"Especially if you end up in a humanities field, don’t stop exploring other subjects you have interest in. Broadening your mind like this can help you in your main field of study and if you decide to pursue research, it will help you create a really interesting interdisciplinary project."
My career roadmap has been all over the place.
When I was in middle school, I wanted to be an optometrist. Eventually, I realized that this wasn’t based on any actual interest in the medical field; I just thought that glasses were fun and that my parents would approve.
During my freshman year, I decided to be an accountant. In retrospect, this was mostly based in fear of failure, and I had figured that there’s no way anyone could possibly mess up at being an accountant.
I then realized that I had more potential than that, and should be more confident in myself. I switched to engineering by the end of freshman year.
During sophomore year, I took Calc II and French 101 (lang requirement) at the same time. I was really enjoying French, but by comparing these two classes, I could tell that I didn’t really enjoy math. Rather, it came easy to me and I just enjoyed feeling “smart.”
Halfway through that semester, I realized that there is more than one way to be smart. I dropped Calc and decided to pursue the language field. My dream job became being an interpreter at the UN after listening to my professor share about his experiences as an interpreter.
As I progressed in taking French at COC, I had another excellent professor that planted some seeds that would grow into my interest in teaching and education.
Once I entered the college environment of UCLA, these seeds blossomed and my intended focus within the field shifted from interpreting in international politics to teaching language at the university level.
At the end of my freshman year, I took a “research revealed” class that got me interested in research and helped me figure out how I might pursue it and what additional classes I could take to build a set of knowledge that will be useful to me in research.
Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Self taught French to supplement limited COC offerings.
DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER
Currently self-teaching Spanish and linguistic theory.
Preparing to lead my own research project.
What I'm currently doing/hope to do
Right now, I study French and Spanish at UCLA with a minor in linguistics, but I also make a priority of taking many additional courses in other fields to support my studies in my main fields, including comparative literature and digital humanities (the head start that AOC gives you with GE’s and pre-reqs will give you the time to do this). Once I graduate, I plan on going to graduate school for a doctorate at a university where I can take a teaching fellowship and pursue one of my research interests. Then, I’ll pursue a tenure track to become a university professor in either the United States or France.
How to maximize my time in high school?
Advice #1: There is so much value in taking some additional courses in other fields that you have interest in for helping you figure out or refine where you want to go with your education and career. All of the huge changes and most of the little tweaks in my roadmap were inspired by different classes that I took, even when I really thought I already knew exactly what I wanted to do.
Advice #2: Especially if you end up in a humanities field, don’t stop exploring other subjects you have interest in. Broadening your mind like this can help you in your main field of study and if you decide to pursue research, it will help you create a really interesting interdisciplinary project.
Advice #3: Once you enter college, seek out the resources your university offers in regards to undergraduate research specifically, and get started early.