Two Sentences Worth Memorizing

To high school students everywhere, here are two sentences worth memorizing for those two questions you always get from well-meaning adults.

Q1: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Your response: What did you want to be when you were sixteen?

At sixteen, I was certain I was going to be a theoretical physicist. Came awfully close, too. There are a few, like my wife, who knew at sixteen what they wanted to be. But it’s by far the exception.

Q2: (For the current and future music majors) What are you going to do with a music degree?

Your response: What is your degree in? Was it in the work you do now?

Most people I know do not work in the field they earned a degree in. Human life trajectories are too complex for a clear view of the future. A degree in music will prepare you for the career you will have roughly as well as any other major; and if you’re passionate about music, you’ll be enjoying your work as you prepare for wherever life takes you.