From meeting their significant other by choosing to eat outside, to becoming an astronomer by picking up a random book from the library, people share a minor event that changed their life forever.
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
Went paint-balling with the rest of my school year in an end-of-exams high school trip. We were getting kitted out with armbands for each team, and my arms were so skinny that the men’s and women’s armbands kept sliding off, so they had to find me a child’s one. The girl kitting me out, who was in my year, looked at me in disgust and said “Ugh, sort yourself out.”
I was so embarrassed I bought a gym membership a couple weeks later. Discovered I loved it, changed my diet and put on 55lbs and I am now looking at army careers, which is a much different career path to what I had planned prior.
Wasn’t particularly looking for another job. One day, I clicked on the ‘easy apply’ button on LinkedIn while bored and now I’m working in a different country.
In 2009 I was waiting tables and noticed the tips were getting smaller, so I applied at a temp agency for more stable money. They placed me as a tech in a hospital, which led to a few nurses taking me under their wing and some unforgettable patients. Now I have been a nurse for 4 years and and realize this is what I was made for.
Went for a run one night, got home, couldnt decide whether to cook or go pick up food. Sat on my front steps debating for a solid 10 minutes. Finally decided to go pick up food. Ended up meeting my husband at the store. Now pregnant with our first baby.
I was 18 sitting in front of a Navy recruiter. He asked me what Id like to do in the Navy and I told him I like driving boats and helping people. There were two jobs and I couldnt decide. They couldnt have been more different from each other. In a nonchalant way he said, just be a hospital corpsman, which is like a field medic. I said ok and 8 years later I was in medical school.
Going into fifth grade we had music teachers demonstrating musical instruments we might want to play next year. I heard a cello for the first time. I decided to play it and now I’m competent in 7 instruments and at age 38 I still play cello in the orchestra.
Volunteered to find a charity activity for my team at work. While I was searching I happened to notice an ad for a small animal shelter. The week before I had a conversation with my best friend about getting out and doing stuff since I felt a bit isolated, so I wrote down the address.
A week later I volunteered at the shelter where I met my wife.
Went to a college fair, saw a college that had chocolate chip cookies at their booth. I’m a sucker for chocolate chip cookies, so I grabbed one, and, not wanting to be rude, took a brochure too. Decided it looked like a fun place to go to school, eventually enrolled there. If I hadn’t gone to that college, I wouldn’t have met my husband.
Decided to go to a metal show in Orlando in 2009. Had already seen the headlining band a month before, but owed my roommate money, so I did him a favor and bought us tickets for this. Ended up next to this really cute girl in the pit. She’s my wife now. Our son is 7 years old.
Skipped work one day and went wandering around the local shopping center. I saw a dog and asked the owner to pet it. I mentioned how well behaved it was and they told me that they went and got it trained at this local training place that I had never heard about. They told me that the training place offered a course to become a certified dog trainer which I’d been interested in for quite some time. I applied the next day and got the job within a week.
Missing one week of school aged 14 (a bad cold or some such). I instantly went from top of my chemistry class to failing because I missed a very important lesson introducing Molecular Compound Ions, and wasn’t able to catch up. I ended up losing my passion for the subject after that. In the end I took more literary/artistic subjects than scientific ones and studied law at university. Maybe things would have been different, but for that event.
When I was in college, I was in an activity housed in a specific department. The department secretary was very nice, so I came to think of her as a friend. When it was time to register for classes, she could sign my advising slip, and then I didn’t have to go stand in line at the advising center. One day, she handed the slip back to me and said “Oh no, I can’t sign for you anymore. I can only do that for underclassmen, and you’re an upperclassman now. I can only do that for upperclassmen if they major in this department.”
Today I have a Ph.D. in that field and am a professor, and have been for twenty years. Before she said that to me, I’d never taken a single class in that area.
In college I decided to get a grilled cheese sandwich to go at the cafeteria but they were out. Guy asked me if I wanted to wait for one and normally Id have said no, but I had some extra time that day. During that time I wandered into the dining hall and saw my friend who waved me over and right as they were getting ready to leave and introduced me to the woman who would become my wife! I never thought waiting for a sandwich would make such a big impact on my life!
I played frisbee one Saturday over ten years ago.
It was the week before finals, I had been studying hard and felt ready for all of them, and enjoyed an afternoon relaxing with friends. As it turns out, due to room scheduling conflicts, finals started on the weekend, and I had forgotten. I missed my final in a class I was otherwise acing. My grade went from an A to a D. The teacher wouldn’t let me reschedule.
I lost my funding, and had to leave the school in my junior year. I had to move back home, leaving a city and friends I had come to love. The course of my life changed that afternoon.
If I hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t have met my wife, wouldn’t have my current career, probably wouldn’t have the same hobbies. It turned out ok, but I always look back at that afternoon and wonder.
When I was 13 I had a really long school bus ride home and would pass the time reading. One day I had nothing to read and was frantically looking for something in the school library before the bus left, and for whatever reason checked out a book on astronomy- it was titled From the Big Bang to Planet X and had a picture of the Andromeda Galaxy on the cover. (I literally never drew a connection between that detail and my fondness for Andromeda ever since until now.)
Anyway, by the time I finished that book, I wanted to be an astronomer- I remember thinking any 13-year-old could grow up be one someday, even if you lived in Pittsburgh. And I am now an astronomer in fact! Its been a long journey, with a lot of things not as an idealistic teenager expects, but overall what a wonderful one. All from picking a random book up at the school library.
When I was in middle school and taking music lessons, the pastor of my parents’ church called to ask if I could play piano for services because their organist was no longer available.
He met me at the church when I went to practice hymns on the piano and stayed to listen. Then he asked if I’d like to try out the pipe organ to see if I could add a few bass notes using my feet on the pedals.
The pastor told my parents that I “took to it like a duck to water,” and offered to pay the total cost for organ lessons and music studies offered by a local university for pre-college prep (including music theory, ear-training, sight-singing and choral technique).
That paved the way for a career in music teaching and performance. All it took was the pastor’s simple phone call asking if I could help out – and the parish, in turn, helped me.
When I was 14 a teacher moved me to a different area of the class for misbehaving. The guys I got put next to became my best friends for the next 5 years and had a huge positive impact on my life, without them my life would probably be completely different.
Without them my social skills and confidence would be much worse and I definitely wouldnt be capable of the job I do now!
My grandmother beat me at checkers. She never ever let me win unless I earned it. She bought me puzzles and always questioned my thinking (planting seeds for philosophy). She baked like a pro. One time even making me a checkerboard cake (after a really hard loss). So I guess it was a lot of small things…
She’s the reason I’m resilient, a problem solver, and so damn good at baking. It’s odd for me to think she has been gone for over half my life (only 31), and yet I think of her daily. Miss you grandma, and thank you for listening during car rides. I know you hear me.
I was a lonely bachelor, sitting in my apartment playing BF1942. Phone started ringing, and I considered not answering. But I did. It was my friend and she was stranded in a parking garage downtown with her friends because her car wouldn’t start. So I drive down, pick them all up and we all went to get food/wait for her dad to come down and help her get her car going. End up chatting up one of her friends. One thing leads to another, now 14 years later we are married with 3 kids. It’s been an adventure for sure. The best of times and currently the worst of times.
I have grown and changed so much in these last 14 years. From single scrub, to married man, to a dad and everything that comes with a family. It’s been amazing. Happiness and heartbreak… I’ve gotten it all and I would be a completely different person if I didn’t picked up that phone all those years ago.
My childhood friend hung around with the wrong people when we were teenagers, and she’s been in and out of jail since then. I could’ve gone down that path as well, but when I was presented with the opportunity to commit a crime (I won’t say what) I flat out refused.
I still remember walking home alone at 4am in the morning after walking away from a bad incident, and trying to talk my friend into coming with me. She didn’t of course, but I’m so glad I walked away from that.
I still feel bad that I wasn’t able to convince her to lead a “normie” life (as she put it) but thinking back on it now, there wasn’t any string of words I could have used that would have stopped her, and I honestly tried. I still am trying.
Back in fifth grade, we had a banking class where we would learn how to write checks/keep a checkbook, handle fake money that we got for performing jobs around the classroom, and manage a budget. At the end of the year, we had an auction where we could bid our savings from the year to get real items.
Halfway through the year, we had a fake stock market. There were five different “companies,” and weekly we would spin a wheel that would determine whether each price would go up or down and by what amount. One company hit a bad streak and just about every kid sold their shares, thinking they were worthless… allowing me to buy them all up and watch as the price bounced back up in the coming weeks, making me a massive amount of fake money.
Fast forward to high school math, I remembered this when we were learning about probability and stats, and decided to explore it further. Now I’m studying to be a finance/investment actuary. Taking my next exam in a couple of hours.
I got put on academic probation at the big university in my hometown so I went to a community college until I graduated with my associates. Got accepted back into said university to finish up my bachelor’s degree but I also got accepted to another university a couple hours away. I ended up going to the one farther away partially because of a girl and partially to get away from my overbearing stepdad. Because of that I ended up with a different girl who eventually became my amazing wife.
In high school history class, the teacher assembled a group to come in early before school to read and discuss the entire 2009 American recovery and reinvestment act, also known as the stimulus package. It was a thousand some page law, and looking back, not a single thing we flagged has been particularly controversial.
But it got me interested in that law, leading me to focus on getting into law school, and then law school out in DC, and now a career as a lawyer, where I actually occasionally still have to deal with that law working in DC.
Last year of my bachelor degree, in a tramway, I listened to some guys talk about studying in Canada (I am from France). The same night I checked out the options for a masters degree in Canada and with no prior idea to study there, I applied. Ended up studying for a year in Montral before coming back to France. I’ve since finished my masters degree and will be moving back to Canada next year, where I intend to find a long term work and start a career. All because I eavesdropped on some random guys on a tramway.
My 8th grade math teacher signing my class approval going into high school. We had to get our teachers to approve what level of classes we were going to take going into high school, basic or advanced. All of the students kept talking about how amazingly hard algebra was going to be and the last thing you wanted to do was sign up for algebra. So when I took my sign up card to my math teacher with basic math checked off, she told me straight up, “No way! You can do this, easy!” So I let her choose advanced math for me. I went on to earn a degree in engineering and have worked in that field for 21 years.
When I was younger, I spent a lot of time in the hospital where my father worked. While I waited for him to finish his shift, I would sift through the National Geographic magazines that he had in his office. I always read the photograph captions and the small articles near the front and back, but not much else.
After my parents separated, those National Geographic magazines turned out to be the only literature I could read living with my father, so I began to read the longer articles. One was about blue holes in the Bahamas… and that’s how I found my interest in geology, which has led to my choice of major in university. The Earth is a fascinating subject, as it’s seen by many to be solid, stable, but is actually ever-changing.
A couple years ago it was popular to make art ‘ask a character’ blogs, so I made one to practice drawing (on tumblr).
A girl with a similar blog invited me to join a Skype group chat.
I’m extremely shy, and coupled with anxiety, I have a hard time making friends, but for the first time ever I joined.
And that’s how I met my significant other, who is pretty much the only reason I’m still alive, out of an abusive relationship, not living in my car, and having a stable job well over minimum wage. They really helped me through a lot, and it’s kind of scary thinking how it would have gone if I had chickened out like usual.
When I was in elementary school, we were bussed over to the high school to see a play. When it was over we learned one of the busses had broken down, so one class would have to stay behind a while so that a bus could drop off one class and return. My class was chosen to stay.
When the high school kids performing the play heard that we were stuck there for a bit they offered to take us all on a little backstage tour. They showed us the dressing rooms and the little scene shop and answered some questions for us. Our bus came soon after, but I had become fascinated.
I went on to do theatre in middle and high school, got a scholarship to college for it and graduated with a BFA in Lighting Design. I’ve worked at regional theatres all over the country, and on Broadway.
I’ve still never forgiven those high schoolers for showing me around that day. I could have been a plumber. Any other job might have allowed me to retire one day.
When I was allowed by my grade school to go take care of the animals in the science lab, cause staff noticed I was being bullied super bad in 5th grade and they wanted there to be something I enjoyed at school. We had guinea pigs, rats, snakes and some other critters.
Well, I ultimately decided to go into veterinary medicine and I have no doubts that that experience helped to shape that decision. Animals helped get me through a rough spot – the least I can do is help them. Been in the field for about 8 years now.