T Nation

What to Do with My Life


X2. Mechanical engineering does cover a lot of ground and can be funneled down with further study and advanced degrees.

Leave the trades as a hobby. You’ll have plenty of time to tinker with cars or personal aircraft later.

A friend of mine that is easily as educated as anybody I’ve ever known became an MD. at a university, then used the perk of free classes to continue learning through out his life. If you’re really a hard core academic, that is one way to go about it.


Been married to my HS sweetheart for 11 year…


Have you read Thinking Fast and Slow?

One of the final studies Daniel discusses is that people who ranked making lots of money as a top priority were like 68% more likely to achieve it than people who did not care about money.

He’s 17. The refinement will come soon enough.



I’d imagine there’s a lot more to it than just ranking making money as a priority…but I do not remember that specific part of the book…

Wish I would’ve read these things (and so much else that everyone’s offered in this thread) when I was 17…


I believe, don’t quote me, but Khaenman specifically states that the desire to achieve wealth led people to do what it takes to attain it. As system 2 becomes engaged in the decision making process. I’ll have to grab the book, when I get home and find it.

If there are general foundational requisites for a career, money would be one of them. Others could be, as Emily mentioned, helping the greater good. Additionally, spending as little time at work, helping the planet, etc

For example, my two goals were to make enough money to be free from the stress of money, and feel like I’m solving challenging problems. At 17, I thought that was a law and economics degree. Then, life happened… but, I am on track to reach my financial goals and am challenged at work.


Oh no, I believe you. Basically priming the brain to think in those terms. But it takes more than just that was my point.

I get your point - I had similar goals, but, for me, it wasn’t until I made them actionable, distinct and measureable was I able to be successful. i.e. it’s necessary to dream and have broad goals, but not sufficient in accomplishing them. One has to take action - and for me, organizing my goals into actionable steps made a big difference in what I saw I could accomplish.


For those married to their HS sweethearts, congrats.

What do you suppose a show of hands of those not married to their HS sweethearts would look like…?


Yes, but as an obstetrician once told me when I asked his c-section rate, “If it’s you, it’s one hundred percent.”

He was right. I think pragmatism regarding the odds is in order, but however many people are left not raising their hands because they’re still with HS sweethearts are having a “100% of marriages are to my high school sweetheart” experience.

All the kids trying to break into Hollywood, major sports, rock n roll - some of them will make it. But not the ones who get swept up in futility.

My best guess? Is that they’ll make it through Christmas of her freshman year. But they may make it all the way through and the stakes are low here - so why not try and see how it goes?


Yup. The odds are certainly not in HS sweethearts favor. However, this isn’t like making the NFL. Marrying your HS sweetheart is perfectly reasonable goal (that obviously can change and does often).

We made it through my multiple deployments and her college before getting married. I don’t expect many people to do that, but it can be done.

*I can think of at least one other couple from my graduating class that’s also married out of a class of like 250.

**Derp on my part, my sister-in-law is married to her HS sweetheart too…


Just wondering but, where are you from? I grew up in New York city and almost no one here married their high school sweet heart. Most people I’ve met don’t even start to think about marriage or finding someone to settle down with until their late 20s early 30s.

The common belief around here is that big city people don’t marry until they have their career in order, while those in rural areas marry right after high school or college.


I’m just outside of Baltimore, MD (somewhat rural). We got married young, but waited to have kids until we were more established in our careers. We were married 9 years before our first son was born.


What steps do I need to take? I need a list of things I need to do. I just took my AP Chinese and AP Government tests and I think I did well. Now onto AP Calculus. But even though, people change, I trust my gf.

I need actions to do to make this a reality. I need versatility. I might sound self absorbed, but I heard people who make the most money have money from different sources. I need to be the best person I can be.

I feel I’m working towards something. I’m trying to be the best person I can be, it’s just something I need to do. I feel like knowing in the back of my mind that I trust my gf, even though we’re not always around each other, will give me more focus.

I’m trying to make my life good so I won’t have to struggle economically, I just want to know things.


There’s no manual to life.


Many probably most monetarily wealthy people have multiple sources of income. This is true. They might work a 9-5, have a side hustle, and invest for example. At the end of the day, you want money you’ve earned to earn you money. Understand maximizing income will often be detrimental to other parts of your life. Time is a finite resource. It’s difficult to work at a high level, run a successful side hustle, and do the necessary research to invest intelligently. Throw in spending quality time with your girlfriend (in your case) or your family, exercise, and any other activities you enjoy and you’re bound to run into difficulties.

Wealth isn’t just measured in $$'s. The sooner you learn that the happier you will be.

At your age, the best thing you can do is sit down and map out the pros and cons of professions you’re interested in and then make a plan to enter the one you prefer the most.

When you enter that profession immediately contribute to your 401(k) at least enough to get a company match if it’s offered. Your goal should be to ultimately max out your 401(k).

IMO, you should also pay yourself x% of your income as an emergency fund. Some people suggest 6 months - years salary. I don’t think that’s necessary, but it certainly won’t hurt. I’ve found the easiest way to achieve this is to open a separate bank (even at a separate bank) that you can’t easily access and have money direct deposited from each paycheck.

For example, I have a Capital 360 account that I only transfer money in and out of. It takes several days to move money around so if I see a shiny new toy that “I just have to have” I’m forced to spend several days thinking it over. In other words, it cuts down on impulse buying and make savings effortless.

Then invest in an IRA or a side hustle or both if you want additional income streams, but IMO the foundation for the vast majority of people should be a well-paying career with growth potential, maximizing 401(k) contributions, emergency fund, and then x, y, and z alternative income streams.


Also, avoid debt if you can.


My Dad failed out of college, spent time as a mechanic, and eventually went back to become one of the most prominent neuroscientists of his time.

My brother nearly failed out of college, and rebounded to become a PhD immunologist at Rockefeller.

I got bored with college, joined the marines, and now work a trade job as an electromechanical engraver.

You don’t have one shot. Just don’t make your goals so absolute. Taking in debt is okay provided your job will allow you to pay it back. I was in college as a lit major intent on becoming an English teacher, and I make way more now than I would have made with none of the debt. But I know a guy who came out of grad school hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt…and now he’s a cardiac surgeon, and he’s rich as shit.


Indeed. I am a high-school dropout–and not the ‘so brilliant as to be bored and ready for college’ kind. Got a GED a year or so later; went to university. Excelled? Hardly–finished a relatively easy undergrad major (Psych) with a 2.8 GPA. Didn’t start doing well academically until I went to grad school a few years later. Now on my second career; am loving it and doing well financially.


I wasn’t bored with college because I was too good for it either, I was just bored and wasting my time.

Just like I didn’t join the Marines because I was a badass who wanted to protect my country - I did it because I was bored.

I spent a lot of my life being bored, making stupid decisions, not finishing or following through with commitments, etc. and now I have a beautiful family and a home. Life is still tough, and I have to work hard every day, but gosh - I can’t think of anything more dull than having my life plan laid out for me by my 17 year old self. Scary thought.


You forgot jacked and tan. Much more important on these boards.


Just to be clear: My remark about being ‘not the so brilliant as to be bored kind’ was not meant to imply that you were making such a claim about yourself.

You could be writing my biography here. Spooky.