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Old 01-23-2013, 12:12 PM   #53
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 2,886


I'll just add my own two cents about your situation, as I'm probably closer to your son's age than yours (I'm in my 20s) and my own father (who is chinese) had very similar motivations as you when I was growing up.

I was never a national-level athlete growing up, but did play hockey at a fairly high level throughout high school (I went to a top-ranked private school in canada) and captained my high school tennis team in Norcal (moved to the united states after grade 11). Your son seems to be a better athlete than I am, at least in tennis, and is putting in roughly the same amount of time into sports as I did in my high school years, if not a bit more. In grade 12 my GPA was #12 or #13 out of a graduating class of 500, and my SAT I scores were the highest recorded up to that point (2350 if memory serves). I did well in APs and on the SAT IIs, but right now I can't for the life of me remember what my scores were or what I even took. Six years later I could care less - it doesn't matter at all.

After graduating from high school, I went back to Canada to go to one of the better-ranked business schools in the country, graduated in 4 years, and got a job at a Fortune 500 company.

Arguably, you could say that I've done pretty well for myself (I now work in marketing and cover professional tennis as a hobby), but the fact remains that I do have certain regrets about not maximizing my abilities and playing hockey or tennis in college (I tried out for my school's tennis team three times and never made it past the second round of cuts). Unlike things such as having a good salary or being a successful professional, this is part of my youth and thus something I can't have back. It's something I'll have to live with. Maybe one day I'll resort to projecting these unfulfilled dreams on my own kids (god forbid), which will create yet another set of problems, but I digress.

You mentioned that your son wants to go into a medical program in undergrad, and that you are "strong enough" to impose your views on him. My parents wanted me to become a doctor too, and I made it clear to them that I was not interested. Please make sure that your son does, in fact, want to study medicine.

Despite doing well and liking academics in general, I find that the emphasis on "what college my kid should go to" and "what major should he/she study" is overrated. As someone who's been through that, I'd advise someone younger to try out a few different summer jobs/internships and talk to professionals in diverse fields even before college so that you can have an idea of what you're good at and what you want/don't want to do. Find career paths that match those criteria, imagine what you want to do at age 30 and work your way back to determine what and where you should study. For things like medicine, the path is fairly straightforward, but not in business, for example. There were a few things I could have done differently to shorten my learning curve, even though I like where I am at right now career-wise. At 18 I had no vision of where I wanted to be at age 30, whereas now I have a fairly good idea. It's never too early to starting thinking about that and taking concrete steps to turn that plan into reality.

Last note: when an employer, especially in my line of work, reads "NCAA Division I athlete" written on someone's resume, that person can assume that the candidate in question has a few important traits like good time management skills, commitment, good work ethic and possibly a valuable social network. That is something worth noting as well. Theoretically speaking, if I had the talent to play Division I tennis, then I would have done everything in my power to make that happen. At least in my case, it would not have hurt my career in any way, quite the opposite actually.

Last edited by thejackal; 01-23-2013 at 12:18 PM.
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