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Old 08-26-2011, 10:24 PM
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Typo Typo is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 194
Default Looking to the future: What career is right for me?

First of all, this thread does not have anything to do with looking for a good music college. I am very passionate about music and drumming, but I'm fairly certain I want it to remain for me a hobby. Second, I know a drumming forum isn't necessarily the best place to go when seeking life advice. I certainly don't expect any of you to tell me what to do. It's something I ultimately have to figure out on my own, I know. But I'm sure many of you are musicians second to a primary occupation, and therefore many of you have more experience than I have. Third, I understand if none of you have anything to contribute due to a lack of interest in my situation; I don't think that I am particularly unique in terms of the questions and concerns I possess, but I figure it can't hurt to reach out and hope for some kind of response that is more personal than what the results of a Google search could provide.

I'm entering my senior year of high school, so the college searching process has begun. I've determined that I have two main barriers that are keeping me from knowing what I want to do with my life:

1. I don't know what profession(s) I will sincerely enjoy. Yes, I know what my interests are, but I don't know how they correlate with real-world occupations.

2. I am concerned about financial success. Who isn't, though? I feel like this barrier is restricting me from seeing what my true professional passion is, or could be, simply because I am worried not being able to support myself.

I'll share a bit about myself. I took Physics 1 last year, and I loved it. I like math, English is good, too, I just don't really care for history. I've always been an artistic person, with other hobbies such as writing, drawing, and, most recently, composing music. I also love movies, and even thought about being a screenwriter at one point. I don't have some huge portfolio, and I'm surely not the most skilled at any of those things, but the point is, I love being creative. I also like to think of myself as a good problem-solver, and I love using logic (not the application). I am a thinker, a spectator. I don't talk much, even within my group of friends, as I like to sit back and watch social interactions, noting how things unfold.

A minute from my stream of consciousness: Okay, so I like physics. Does that mean I will like engineering? I mean, civil engineering sounds pretty cool, but what do you do on the job? Would I like computer engineering? Well, I don't know, computers don't have much to do with the area of physics that I studied last year, so... Wait, I like music. Maybe, if not performance, I could study recording arts! No, there probably aren't many jobs available in that field, and the pay probably isn't too great unless you are well-known and sought after... so how do you get sought after? Well, you probably have to start your own business, and I don't want to do that, because there are a bunch of other studios out there, and there's no guarantee that anyone will want to utilize my services...

Those are just some basic thoughts and questions that cross my mind when thinking about career paths. I'd love to get some input from any engineers (not recording), whether mechanical, civil, computer, whatever, and just hear what you have to say about the industry and what you do from day-to-day. I don't know if there are any engineers on this forum, though. I've also taken a look at the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook which describes the whole range of jobs, including what normal activities are, future job opening predictions, and, of course, earnings. But there always seems to be a disadvantage for every advantage. For example, most civil engineers and architects are listed as having a pretty good salary, but the field is predicted be pretty competitive. So those are just little things I worry about that seem to be preventing me from recognizing and settling with what I truly want to do.

I realize that some of these uncertainties may resolve themselves as time passes and I transition from high school to college. But it is difficult to choose a college when I don't know what majors to be looking for. Up to this point, I have been considering schools that have a wide range of programs (in the likely case that I will want to try several things). However, I'm NOT looking for specific college recommendations from you guys. I'm mainly wondering if and how you have discovered a job that you really enjoy, and how one gets past financial concerns. This last request is a big stretch, but I'll put it out there, regardless: if anyone has any occupation suggestions based on my mini-biography, I'll gladly look into them.

One of my favorite college-related sayings (paraphrased, no plagiarism intended): "You have to get loans so you can go to college so you can get a job so you can pay off your loans."

Anyway, thanks for reading.
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