Do I have a future?

Last week, I received an email from a person where he wrote: “I was NOT a good student in high school. I passed the high school exam with the lowest score as I did not learn much in high school and often cheated in classes. After high school, I spent the past two years wondering without any direction. A few months ago, a friend suggested me to read your books then I found your Science and Technology blog, I realized that I may have a future if I study and build a career in technology. Do you think that I could have a future by going back to school? I need your advice, please help.”

Answer: You DO have a future in technology areas if you study hard. Your future is NOT depending solely on the grades in high school but what you will do NOW. Do not think about the past but looking forward to your future from NOW. The past is over so make sure that you can start everything new with a positive attitude that you can control your life whatever you want it to be. Since you have realized that you did not learn much in high school, you can change it NOW.

First, you should commit to learning something that can help you to build a foundation for your future. Do NOT think that you are not smart enough to learn new things because if others can do it, you can also. You have the same brain as others, no difference. Anybody can learn anything at any time, regardless of how old or how difficult. When you come up against some difficulties, try to overcome them, do not give up. Look at what happened in the past and what you did wrong and do NOT make the same mistake. You need to put in a lot of efforts in what you do and improve your studying habit because you are NOT studying to pass exams or to get a degree but to build your future. The first step is always difficult but if you can overcome it and the next step will be easier. If you are working hard to learn something for yourself, you will see the results may come sooner than you think.

Going back to college may NOT be necessary for you at this time but you can do many things even get a good job without a college degree. I suggest that you enroll in a two-year college or even taking courses from the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to rebuild your foundation. You will learn the same material you would learn at many colleges. This is the challenge that you must overcome to see how well you are doing. If you hurry to go back to school, even you get accepted but you will face more challenge due to the competition among students for grades and exams. It may be difficult as you do not have a strong foundation yet to doing advanced coursework. You will have to work really hard to get through college and it may be risky at this time.

To make a change in life, you need time and efforts to rebuild your skills. It will not happen as fast as you wish but you need the courage to change the bad habits. You need to plan your career on what you want to do. Of course, the technology field is the best option now. if you can learn to program in Java, Python, JavaScript then you can get a job as a programmer. If you go further and take more courses, you can get a job as a software developer. There are many good courses in MOOCs that you could take to further your career. All you need is your commitment and efforts.

Now that you know my advice, go ahead and do it. I really want to know how you are doing so please write to me in the next few months to let me know how well you are making progress for your future.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University
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