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Four County Vocational School

Cathy Said:

Do I still have a chance of getting into MIT or Caltech or CMU?

We Answered:

You honestly sound like you're on the right path. I would suggest being both a well rounded student AND distinct from everyone else. As far as SATs go, try to get a score of at least 2200. MIT is a very competitive school to get into, but you definitely have a good chance. Just make sure you have a very high GPA - AP courses are good, but they'll mean nothing if you don't do well in them.

Don't listen to PE2008...you're only a Sophomore. You definitely have a chance.

Mildred Said:

What career path should I INVEST myself into?

We Answered:

i also have a misdemeanor. Hit and run w property damage but they only gave me 1 yr probation to maintain good record which it was easy for me to do because all my life i had clean record. I dont even have parking tickets. Anyways, I just got enrolled in a school. I'm taking Respiratory therapy. Its not as strict as nursing. I called the state board to ask if I can obtain a state license eventhough i have a misdemeanor and they told me yes. It will take awhile to get my exam date because they have to verify my record and get an explanation from the court. They said as long as theres no person, drugs, robbery, criminal charges involved I should be fine. But I have to finish my probation, any obligation to the court and fees/fine before I can take my state exam. Eventhough I will expunge my record they will still see it because state licensing is strict and they do extensive background check up but as for applying a job, once i expunge it they wont be able to see it...

You should try Respiratory therapy or Radiology technology because I called the state licensing place and I got a thumbs up.

Goodluck...

Gene Said:

Intelligent and driven, but with a checkered past: What career direction should I go?

We Answered:

My first thought is that, given your history, whichever field you choose, one key question your next employer will have is, are you a good member of your community? Are you a "taker" or a "giver?" Will you work constructively as a team member in your career, or will you be demanding and self centered?

One great way to address this, and not at all incidentally to help with any depression and stress, especially while you're out of work, is to volunteer quite a lot. That will give you a chance to prove that you're generous, reliable, diligent, and cooperative. Giving of yourself is one of the best ways to cope with depression and stress as well. It's also a great way to broaden your networking circle to people who may be able to help you with your career. I understand (or expect, at least) that it might be a time challenge, given your baby, but it'll also give you a chance to get out of the house, and leave your wife some time alone (with the baby.)

Keeping yourself busy is vital during this period, as well. At the very least, regular volunteering will help fill the employment gap on your resume, keeping away questions an employer might have like, "was he really in prison for the past 6 months?" It will also give you plenty of people for your references section who will be happy to vouch for your character.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, as you know, this is likely to be a VERY stressful time for your marriage. Just keep it in mind, and keep communicating with your wife, acknowledging each other's frustrations every day. Truly, if this period doesn't kill your marriage, it will make it stronger. Talk, Talk, Talk - and more important, Listen, Listen, Listen. Even if you can't do anything about a particular irritant, the mere fact that your spouse understand and cares can be a huge comfort.

My first thought as a career choice would be to pick a field that's growing. Psychiatric care is perennially underfunded, however. I'd look into health care options that will grow with the aging population. If you're a quick learner, good with details, you might get into health care record keeping, a field that will explode starting very shortly if Obama's electronic health care records drive gains funding (which seems inevitable.) If you get into a field that's growing quickly, employers will have no option but to be more forgiving of bumps in your past. Plus, since the field is new, no one will be a lot more experienced than you, so you can advance quickly too.

Another sadly growing field you might consider is care of autistic kids. I don't know much about that, but it might be right up your alley, especially if you're a right brain type with your artistic leanings. At the very least, you can use your art skills to either volunteer or as an entry into art therapy for autistic care, stroke victims, perhaps brain injured vet therapy, etc. If you prove yourself as a volunteer for a few months, getting to know professionals in the field, your history may not matter any more, since they'll know what they're getting.

If you don't know where to start, and you live in a reasonable sized city, you might consider just showing up at a VA hospital and saying, I'm here to help, what can I do? (At the very least, volunteering in a patently patriotic way will help with any right-wing-judgmental future boss, the kind who might be particularly critical of your spotted past.)

Sorry for this sprawling answer. I hope you'll find something useful in there.

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