• Question: Do you feel teachers should help you follow your dreams instead of 'stearing you in the right direction'. My tutor crushed my dreams of being an atronaut :(

    Asked by rocket to Ed, Keith, Tish, Nicola, Rachel on 17 Mar 2013.
    • Photo: Natasha Watson

      Natasha Watson answered on 17 Mar 2013:

      Heya! I think teachers should try and do both. It is a good idea to have a couple of options for a career when your dream is to do something as popular and competitive as becoming an astronaut just in case it doesn’t work out. As there are so many different types of engineering with different entry requirements I didn’t need to think about alternatives to engineering, but I did have a variety of back up Universities with lower entry requirements.

      So i was curious what you needed to do to be an astronaut too so here is a good paragraph i found below…

      “A high level of education in scientific or technical disciplines, coupled with an outstanding professional background in research, application or education fields possibly supported by the use of computer systems and applications, is essential. Previous experience with aircraft operations is a bonus, particularly if it involved responsible tasks such as being a test pilot or flight engineer. The more skills and experience an applicant has the better, as this will increase their ability to undertake a variety of tasks.” that quote is from here:http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Astronauts/How_to_become_an_astronaut

      So if I was going to do this, I’d try and get into the RAF (Royal Air Force) cadets or ATC (Air Training Corps) and look to do and engineering or science degree to a really high level (like a doctorate). After that, I’d build up a number of hours flight experience, possibly with the OTC (Officer Training Corps) whilst at Uni. I’d probably sign up to join the RAF after Uni for a certain number of years, then the RAF might even pay some of the University fees. There are physical limitations as well with eyesight and height which I’d fail personally (cos I’m 5 foot tall and am short sighted) but you might be alright.

      Some more websites which might help: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/postsecondary/features/F_Astronaut_Requirements.html

      Hope this helps!

    • Photo: Edward Taylor

      Edward Taylor answered on 18 Mar 2013:

      Hey Rocket, I think you have to look at this one differently! When people give you advice about your future, you will always have people who advise you to take a more secure route, and those who will encourage you to follow your dreams and take the riskier route. I think in life you need both, to give you a complete picture of your options, all the risks and the rewards associated with both paths. In the end it is your responsibility alone to decide what you do with all the information and advice people give you, so no one person should ever be able to crush your dreams!

      Teachers will always have your best interests at heart, and will tend to advise the safer option towards a more secure job. I therefore think it is right that your tutor has given you that point of view. Friends, maybe parents, or role models will provide the argument for the direction of following your dream and you need to hear about both options!

      As far as becoming an Astronaut goes, Natasha has summed the requirements up nicely! I think it would be quite difficult, there have only ever been 6 british astronauts! BUT the UK space program is growing, with new manned spacecraft like the Skylon reusable space shuttle on the way http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylon_%28spacecraft%29 so by the time you are old enough who knows! As it happens I think it is a relatively risk free direction. To become an astronaut you have to get a high level of education as Natasha says, Aerospace Engineering would be a good start (I studied rocket propulsion at university, the European space agency even came to one of my lectures to see if anyone was interested in becoming an astronaut!!). If you didn’t make it as an astronaut, you would still have a very good degree and very good job prospects anyway as a fall back.

    • Photo: Nicola Lazenby

      Nicola Lazenby answered on 18 Mar 2013:

      Hi – Both Natasha and Ed have given quite detailed answers to your question….. what I’d like to add is, only you can truly make your dreams happen. If your teacher doesn’t support you’re dreams, get out there and find someone who does! There maybe another teacher at school who has an insight or appreciation as to what you want to do! Do your own research, look for things that can take you one step further.

      My dream is to host a show like Grand Designs – all my friends and colleagues laugh and say ‘As if that will ever happen!’, but you can’t reached your dreams if you don’t try hard enough! Look at the steps to getting where you want to be and start climbing them. Your not going to leave school and the next day be sent to the moon, but you could start something to get yourself on the way there 🙂