In 1978 at high school, I was asked by my careers adviser what would be my dream job? I told him flatly that I would love to be an Astronomer. He literally laughed. By the time I reached 30, I started my own business teaching Astronomy & Astrophysics via a planetarium. So I now can say I'm a professional astronomer as I teach it as a living. Also helped to form an observatory at Canterbury High School and currently working on two others.
Teachers don't tend to laugh at their pupils with ambition any longer, I hope parents don't either. From personal experience, it is extremely demoralising and depressing. The opportunities today are much more varied and achievable - please ignore anybody that laughs and just quietly pursue an ambition anyway, but be realistic too. If one path doesn't work out, drop it, another will surface later. Don't forget Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Neil Armstrong, Marie Curie were all children once with an ambition to do something big. They were all quiet as children but had big thoughts and ideas.
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