I really wanted to be an astronaut. I hoped that studying physics and astronomy might somehow lead me there, but I would have had to marry and American to become a USA citizen. Although we have just recently got a british astronaut – very exciting! but i didn’t apply for that 🙁
My initial ambition when I was very young was to be an astronaut. When I was older I thought very hard about becoming a priest – I was a very committed Catholic in my teenage years – and even went to a seminary for an interview.
However I decided to postpone the decision and to go to university in London to study physics. During my time in London, although I was still very committed to my religion then, I became more and more interested in doing science and ultimately decided to have a go at that as my career.
I think my decision not to go into the priesthood might also have had something to do with the fact that I met my lovely wife when I was at university. The rest, as they say, is history.
I didn’t have a very clear idea of what I wanted to do. I was very interested in finding out how things work, and I enjoyed science classes, but I did not think much about jobs. I ended up working in an insurance company for a while, basically as a human spreadsheet (with serious bugs!).
Many of the students at York who I meet (just after leaving school), seem to have pretty strong ideas about careers. For some people this is a real advantage (they often go on the the job they planned to do), but for a few people it might be a straightjacket (because they made the decision before they understood all the options and possibilities).
Overall, I think its useful to have an idea about what you plan to do, and I certainly wish I’d thought a little more about this before I left school. For many people the next step will be University, and everyone should at least consider this possibility – don’t be one of those who just thinks “University is not meant for people like me”. I think Uni is also a good time to form more detailed career plans, and unless you have a burning ambition to do a particular job, you should keep an open mind, and try to learn more about the jobs that interest you.
Dreams don’t always come true, but I think Oscar Hammerstein had it right when he wrote: “You got to have a dream, if you don’t have a dream how you gonna have a dream come true”.
I don’t think I gave a lot of thought to the kind of job I wanted when I was at school. I knew I was interested in science and wanted to study that, but it came as a bit of a shock to me when I realised that you could actually study science and get paid to do it! Once I realised it was possible to do science as a job the only problem I had then was which area to of science I would try to get a job in!