I do both network engineering/consulting as well as training to help others learn that!
Depends on the day! My primary job is to create training videos so that others may learn how to be a network engineer. So it would be a lot of time in my basement, writing notes to scope how the training will go (everything needs a story!), testing things out on equipment to make sure the demonstrations go as planned and then actually recording and editing the video to make it perfect! My secondary job is actual consulting, & I could be anyplace around the world doing a wide variety of things!
Social skills and public speaking skills will help. Confidence is hard to "learn", so that comes over time. I was a journalism major. So technology is all self-taught for me. But I use the journalistic skills to write courses and deliver them so others may learn as well! Teaching something will demonstrate whether you truly know it or not! :)
Here's the first step for high school students
Network engineering does involve a lot of math. Whether working in binary, decimal or hexadecimal numbering systems, it is important to understand and be able to convert between them. So in middle school, I would make sure to not avoid math classes! Even moving up through the advanced courses, there is a certain logic set that is taught irrespective of the exact formulas! For the consulting end, any thespian activities would be greatly beneficial for speaking and confidence!
"I don't think I really received any negative noise along the way. Other than I was always taught to be a productive member of society and always have my eye on ways to improve myself! I think that was very helpful along the way. Never settle."
I would say the most important part is to be yourself. There are lots of studies out now about people's happiness in life. If you aren't doing what you enjoy, and aren't happy, then it's a bigger toll on your health. If you can survive, but be happy, that's much better than thriving and being unhappy! Make an impact. Make a statement! Have a plan. See where you want to be and look at a path on how to get there. Everything starts with a single step!
While we weren't well-off, we always had enough to get by, so I didn't feel many pressures listed. I was an outsider in school though, marching to my own beat. There's nothing wrong with that! Be yourself! And concentrate on making YOU better! :)