other "malady" it will be found out and it will put you out of the running.

If you are serious about this, I would give yourself a little test by looking at the bookstore for a study guide for the FAST test (Flight Aptitude Screening Test). It will be the 2nd thing you do after taking the ASVAB.

It's not stupid, but understand again, there is HUGE competition involved, especially with NASA in the shape it's in now. There are basically two routes: The first is as an astronaut pilot. To get here you have to have GOBS of experience and flight time. I believe every space shuttle pilot has also been thru the test pilot school as well. You will have to be one bad ass mo-fo in that respect to get that gig. The second route is as a mission specialist. That route you must have some pretty good academic credentials to qualify for. However, you don't need to be military and don't necessisarily need flight experience.

Like it has been said before, you're 17. Don't freak out about this. Take your time and do some soul searching. You know what you like and may want to do.

Well, I do have depression and I've been hospitalized twice. I figure they will find out about this and thanks for informing me that I have no chance to fly in the military. Since I can't fly in the military, obviously I can't be an astronaut. Seriously, the last thing I'd want to do is go through all the training, and THEN have them tell me I can't fly because of depression. That would truly suck. A waste of time. However I would like to get a colleage degree. If I was a commerial pilot, what degree would I get? How long does the training take? I'm sure a commerial pilot would not count as flight time if I wanted to be an astronaut.

I have a will to never given up. I don't care if everyone tells me it can't be done, I won't give up. I do want to be a physicst but all the math does not really interest me. Here are the 3 things I want to do, all of them much.
1) Surgeon
2) Commerial pilot/military if possible
3) Physist

FredGarvin
Like I said, you can be a mission specialist (astronaut) as a civilian with little or no flight time. You do have to have the academic/professional credentials though.

Here is directly from NASA's recruitment site: http://www.nasajobs.nasa.gov/astronauts/content/broch00.htm [Broken]
Basic Qualification Requirements
Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements prior to submitting an application:

Mission Specialist Astronaut Candidate
- Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. Degree must be followed by at least three years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for part or all of the experience requirement (master's degree = 1 year of experience, doctoral degree = 3 years of experience). Quality of academic preparation is important.
- Ability to pass a NASA space physical, which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical and includes the following specific standards:
Distance visual acuity: 20/200 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20, each eye.
Blood pressure: 140/90 measured in a sitting position.
Height between 58.5 and 76 inches.

Pilot Astronaut Candidate
- Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. An advanced degree is desirable. Quality of academic preparation is important.
- At least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Flight test experience is highly desirable.
- Ability to pass a NASA space physical which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical and includes the following specific standards:
Distant visual acuity: 20/100 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 each eye.
Blood pressure: 140/90 measured in a sitting position.
Height between 64 and 76 inches.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes on Academic Requirements
Applicants for the Astronaut Candidate Program must meet the basic education requirements for NASA engineering and scientific positions - specifically: successful completion of standard professional curriculum in an accredited college or university leading to at least a bachelor's degree with major study in an appropriate field of engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. The following degree fields, while related to engineering and the sciences, are not considered qualifying:

- Degrees in Technology (Engineering Technology, Aviation Technology, Medical Technology, etc.)
- Degrees in Psychology (except for Clinical Psychology, Physiological Psychology, or - Experimental Psychology which are qualifying).
- Degrees in Nursing.
- Degrees in Exercise Physiology or similar fields
- Degrees in Social Sciences (Geography, Anthropology, Archaeology, etc.).
- Degrees in Aviation, Aviation Management, or similar fields.

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And one more thing - there is no reason to stress over what to do with your life (some people might laugh at me for saying that). At 17, it doesn't matter (though it sounds like you have a good idea). You really do have lots of time. And if you figure it out by age 25, you're ahead of the game. Honestly.
Russ I'm not laughing at this but it gives me the impression that you are retired already (I'd be shocked if you weren't).

To be a surgen you would not have needed advice; this is a field that demands individuals who are extremely dedicated and very linear in thier objective as the work is tremendous and the expectations are obviously high. People usually get frustrated at premed and tend to quit. What I am saying is that such a proffession requires preplanning. If I were you I'd consider cosmetic surgery as it has less academic expectations, plastic is very difficult to get into and the societies of plastic surgeons in any country would basically have extremely high expectations of their graduates.

overhere it is a six month prep work and it is followed by a test, if an individual fails that entrance test they are not permitted to sit it again. Components of it are oral, written and I also think practical however on this I am not too sure.

Consider chemical engineering, its a robust mix of all that you have mentioned.

mathwonk
Homework Helper
2020 Award
I recommed you do what you love. That in itself is the best treatment for depression. Also as has been noted, waiting a few years helps too, as a lot of us were depressed at 17.

Also getting plenty of rest and hanging out with nice people, and doing thigns for others, all help depression.

Medication is also effective in amny cases. I have heard that sometimes depression is partly a result of chemical imbalances in ther brain, and medication can partially correct these.

in my own case, most days I have been depessed, i felt better after either sleeping or eating. Lack of food can contribute to depression too.

You need to be able to handle life and death without too much emotion to become a surgeon. Its a helluva lot a work too. Med school and stuff. After all that, you need to have been top in med school to become a surgeon, and not a regular doctor (no offense meant to them). To suceed in the surgeon field, you need skill and a helluva lot of credentials and connections, too. If your willing to go through THAT hard path, then its good pay.

Im with you on the physicist part. Ive been told that im really good at math, but I just think its the most boring thing EVER! i cannot stand it, so i would never get a career in there. Same with physics. Its hard work to become a physicist too, but if you hate it like me, you'll end up miserable, because you dont want to do it halfway in your career, but you cant go back in time.

pilot. If you want to be that, then do it! In boot camp, who knows? you might be too tired to feel suicidal. after that, you'll be happy, which is your top priority. Also, you get decent pay. After the Air force, you can definately get a job in the airlines, but i would recommend learning to fly through the Air Force, as its better for your resume.

Just keep yourself busy with something you love, and you wont have time to be suicidal. Just dont push your stress limit. DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO and will never get bored of.

however I'm suicidal and have depression.
You are just so called "suicidal" because you tell yourself you are and can't change. In nature, people are not suicidal, in fact it's much the opposite. If you understand that life goes on, you wouldn't be suicidal. The fact that you are still alive says something too :) . I had a friend who was perfectly normal and happy all the time. After some time, he met this "depressed" girl and felt the need to be like her and started wearing stricky black and now you could say he is one of those emo "gothic" kids. He says his life sucks and **** like that now. It's all in your head.....that's all I'm trying to say.

It's much like if you get food poinsoning and you think it was from something you ate all the time, let's say that it was french fries. Well now you won't be able to normally eat french fries for a long time even though you have eaten them before thousands of times with no physical consequence.

Ok, now getting on topic. I say no to video game designer. A surgeon has to take 10 or so years of college and if it was me, I would sure as hell be completely sure before making that decision. A commercial pilot makes quite a lot of money if that's what you are interested in. I believe that you should become a commercial pilot, maybe start off in airforce or navy if you feel like it(it would actually be a good idea, quite possibly would get rid of your "depression" and people who were in the military before are usually more respectable.)

Oh and I forgot to add, if you are not completely thrilled with math and physics, you probably should stay away from that field....just because the slightest dislike of physics could damage you in your path to a Ph.D

as far as career plans go, don't worry about it. If you're a smart kid, then no matter what you do, you'll be successful. it just takes a good head and some determination. in the mean time, just do whatever you can to give you options in the future. take another year of school, look into different summer programs, have some fun and learn stuff. i know there are lots of programs/camps for kids who're interested in flying. (i mean, you aren't a kid.... i call everyone kid... i'm only 17.. whatever... ) i had an ex who wanted to be a pilot. he hadn't flown anything when i had met him, so i thought he was just idly dreaming... but i talked to him a few days ago, and he just finished up his first year of school... he's learnt to fly some, and he loves it. i'm pretty sure he just found a program at one of the local colleges... it wasn't hard at all.

Medical career is usually something you know you're gonna do for a long time. i'm sure there are also things you can do to delve more into your interest in surgery, i don't personally know of any such programs... but i'm sure they exist. you could just try getting a job at a hospital and seeing how you like the environment. if you haven't spent much time in a hospital, you definetly should before chosing to work in one as a career...

i love math... i understand why others don't. most physics people i know don't have the appreciation for math i have. to them its a tool... and thats fine. but you have to like math enough to value it in this regard. personally though, i've never thought as a physicist as being someone particularly worth admiration. doctors and lawyers seem to get more respect just being plain in their profession. seems to me, only especially gifted physicist really tend to worthy of any praise. physics seems glamorous i guess to some people... but really, unless you manage to create some new theory... i dunno...

astronaught is a worthy goal. you've already been told how to go about it. so, if you want it, do it.

mostly, you're young, like i said, if you're determined you'll be successful. there's more to life, contrary to popular belief, than just a career. if you invest wisely, you can make tons of cash, and do whatever sort of work you want... you can just get a pilots liscense and a private jet... or buy your own lab and learn physics the old fashioned way.... or... find people who'll let you cut them open... (eh... good luck with that)