Choosing your path in life

Hello everyone,

I’m 17 now and in my final year of school, just before the exams, and still haven’t chosen what to do with my life and what to study.

I’m leaning towards one study though. However, from all those studies it seems to me that I’ve chosen the least uninteresting one, not the most interesting. Sure, I’m interested in science, and I know that it pays, but I kind of have a meh-feeling about it.

On the other hand, I’d absolutely love a creative job, such as making music, art, write, or get into the gaming industry, and maybe study one of those as well. However, those ‘creative’ things are risky, because you have to have success (as opposed to a nine to five job), and success is hard to predict. Moreover, I have so many hobbies that have a mediocre skill level in all of them. I’m not obsessed by a single thing, which maybe is key to success. I’m beginning to get the feeling that I should have chosen one hobby at an early age and ‘train’ that to eventually be succesful.

So, I’ve made the choice to do the study, and put my hobbies on hold for a while, and see if one develops enough to sustain me. The study is to be sure I can get a decent job.

Now, my question to you guys: what do you think is the best way to go? Should one follow his passions from the start, even though it is risky, or is a foolproof plan better? Which path have you guys followed/are you following?

I’d very much like your thoughts on this, seeing as I have to decide what to do very soon… :spin: Thanks in advance.

cya, Daniel

6th garde and still no idea. You gotta be quick then. I’m planning to study architecture at TU Eindhoven. THinking about doing master in architecture and 3D-moddeling. You can do both creative (architect, game level designer) and scientific (engeneer) jobs. But after all it’s quite sad when your future life depends on the replies of a forum. :no:

Haha, that’s true I guess :stuck_out_tongue: But I’m not going to follow all the advice to the letter of course :stuck_out_tongue: I just want other people’s ideas and experiences to help my choice.

I have more or less chosen my study though, it’s just that I don’t feel THAT into it, although it was the most interesting study there was (apart from music, games or film school). But thanks for the reply!

Sounds like youve taken a similar path to what I have.

I started a degree in Aerospace engineering last year, instead of taking the game design/CGI path.

The thing is, you can focus proffesionally on engineering (or some other science/math based subject) and keep your more creative stuff as a hobby. But you cant focus professionally and do engineering/science as a hobby. That just doesnt work.

And as mentioned above you can use your cgi skills for many things in the science based industry. In my engineering course and future I have many different uses for blender.
You can get the best of both worlds, it is tricky tho, and very difficult to keep the right balance.
I say study during the terms, Blend in the holidays (and occasional weekends when time allows)

Thats just my view though. :wink: Im still not 100% sure ive taken the right path.

Well, there probably isn’t a ‘right’ path anyways, so :stuck_out_tongue: I’m just afraid that my hobbies will always stay secondary and I’ll get some boring job for the rest of my life :open_mouth: But then again, in that case I could just quit and do what I like anways :smiley: The choice of study or art seems a bit like the choice between a boring and an adventurous life though, so I want to choose wisely :stuck_out_tongue:

Aerospace Engineering sounds really cool by the way, are you gonna work with NASA later?

I’m 27, have college degree, working in IT, own a house and all that … , and I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up either.

I m studying electrical and computer engineering i ll graduate in about two years and what worries me the most is if i will find a job.Things work very differently in my litte country :D:D

I’m extremely old. I apologise in advance this could be “old git” ramblings… but here we go.

When I was 18 I didn’t know what I was going to do, just that i wanted to do further education

I’d hedged my bets as long as possible being incredibly interested in art, sculpture, drawing and painting but also doing science subjects (maths physics and chemistry…)

On the day my "A " level results arrived I went to the “clearing” department at the careers office and said I’ve got maths, physics, chemistry, general studies and art a levels now, no outstanding grades but nothing terrible either… I’m interested in “arts” courses…

Very quickly I arrived at Architecture, which up until that point I had no clue about…

The degree course was great, I graduated in the middle of a recession where no-one was building anything… si I signed up for the post grad diploma too…

After five years of study, a Ba in architecture and a Dip arch after my name… I got a summer job in multimedia which extended and extended and lead to a long stint as an art director in video games…
(criterion games, sony, EA…)

Two years ago I left all that behind and decided to go freelance I was never in this for the money, just because I found “stuff” interesting… some ups some downs but good stuff over all…

I guess my point is it doesn’t matter what you choose, if you work hard and take an interest in a lot of differnet things, you don’t have to chase a career, it’ll chase you…

I’m another geezer like you in a way. I grew up in a consertive atmosphere where indulgence and extravenge was never promoted. And I was set to follow a path that is preset by norms and such things as getting a degree and a good job to follow, and to avoid the ‘bad’ ways. Well most of these things I accomplished, although in a rebellious way I did leave some wonderful jobs after implying that I was there to stay a while at the interview. Anyways, I get married end of this month . . . still have to grow up too.
My advice is that you take papers that are quite far away from the arts subjects, and rather keep this as a hobby. It worked for me.

@CatsWithMatches: Hehe, well, good to hear you’re still a child at heart :stuck_out_tongue:
@MrNoodle: Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t whine that much and just try to get a decent job :stuck_out_tongue:
@Michael W: Actually, I had hoped very much that someone posted some ‘old git’ ramblings, as they are the most valuable :stuck_out_tongue: Thanks for sharing your experience. Hmm, so a lot of roads lead to game design… Good to hear :stuck_out_tongue:
@kbot: I know what you mean, sometimes I’m afraid of mentioning to my folks I’d be interested in creative careers, ever since they snickered at me expressing the dream of working at Pixar one day… My parents aren’t THAT bad though, don’t get the wrong impression :stuck_out_tongue: Congrats in advance with your marriage, by the way! :stuck_out_tongue:

I read this quote somewhere, it was something like ‘It doesn’t matter what you study, as long as you don’t like it’ :stuck_out_tongue: Although a fun study isn’t that bad either.

I think the thing that I’m afraid of the most is ending up having a boring, unfulfilling life. Afraid of not living life to the max :stuck_out_tongue: But then again, what is fulfillment? Getting rich and famous, probably. But I heard that that gets boring soon :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not really in the best position to be giving advice, as I’m only 16 years old myself, but I plan on taking the safe route and going with a job in the IT industry. It’s a guaranteed position, well-paid, and allows plenty of free time- three perks that most careers in CG don’t have.

3D blew me away when I first got into it. Modeling came very naturally to me after a couple of weeks. I honestly thought it was something that I could do all of my life and still enjoy it. While this is true, there’s plenty of difficulty in the industry, as you often hear from the professionals at CGTalk, with insane deadlines being the biggest problem. In the end, the pay isn’t always that wonderful- the job goes to the lowest bidder.

The main reason I’m not going into the industry is because of the insane amount of competition. If you want a good, steady job in a company like ILM, Pixar, Dreamworks, etc., you have to be at the absolute top of your game. You need a demo reel fit for the gods. You need to outperform the most creative people out there. That just isn’t for me. I’m not gifted in art, as much as I hate to admit it. I have plenty of technical skill, but just can’t back it up with creativity. That’s not enough in real life.

I chose IT over graphics because I’m a technical guy rather than the artsy type, but still enjoy solving problems with computers on a daily basis. Graphics will continue to be a hobby for me. Maybe I’ll pick up freelance art work someday if IT doesn’t work out, but that’s not too likely.

That’s all I’ve got to say. Sorry if it’s a bit incoherent, schoolwork kept me up all last night.

Further more to my advice . . . chemistry is a good subject too . . . especially when ye retire at a ripe old age…

I’ve often been asked, ‘What do you old folks do now that you’re retired’? Well…I’m fortunate to have a chemical engineering background, and one of the things I enjoy most is turning beer, wine, Scotch, and margaritas into urine.
[CENTER]And I’m pretty damn good at it, too!! [/CENTER]



there are a lot of people here who want to be working at pixar or ILM or dreamworks or the mill…

there just aren’t that many places available. bear in mind that most of these places will hire freelancers.

my advice is to study something you enjoy. if you enjoy doing it, it won’t always seem like work. that means that you’ll probably spend more time doing it, which means you’ll get better and better, at a faster rate than if you were slogging through something you simply thought was ok.

bear in mind that there’s not a lot of difference in the subjects you’re talking about, especially between IT and “art”. They’re just different forms of problem solving.

If I were you I’d look into computer science. The industry at the moment is crying out for talented CS graduates - you’ll be snapped up by a games company if you know your stuff AND YOU CAN PROVE IT.


4Daniel - in a month I’ll be 3 times your age. It’s been an interesting ride. At 17 I thought I wanted to be an actor. After graduation my father was posted to Bavaria, I went for a year, and when I came back Stateside and went to school I signed on as a German major. Dropped out after a couple of years, worked as a pump jockey, tow truck driver, answering service operator, mechanic, got fired from my second tow truck job and took the exam for the Postal Service. That was 1984. This year will be my 25th in the service, and during those years I’ve been able to design big-ass computer systems, make movies, write stories and manuals, teach any number of courses, save the company millions of dollars, meet any number of interesting people, and apply for a patent. And that’s just at work. Outside of work I’ve built and raced bicycles, built furniture, a playhouse, computers, planted gardens, taken thousands of photographs, finished college (degree in Studio Arts) and fathered a pretty cool kid who’s just a couple of years behind you in age. And I’ve never had a plan. I followed whatever path looked interesting at the time, and it’s been a sometimes infuriating but usually interesting experience. My point is that whatever you choose, be open to changes in direction. If a course of action scares you it may well be the right thing to do. And you don’t need to define yourself by your job - that’s a trap many men fall into, especially old farts like me. One of the happiest guys I ever knew was our neighbor in Minneapolis. He was a computer programmer, wrote programs for automated fueling systems. His work was not his life - he worked as little as possible to make enough to pay the bills and put some away, so he had plenty of time for what he loved to do. He worked on his own car and house, his philosophy was that he’d take the time to do it and learn something, rather than work the time to pay somebody else to do it. Great guy.

That said, it sounds to me like you’re interested in both science/engineering and art. That’s a right-brain/left-brain combo that rocks. In my experience, there aren’t many people who can function on both sides of the brain like that, and they’re valuable. The world will always need engineers, and engineers with vision are a minority. Something to consider.

Man I hope so, that would be awesome. I have a detailed idea of what I’d like to achieve, and NASA is certainly a direction I’d like to go in.
Ive just got to focus on studying better, having some issues at the moment, which is not fun…

Anyways I’m sure youll work out what you want to do. If you really cant decide on a course take a year off, defer for a year. That will give you time to think things over and work a bit, make some cash to spend on stuff during your first year of college/university.

If all of this fails, you can always become an official…

First, try to know the area you are going to work at. A short example, a “something” Sciences is different than a “something” Engineering.

Now you might be thinking “Are you crazy?”. I can’t you explain that to you other than with a giant reply, so I won’t do that. But I lived that. I’m taking my master in CS. In some of my classes, there were engineering students. And I also have contact with people with engineering background in conferences, etc. If I talk to someone about CS I can tell if they had a engineering or a scientific background - the final result is VERY different.

To Doggie. I don’t think you should make your choice in 6 grade. Don’t narrow your possible choices already! Consider all options.

That’s why I choose a study where you can go both creative and scientific.

I think you can be creative with most, if not all, the scientific areas.

Thanks for the replies everyone!

@Alden: A demo reel fit for the gods, hehe. Well, at least you have self knowledge, unlike me :stuck_out_tongue: But that’s also kind of my point; when you decide at an early stage to throw yourself into 3d completely, you might just make that top. But, as mentioned before, it’s a big risk.

@kbot: … Lawl :stuck_out_tongue:

@dan_hin: I’ve done some programming, so computer science might be a good option… although I kind of fear for a grinding ‘code monkey’ type job…

@klaatuteela: Thanks for the elaborate response :smiley: Im indeed trying to keep things as broad as possible. And I said I’m interested in science and art, I never claimed to be good at them :stuck_out_tongue:

@AD-Edge: Another idea indeed, taking a year off. I could get a lot of art done in a year :stuck_out_tongue: But then again, I could also switch if my study isn’t quite what I thought it would be.

And the rest, also thanks for the replies, I got lazy lol :stuck_out_tongue:

Hmmm… Think I’ll stick with Technical Medicine then… Although studying Artificial Intelligence is cool too :stuck_out_tongue: