INTRO: General advice from everyone! Career questionnaires at school were quite useless. People with languages were told they could be air hostesses or multilingual personal assistants! Also some people regretted doing sensible options instead of what they really wanted. Everyone thought doing what you enjoy is most important because utlimately you can always retrain if you want and doing things you don't like is not that much fun and you are less likely to do well. NOTE that for most careers you can study anything - and there are hundreds of jobs you've never heard of that you might end up doing and loving! e.g. journalism, law, business - any subject will do. Even medicine - you can retrain from a humanities degree. ALSO, do you like reading popular science books? Those of us who ended up studying science all seemed to have enjoyed reading lots of popular science books about evolution, chaos theory, space, quanutm physics etc. I certainly found them quite mindblowing and they motivated me to study science much more than anything I learned at school. If you don't find these books that interesting then I think that is a good sign that other subjects might be a better fit. Please add your experience at the bottom of the sheet. Please don't edit anyone else's!
Gender A levels Degree (s) Current job What did you think you'd be at 16? Extra notes!
male Maths, physics, chemistry, english BSc, MBBS Surgeon engineer had epiphany. Went to medical school to become an epidemiologist. Accidental surgeon. Advice: if science, do maths and more maths.
Man Biology, Chemistry, Physics BSc Pharmacology, PhD Pharmacology AI in Health Service research Wanted to find new medicines He did find new medicines! And loves his current job - he's found most satisfaction working in teams
Man English lit, Art & Business Studies BA Art and English Started off as a local journalist and now editor of 3 local newspapers (in Liverpool)
Man English Lit, German, French BA Modern Languages, MA Modern German Lit, PhD German Lit, Diploma in Acting from LAMDA Works full time as an actor: highly respected audio book narrator and has regularly appeared on stage at National Theatre and also worked in West End and New York No idea "None of the subjects I studied were essential, not even the acting diploma, but it has shaped my career and brought me a lot of work. Challenging theatre, literary fiction and non-fiction audiobooks are dominated by graduates. I never thought I’d use my languages professionally but loads of “foreign” books come my way because of my background. Especially WWII. Contemplated the career with seriousness when I saw other people successfully apply to drama school whilst a postgrad."
Man English, Latin, Geography BA English A Herald (with a sword and everything) Didn't have a career goal Followed the subjects he enjoyed
Man Latin, English lit, philosophy, philosophy of religion BA Classics, PhD Greek literature Professor of Ancient Greek Academic . He says that employers love people with Classics degrees
Man Maths, Further Maths, Biology, Physics, Chemistry (and later Psychology, Computer Studies) BSc Medicine Intensive care consultant Scientist Decided Medicine let him have more career options and still be a scientist, but also thought about doing a maths degree
Man Maths, Further maths, English, History Started studying English, switched to social and policital science and then switched again to finally graduate with a BA in Law. MA Anthropolgy, then became did extra Law degree to become a Barrister Barrister & Queen's Counsel specialising in Human Rights Law (and now also a High Court Judge) He does a lot of high profile cases dealing with justice, human rights etc.
Man Maths, Further Maths, Physics BA Maths Maths teacher No idea at 16!
Man Maths, Further Maths, Physics & Design BSc Physics, PhD Solar Physics Head of Data at an investment company No idea - but didn't think he was going to go to university Did several years working as a physicist before switching into finance
Man Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry MChem Chemistry (4 yr degree), PhD Chemistry Associate Professor of Chemistry Didn't know what he wanted to do at all but was just better at science subjects than arts which made it an easier decision Originally he studied Biochemistry but switched to Chemistry in yr 1. "if you do want to do science - don't bother doing Biology A-level unless you find it interesting. I got in to do Biochemistry without and physics and chemistry are more broadly useful for science degrees. biology is fine but open fewer doors than maths or physics (and to a lesser extent Chemistry". he thinks Chemistry is less fun to study theoretically but reallyfun to do
Man Maths, Physics Chemistry BSc Chemistry Radar systems engineer You can change your career if you don't like what you are doing!
Man Maths, Physics, Chemistry BSc Maths Teaching specialist engineering to mature engineers / scientists Farmworker Chose A-level subjects he found easier
Man Maths, Physics, Chemistry BSc Medicine Intensive care consultant & professor Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H :-)
Man Maths, physics, chemistry & General Studies BSc Physics, PhD Space Physics Technology Strategy Architect for Vodaphone (designing how the future of mobile technology will play out!) Climatologist
Man No A-Levels, did an apprenticeship in Engineering instead BSc automotive engineering, MSc distributed systems, PhD in human computer interactions - then retrained in paramedicine in his 30s Now a paramedic in the Midlands saving people's lives everyday :-)
Man None None Tattoo artist to the stars & plays in a band earns a fortune and loves his job.
Man Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Economics BSc Neuroscience, MBBS Medicine, MSc Health Policy, Planning and Financing Chief Medical Officer for an international healthcare organisation & NHS Consultant (kidney doctor) Forensic Scientist/FBI/X Files person Never really knew what I wanted to do. Interests changed year upon year. Always followed what excited me rather than what others suggested I should do. Making a difference and working closely with people is important for me and so I seek roles that do that. I love to be always learning and it’s never to late to change direction. Fail frequently, learn from mistakes, move on, be happy.o
Man Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry BSc Chemistry, MSc Technology, PhD Contemporary Arts Faculty Freelance Theatre practitioner, researcher, specialist in digital and online performance No clue at all, just focused on the next exams and trying to be popular You never know what path you'll be on until you've walked it a ways. Seek out the things that excite and interest you. Learn to be forgiving of yourself and others. Do not fear failure (or else it will stop you in your tracks too often).
Man Maths, Further Maths, Physics, French, General Studies ΒSc Maths & Astronomy, PhD Astrophysics Professor of Astrophysics, Head of Physics Department Scientist
Man None BA History & Italian; MA Italian; PGCE; PG Diploma Housing Local Government Housing; Lecturer Housing Studies No idea I studied what interested me.
Man AVCE Health and Social Care, A Level Sociology BSc Speech and Language Therapy, MRes Clinical and Health Research Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, business owner Something in a health/care role but no specific idea Not knowing what care tocare to pursue at 16 I chose A level subjects that I thought would be interesting and enjoyable to study. After college I still did not know what to do, so went into an IT career and then went to university at 24 when I figured out what to do (Speech and Language Therapy). You don't need to know what your are going to be at 16, there's still plenty of time to study and train later.
Man Greek, Latin, Ancient History, A/O Maths Classics Last job was commercial director in Whitehall department; before that, infrastructure finance No idea Be brave - study what you enjoy and don't narrow things down prematurely.
Man English, History, Media Studies Finance Director Journalist Nothing wrong with keeping options open and not having a clear plan to start off with. Be open to ideas. I literally rolled a dice after uni to pick a careee
Man Biology, Psychology, English Literature BSc Psychology, MSc Psychology Research Methods, MSc Information Security PhD Student in Computer Science No idea / Rockstar It feels like these choices are irreversible and will determine the rest of your life but, in reality, there are so many different options and pathways that you will never know about until they open up in front of you. As long as you enjoy and are interested in a subject then you can't go too far wrong.
Man Maths, Physics, Chemistry, English Engineering, MBA, PhD Finance, LLB, LLM Lawyer Cricketer
Man Maths, Physics, Biology BSc Physics and Maths, MSc Radiation Physics, PhD Physics Technical architect designing pan European IT Infrastructures Zoologist Careers evolve, working in IT consultancy is hard work but great experience. I packed it all in when I got to 40 bought some holiday cottages in the Lake District. Now I'm a full time cleaner and landscape photographer. Degrees are fun but a means to an end.
man Philosophy &Ethics, Geography, Business Studies dropped out of a Philosophy degree because of financial constraints. Running Coach I didn't expect to amount to very much if I'm honest. I've also worked as a techno DJ, debt collector, waiter, football steward and various IT based roles from basic first line support through to data warehousing.
Man Maths, Further Maths, English, Physics, German (AS) MEng Engineering (Civil & Structural) Structural Engineer designing major sports stadia & Humanitarian Aid Worker specialising in emergency shelter a lawyer focused on environmental law
Man Geography, History, Maths BA Geography; PhD Professor of Small Business & Entrepreneurship; run a un