Highschool Student,

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I want a career in science, but I am being pushed away by everybody I reach out to.

I have recently decided I want my profession in life to reflect what I love most, rather than money, and that love is science. I am currently in the 7th grade and everywhere I turn, people tell me I am too young to be mulling this over, including my science teacher. I want to have what I want ready for me before I graduate, but no one will help. That is why I turn to you, fellow TEDers. Am I to young for this? I want to change the world. With science. Please help me get there. How do I prepare?

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    Sep 12 2011: It is possible that you know too little to understand certain things, but I think this knowledge will not magicaly apear, in some jears just because your older.

    here are some websites, that could be interesting to you.

    • Sep 21 2011: Thank you so much! I loved all of these websites. I was looking around with no luck!
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    Sep 8 2011: Emily,

    Just fuel that passionate for science. Don't make the decision it will be your profession; it limits you. But you are absolutely not too young. I started web development when I was 13 (I'm now 18), but I do not plan to pursue a career in web development. Given that science is such a massive field, you will stumble upon many ideas. Embrace everything that excites you and don't let anyone phase you.

    Use the internet to connect and to learn. (Obviously, you're finding your way!) You can follow entire college courses on MIT Open Courseware, Stanford's Youtube account, Harvard's Open Learning Initiative, or Open Yale Courses -- Google any of those. Join science communities, participate, reach out to people. Most importantly, reach out to your parents.

    Also, I'd like to suggest home schooling; it's a HUGE decision, and you should make certain it's what you want, but it can open up so many opportunities for you. Just throwing it out there. If you consider it, do research-- plenty of research.

    Good luck!
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    Sep 8 2011: Hi Emily ,

    Scientific minds have no age division .. scientific mind is recognized as a scientific mind irrespective of their age .. That is science :) So you are never too young or old for science .. wanted to say that first :-)

    If you love science, you will have to learn science first .. Learn everything you would love to know and whatever that interests you .. If you are interested in physics, learn it well .. If you are interested in math, learn it well .. or chemistry or biology .. learn all that you love to learn ... When you are a child you get a lot of time in your hands.. And it is best to make use of all the free time you have in your hands when you are still in school.. I would recommend that you pay visit to the library more often, and also browse the internet ...

    The best part about science, in my opinion is doing research .. In doing research, you come up with your own ideas, and try to implement it , and study that idea in a scientific manner ... Who knows, by studying a bug or a chemical reaction or electrical coils, one would be able to even advance science by doing research .. So my advice to you is to begin to do research at a young age ... Make more exciting school science projects ... Be involved in them .. take part in scientific fairs .. Take part in scientific contests .. These are avenues where you can display your scientific research ..

    Scientist always acknowledges the facts honestly ... If he/she sees something, the scientist would state the fact honestly , without any bias .. If the scientist doesn't know something, the scientist will be honest about it and say honestly that she doesn't know it .. Honesty is a very important part of science .. This is a very important quality which you should develop from childhood itself in the current world of plagiarism..

    Don't give up on your dream ! Go conquer the world ! But do it one step at a time :-)

    a PhD student in engineering and a scientist at heart :-)
  • Sep 21 2011: Hi Katie!

    Thank you so much! I am keeping an open mind on other options. Thanks for bringing that up again though. I was beginning to forget there are other opportunities out there :-)
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    Sep 21 2011: Emily, pursue your passion! I think its great that you know what you want to do so early. Learn everything you can get your hands on! You never know what doors that might open for you.

    But don't put blinders on to everything else either. You never know what else may come along that you also love! And that doesn't mean you have to do one or the other. There are always ways to do many things or combine in new ways to create new learning.

    Best of luck Emily!
  • Sep 19 2011: You aren't to young to pursue Science, You're too young to be pursuing a job when you're only in the 7th Grade. Wait until you get into High School or College and get an internship or something, or just after you major in w/e Science you should choose in College, that's when you worry about this kind of stuff.
    It's great that you're doing something that you love and not just something that will ending making you very unhappy.

    Best wishes.
    • Sep 21 2011: Thank you Thomas!

      Yes, I know, and I really hope to get an internship in several years. I feel like the earlier the better.

      And yes, I think that happiness prevails above all :-)
  • Sep 17 2011: Hi Emily, This isn't specific to science but you might also be interested in a book by Sir Ken Robinson, 'The Element', if you haven't already read it. It's about discovering how to be in your element - that sweet spot where your talent and passion collides.

    Also, don't let anyone tell you that you're too young to follow your dreams. Follow your gut, your heart, your intuition. (Us adults mean well but we don't have all the answers - we just like to think we do!)

    This quote by Goethe is next to my desk, 'Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.'

    Go for it and don't ever give up. That's my advice. There's nearly always a way - you just have to keep going until you find it.

    Best of luck
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    Sep 14 2011: i know tis might be a little off topic but head onto youtube and look up, "sixty symbols" and " the periodic table of videos" both host short informative videos from the university of nottingham england, i found this a really nice way to add to the science i studied in second level, I am now in my first year in college studying science and next year i might be transferring to pharmacy, but as in the other comments there are so many different disciplines of science, really you just need to find what your interested in, read into it and you might find you have a passion for leaning about that specific topic, I found having a read of some case studies and papers on different things really helped, also look up Professor Brian Cox, University on Manchester, He has good TED talks, and a few tv documentaries, one bing Wonders Of The Universe, made in collaboration with The BBC. so i really recommend checking him out as he could well inspire you and kick start your way on to becoming a scientist

    Conor Palin-Stewart
    Dublin City University Student
  • Sep 13 2011: A bit of advice, there are many different sciences available to you. You should first research and narrow down the field that interests you the most.

    Once you have identified your field of interest, identify the educational institution that can offer you the best education on that subject. The internet is great but it can't always provide a strong foundation or accreditation that you will need in the scientific world. (Pick several educational institutions so you have a backup)

    Do whatever it takes (within the law) to go to the educational institution.

    Get work experience. If possible, try to find an internship or job before, during and after college that will provide you with the chance to work near the type of science that interests you. Even being a janitor (at NASA for example) can afford you opportunities that others will not have

    Network with professionals. (obviously not your science teacher)
    • Sep 14 2011: Thank you Bob!

      I am finding it very hard to find a field that I truly enjoy above the others. Everything that I encounter is just so amazing, and i think to myself "this is what i want to do" and the next second, I find something else just as amazing.

      How do I find the ideal field?
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        Sep 15 2011: there is no rush. if you are interested in everything, you can read about everything. either you end up specializing on something or you will be the next generation scientist who knows every field. you don't have to decide now.
        • Sep 15 2011: Thank you! This took a lot of weight of my shoulders!
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        Sep 15 2011: when you get to college you could try do a common entry science course, and maybe by actually experiencing the different fields you will find the one you love
        • Sep 21 2011: Thank you Conor! I will definitley keep that in mind...the problem lies in the fact that I have another 6 years of middle and high school
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    Sep 9 2011: Just stay curious
  • Sep 8 2011: Hi EmilyI agree with everyone else who has written here and believe you can be self instructed until you get support and the correct education. What worries me is that you are to young for stress, do what you need to do but don't let others cause you stress, it's bad for the mind and body. I'm certain that you will be great at whatever field you choose, never give up on your dreams.James
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    Sep 8 2011: you don't need help. with a few hours of reading freely accessible materials, you will know more about the chosen subject than the science teacher. some people watches soap operas in TV, you can make reading stuff your hobby. first look around, science is manifold. you are interested in physics? history? astronomy? math? engineering? biology? philosophy? read them all, to see which of them is close to you. then research and ask around the internet to find good entry level books, preferably ebooks, preferably free ones. but don't hesitate to pirate anything if you have to (i will deny this statement on the court). if you have specific questions, ask. it is more likely to find answer to something specific than getting general help how to be a scientist.
    • Sep 8 2011: Thank you! Reading is the most fantastic thing in the world to me. Do you have any recommendations on any excellent books to read?
      I have read several science related books, such as all of the Malcolm Gladell books which immediately became my favorite books of all time.

      Any suggestions?
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        Sep 8 2011: cosmos from carl sagan comes to mind, or dan ariely's predictably irrational. if you are into economics, henry hazlitt's economics in one lesson. not book but worth a look: terry jones' barbarians and medieval lives.
        • Sep 9 2011: Thank you! I will be sure to check these out!
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    Sep 8 2011: It's never too old to learn, vice versa...it's never too young to learn.U have a lot of advantages , U live in an age which internet can provide best education than any school; Ur mother language is English, u can do research without spend a lot of time study a new language like me...

    when it comes to how to prepare, u 'd better read widely when u are young, every scientist is not only scientist, most of them also expert in art or something. one more thing, have a strong body, stay up every night is really really tried.

    A stupid chinese engineering student who just keep writing program for 9 hours...
  • Sep 8 2011: Thank you so very much! I do usually have a very busy schedule, but I think research and study time will be high priority from now on.

    I really am glad there are people, like yourself, in the world who know that age can't stop a kid who wants something more like anything

    Good luck with your studies and thanks again! :-)
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      Sep 8 2011: Emily .. Good luck to you too .. Don't be afraid of exploring research opportunities with real scientists whose work interests you in the future, especially when you are in college or even in high school ( If you dare ! ;-) ) But there is no substitute for hard work and determination .. I wish you well Emily :-)