On Three Dream Careers

Most kids play “What do I wanna be when I grow up” games. These usually take the form of some glamorous profession (I was going to star in the NBA then fall back on an Indiana Jones-like career making amazing archaeological discoveries in my retirement from the league). Here are three examples of these types of what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up dream careers coming true.

  1. Soldier-Jonathan wanted to be a soldier beginning in his early teens. He dreamed of being a US Navy Seal, the toughest of the tough. Towards that end, he began training at age 16 for the difficult indoctrination required for that role. He enlisted in 2002, completed his Seal training, and was sent to the Middle East on over 100 covert missions during the Iraq War. There, he became a hero, rescuing wounded comrades and winning the Bronze Star and the Silver Star. Over the past 20+ years, Jonathan completed Officer Candidate School and had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Navy.
  2. Doctor-Young had exemplary grades in high school. Advanced Placement classes were easy for him. In addition, he was on the swimming water polo teams. After an undergraduate degree from the University of San Diego in 2012, Young was admitted to the prestigious Harvard Medical School where he also excelled. From anything in the medical profession to choose, Young decided to specialize in Emergency Medical Care, and, after his internship at Massachusetts General Hospital (I wonder if he met Dr. Charles E. Winchester, III?), Young finished his medical education. His supervisor during his time as an intern and the head of the hospital ER, Dr. David Brown, said about Young, “He is absolutely fearless–which a good ER doctor needs to be–a remarkable young man, fiercely committed.”
  3. Astronaut-Kim remembers being the shy kid growing up who lacked the confidence he saw in others. However, he dreamed big. He majored in mathematics in college and received his degree. After his college career, Kim took a chance and applied to NASA’s astronaut program. But he knew that he would have to also learn to fly, so he took flying lessons and completed his solo flight in the late 2010s. Out of 18,000 applicants, he was chosen for astronaut training. He entered NASA’s program in August 2017. Kim completed two years of training (training in technical and operational instruction in International Space Station systems, Extravehicular Activities (EVA) Operations, T-38 flight training, robotics, physiological training, expeditionary training, field geology, water and wilderness survival training, and Russian language proficiency training) in 2019. He will be one of the astronauts going to the moon later this decade. 

Dream jobs and career paths, right?

Most people never follow their dreams, much less follow such amazing career paths such as these three descriptions.

Would it surprise you if I told you that the three people described to you came from the same Korean immigrant family in the United States?

And would you believe me if I said that all three of these descriptions are of the same person–39 year old Jonathan “Jonny” Young Kim?