When you were 15, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Barry Crossno, Friends General Conference

When I was fifteen years old, I wanted to do a few different things. I wanted to be a politician. I wanted to be an industrial designer or design engineer, preferably designing cars. And I wanted to work for a Tibetan Buddhist Lama.

For more of Barry’s story, click here

Diane Randall, Friends Committee on National Legislation:

Oh, a teacher-and I was a teacher. I taught English for four years in public high school outside of Omaha, in Millard Public Schools. I left there to go work for the Nuclear Freeze Campaign-wanting to take a leave of absence, but just assuming I would go back to teaching-and then went from one kind of nonprofit to another. But I really felt a calling to teaching. My mother was a teacher, and we talked a lot about teaching and learning, we talked about motivation and what makes people want to learn.

For more of Diane’s story, click here

Jen Karsten, Pendle Hill:

It was always challenging to me that you were supposed to pick one thing. I always wanted to be able to be everything. When I was 15, I wanted to be free of others’ expectations of me, and at liberty to travel, explore, experiment, get into mischief. I really, frankly, as a teenager, wanted to hit the road and just explore and travel, and I did a lot of that in my teens and early 20s. I didn’t have a “this is what I want to be.” I wanted to be everywhere and see everything and taste everything and leave no stone unturned.

For more of Jen’s story, click here

Shan Cretin, American Friends Service Committee:

I probably wanted to be a scientist of some sort, and I think about the time I was 15, that was probably also when I toyed with being a doctor. My parents did not go to college, but I was pretty clear I was going to go to college. I really liked math and science, and was very inspired by Marie Curie. Actually, around that time, I was also considering being a nun, and I subscribed to the Maryknoll missionary magazines. I was impressed by these pictures of women who were working in slums in Latin America and Africa, among people who were really in need of help in various places around the world, so those were kind of my directions. But I applied to a 6 year MD/bachelor’s program at the University of Texas, and MIT, Rice, and the University of Alabama, and when I got into MIT it was clear that that’s where I was going to go, so that’s what happened.

For more of Shan’s story, click here

Gretchen Castle, Friends World Committee for Consultation:

When I was 15, I lived in Iowa, on a farm. I remember sitting on this hill that was my favorite spot – my thinking spot, my meditation spot. I was sitting there, and I remember thinking, “If I died tomorrow I would feel like I’ve already lived a good life.” At that age, it was remarkable because you know, I hadn’t lived much at all. I think I’ve always sort of filled my days and my life with things that I love doing. I’ve always had sort of an enthusiasm for life.

I never really had a clear direction. I’ve always loved people, and had social skills that have taken me to certain places. My college degree was in human development and social relations. It was an integration of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and human biology. I love that sort of integration of things. My masters degree was psychoeducational processes, which was basically social psychology. What I like to do is bring people together, get clear about what they want to do, and help them do that. It’s really about gathering people and their energy, and using what they have. When I was at Earlham, I had the idea that I might work internationally on behalf of the Planned Parenthood movement. I didn’t do that, but now I get to do international work in what I love doing, which is gathering Quakers, which is another thing that I love doing. That’s probably why I’m so enthusiastic about what I’m doing-it brings together those elements from a younger time of gathering people, working internationally, and gathering Quakers.

For more of Gretchen’s story, click here

Gabe Ehri, Friends Journal:

I was interested in two things when I was 15: science and writing. I thought maybe I wanted to be a journalist, or a scientist, or a doctor, or a journalist who wrote about science -they all did a lot of reading and interpretation.I was interested in two things when I was 15: science and writing. I thought maybe I wanted to be a journalist, or a scientist, or a doctor, or a journalist who wrote about science -they all did a lot of reading and interpretation.

For more of Gabe’s story, click here

Christina Repoley, Quaker Voluntary Service:

I was always interested in doing something to help make the world a better place. Pretty cheesy and vague, but I think that that’s probably where I was when I was fifteen.  My parents were both peace activists and involved in different forms of social justice work, so I think that’s what I assumed and expected I would do in some way. I don’t think that I had a specific career path that I would have said I wanted to be on at that point.

For more of Christina’s story, click here

Drew Smith, Friends Council on Education:

When I was 15, I wanted to be an archivist. I ended up being a history major in college, and I was giving tours at the Shaker village. I wanted to work at the National Archives, and read through and categorize the letters, papers, correspondence of all the famous people we’ve read about in history, and catalogue and put them away. Part of it was the passageways and the places I imagined where these things went and were stored, kind of a peacefulness to it. It was sort of corresponding with history, but also the peace and quiet of what I imagined archival storage to be, like the warehouse at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie where they wheel the Ark of the Covenant in.

For more of Drew’s story, click here

Doug Bennett, Earlham College (Emeritus):

A college professor or perhaps administrator. My senior year in high school we had to do a guidance project in which we did research on a future career, so that I wrote about those. My dad was a chemist for Eastman Kodak. He should have been a college professor; he was a natural born teacher. That was the image that I went off to Haverford with.

For more of Doug’s story, click here

Colin Saxton, Friends United Meeting:

When I was 15, I wanted to be a journalist. I started working for the school newspaper then, and I thought, “That’s what I want to do. I want to write, and I want to be a reporter.”

For more of Colin’s story, click here


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