Career paths you considered and rejected

I think I’m one of the rare individuals who knew exactly what they wanted to do at an early age, and did it. Here’s my story:

Starting around 8 years old (1975) I became fascinated with electronics. I would disassemble old TVs and radios, trying to figure out how they worked. I would unsolder every resistor, capacitor, etc. and store them in drawer cabinets. Using these parts, I would try and build circuits from schematics I found in magazines. I later discovered that some people work as “electrical engineers,” and I wanted to be one, too.

Things were going O.K. until high school. My parents divorced, and we children were living with our mother in near poverty. It affected my greatly, and I started doing poorly in school. I was also hanging out with the “long-haired, heavy-metal kids” who only wanted to party. I remember sitting in the guidance counselor’s office at my high school and him asking me, “So, what are you plans after high school?” I said, “I want to be an electrical engineer!” He gave me a dubious look and said, “Ahem, well Crafter_Man, your GPA is only 2.8. I really think you should enroll in a trade school.”

I didn’t want to go to a trade school. I applied for a couple local engineering colleges after I graduated, and (not surprisingly) neither accepted me. Not to be dissuaded, I enrolled in something called “University College” at the University of Cincinnati with an undeclared major. I was so poor that I qualified for all kinds of grants. I took the same courses the engineers took (calc, physics, etc.) and worked my ass off. Got a 3.8 GPA at the end of my freshman year. Applied again to UC’s College of Engineering, and this time I got in. Graduated with a BSEE from UC in 1992, and a MSEE from the University of Dayton in 2010. Been working as an EE ever since, and love it.

I sometimes think about the advice from my high school guidance counselor. Was he right or wrong? I don’t know. Statistically he was probably correct, I suppose.

I was going to be a doctor. My dad, grandfather, and great uncle were all ophthalmologists. My uncle was a gastroenterologist.

I started college assuming pre-med. I joined the Army National Guard as 91A (combat medic) because I figured military medical experience could only help my career goal.

But it did not take me long to realize I was not cut out for the medical field. I hated being a medic.

I took my background and readjusted and went into marine biology and spent my grad program SCUBA diving in the Keys and the Bahamas. Although my actual professional career (25+ years) is not specific to marine biology, I definitely benefitted from my biological background, as my profession deals with evaluating all sorts of environmental impacts.

HEY, we are very nice. If you don’t believe that I’ll put a Hex on you. What color would you like?