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20, have no direction, any suggestions?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by breakfasteatre, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. breakfasteatre

    breakfasteatre Senior member

    Messages:
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    So, the past couple of years, i have been all over the place.

    Out of highschool, i took a year off to work and save money.

    After that year, i went away to university for molecular biology and genetics

    i feel that i am pretty intelligent

    The summer after first year, i moved out of my parents house with my girlfriend in northern toronto. I transfered to the university down finch and for a little over a semester went to school there.

    Because my grades were not stellar at the first university, i was just an arts student, but was enlisted in the classes of a biotechnology undergrad

    During my reading week in second semester, i had somewhat of an epiphany that academia didnt seem to be for me (i was not doing well at all living on our own and going to school). My marks sucked, i would probably fail a class or two at the end of the year. I has absolutely no motivation, no passion.

    I decided that, i loved cooking, i love food, ill try something hands-on in the way of the cullinary arts. I was fortunate in that before i ever went off to college for cullinary arts/skills, i was able to stage at a very influential and cutting edge restaurant in toronto

    picture for affect:

    [​IMG]

    Like anyone starting out in the cullinary world, i was worked like a dog. And i wasnt paid! I had alot of fun, i met alot of great people, i really liked everyone there and feel like i came out of it with a better understanding of where i should be in life. It wasnt the hard work that turned me off, it was the realization that the cooks i was working with were not necessarily there by choice. Most of them started out as dishwashers, and eventually became cooks over time. They didnt have the opportunity to go to school, take advantage of their intelligence.

    I do, and i have realized that the life of a cook or a million years from now, a chef is not the life i want to lead.

    But what i want to do, i have not the faintest of ideas. I could go back to school for the sciences, i could pursue other directions such as industrail design, art, computer science, but i dont know how i can decide. I feel as if all i have known since grade 11 when i was choosing my grade 12 course selections thinking that i wanted to be a dentist is science. I have many interests, and i am a very intelligent guys, i just dont know how to utilize my intelligence, how can i come about some realization?

    I am currently at a pretty cushy job as a bartender working 3 nights a week and making enough money that i dont worry about money. I could easily pick up more shifts during the week and live pretty comfortable. But i dont want to turn into one of those restaurant Lifers.

    i dont even know what im asking, but how can i make a decision about my future easier? this is killing me. I have spent several days so depressed, so emotional because i am stuck, and im asking a messageboard i lurk on for some help!
     
  2. Stax

    Stax Senior member

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    I dropped out of college after two semesters, straight out of high school. I didn't want to be there and my grades reflected that fact.

    It was the smartest decision I've ever made. I eventually went back, as a 25 year old, and was an A student. At that point, I wanted to be there and it beat the hell out of working as a line cook and bartender, jobs I also held. I definitely made the most of my delayed undergraduate education and, later, graduate education. Had I stayed in school, I would have skated through and wasted a hell of a lot of money on an education I frankly didn't deserve at the time.

    You are young. Enjoy it. You will find your way if finding your way is important to you.
     
  3. LSeca

    LSeca Senior member

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    i dont even know what im asking, but how can i make a decision about my future easier? this is killing me. I have spent several days so depressed, so emotional because i am stuck, and im asking a messageboard i lurk on for some help!
    I commend you for being so aware of the situation at your age, just having this insight puts you ahead of many other 20yr olds out there. Do not be depressed as I think most of us, at one time or another, feel "stuck" or feel we have not taken the right path. This is very natural and part of growing and finding your niche. I hate to sound so cliche, but hang in there and things will work out. I wish I could offer more insightful advice, good luck to you.
     
  4. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    Recession, Baby
    You sound like you need some soul searching. Everyone of us needs a higher call in life for our motivation - whether that be literature, money, family, religion, science, etc.,. Take some time off, read a book, travel a bit. Figure out what your higher call in life is - why YOU should exist as a human being. If you get a glimpse of what that is, hold on to it. That idea will develop itself into a career path, and more importantly, a life path.

    I'm now 27 and in law school. I probably went through this process when I was in my junior and senior year of undergrad; probably at about your age. I read a lot, travelled a bit, drank a lot, and fortunately met some wise people whose influences affected me a great deal. I wandered for another 3 years through life working different jobs just to make a living; but this gave me a lot of time to read and reflect. Remember that glimpse of higher calling I mentioned earlier? This was cemented, and I found my calling in life. I am now very certain about my career path, and to a more limited extent, my life path. Having a clear idea on what I want to do and where I want to go, I now need to work hard and acquire the experience that one can only get through living. One day, I'm sure I'll look back and think that I had travelled a good road.

    All this sounds fluffy, but to me it is. I hate those life motivation books. You can't turn the process of internal reflection into a science. So, I hope this gives you a look at what someone else went through.

    Best advice someone who I consider to be a mentor gave me: "Don't get stuck in a rut."
     
  5. EL72

    EL72 Senior member

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    Best advice someone who I consider to be a mentor gave me: "Don't get stuck in a rut."

    This is indeed good advice. Whatever you do, keep moving, learning, growing. People change careers more frequently and at later stages these days. If it's any consolation, I teach at the university you quit and I still don't know what I want to do with the rest of my life. I will probably be doing something else within the next couple of years and I have no idea what. [​IMG]
     
  6. AnotherVictim

    AnotherVictim Senior member

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    Newport Beach, CA
    I have to say, this thread may have just completely changed the course of my life. I find myself in a similar situation: I have been doing music most of my life and am currently a Performance major. However, ever since I can remember, I never went through school for myself, but more of because it's just what was expected of me. Because of this, I never really had the chance to find myself and figure out, of my own accord, what I wanted from an education.

    Recently, after two years of debating with myself, I decided on taking a very conservative course of action (to switch majors to undeclared) but after reading through this thread, I think a break is in order for me instead.

    I wish you luck in finding your true passion sir.
     
  7. skalogre

    skalogre Senior member

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    Good luck. But a caveat. You may get yourself so used to being outside of school later on that it will take some significant effort to reacquaint yourself with the mindset and motivation required.
     
  8. cmrocks

    cmrocks Senior member

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    Vancouver, BC
    I went right into college after highschool. Things went fairly well for me for the first semester then I just crashed after that. I hated where I was, I hated my classes, I wasn't making many friends, I was depressed etc etc. I made the decision to stop attending after that first year. My parents weren't happy at all but they understood. I had plans of working for a few years, doing some travelling and then going back to school. As it turns out, after working for a year, I found what I really wanted to do. I came back to school and everything has been great since. I've had a great time and I know the path I want to follow.

    I honestly think that, more than anything, I just grew up a bit in my time off. I'm not saying that you need to do the same as you sound quite mature in your post. I'm just saying that maybe more time just needs to pass? For me, things just seemed to click into place as I got a bit older and started to experience more. I'm still really young, I'm only 20, but the difference between myself now and when I first started college at 18 is huge. I'm not even the same person. Maybe you just need a chance to experience more first before you can really decide on what is important to you in life.
     
  9. AnotherVictim

    AnotherVictim Senior member

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    Good luck. But a caveat. You may get yourself so used to being outside of school later on that it will take some significant effort to reacquaint yourself with the mindset and motivation required.

    This is a good point, but I think you'd really have to weigh out and see if the risk (chance of not being able to find a rhythm) is smaller than the current problem (not having a rhythm now).
     
  10. skalogre

    skalogre Senior member

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    This is a good point, but I think you'd really have to weigh out and see if the risk (chance of not being able to find a rhythm) is smaller than the current problem (not having a rhythm now).

    Of course [​IMG]
     
  11. chobochobo

    chobochobo Senior member Moderator

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    Hong Kong
    Best advice someone who I consider to be a mentor gave me: "Don't get stuck in a rut."

    Sometimes I feel that I'm in a rut. Parts of my job I enjoy, parts of it I hate - I particularly dislike my boss. I'll be taking a set of professional exams in the winter that will make me a fully qualified whatever I am, then I'll take stock again of what I have and want to do. I want to be able to say to myself that at least I gained closure over that part of my life/career. I would love to be a student again, reading Law at my alma mater.

    So, you're not the only one to have these feelings [​IMG]
     
  12. migo

    migo Senior member

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    I normally wouldn't recommend this to anyone (since I'm going through it, and it's really tough!) but have you ever thought of going into Engineering? I feel like if you got into something that would challenge you (a lot) you'd be able to stick it through!

    Either way, good luck on your decisions! I'm sure you'll fare well enough!
     
  13. AdamG

    AdamG Senior member

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    New Zealand
    Read Plato's Republic or Marcus Aurelius' Meditations.

    Helped/Helps me.
     
  14. Homme

    Homme Senior member

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    I think EL's advice to 'keep moving, learning, growing' is spot on.

    I've been in a rut for the last couple of years ... started a computer engineering degree right after school; did well for the first 2 years then got sick of the shitty teaching and other students, 99% of whom were void of anything even remotely resembling a personality. Decided to stick it out (just so i could call myself an 'engineer'), and what should have been a 4 year course has turned into 6 years of failing subjects. It feels as though all i have ever done is gone to uni during the week, and worked in retail on weekends .. no mans land.

    I'll be finishing this year, and have decided to move to London to work for a year, to get out of home for a bit and for some sort of life experience.

    Every individual is the architect of his own fortune.
     
  15. most_def

    most_def Well-Known Member

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    Arlington, VA
    I don't think you're stuck at all! You have a passion for something (cooking) and that's all you need. Some people don't have that, now those are lost souls. But you are already treading towards life in the culinary world, i say stick with it. And I think the reason why you feel so stuck is because you're afraid of committing to this gut feeling you have inside of you. Just trust it and go for it. If you have passion for something, the doors will open on your path, just get after it!
     
  16. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    greater chicago
    what about travel?

    or, better yet, the army?

    don't rush into a life long career, get to know what you like and dislike.
     
  17. dhc905

    dhc905 Senior member

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    San Francisco
    One of the wiser bums on the EL has told someone in a similar position to yourself,
    "go kill yourself motherfucker".

    Except instead of asking advice the 20 listless youth was asking for change (or demanding, not sure), so I'm not sure how useful this may be for you.

    I have no opinion myself, except that making a lot of money never hurts and is a pretty good stop-gap soltuion for boredom.
     
  18. Rome

    Rome Senior member

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    Reads like you're creative, may want to explore different venues to nurture that. Don't discount school as a way of exposing yourself to things you wouldn't otherwise even if doesn't lead to an applied degree. Personally I don't believe anyone was meant to do anything, accept that you may never find a "calling". Life is moreso its vicissitudes than the concrete definitions you try to give it, like "job".
     
  19. Manny Calavera

    Manny Calavera Senior member

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    Location:
    New York
    I dropped out of college after two semesters, straight out of high school. I didn't want to be there and my grades reflected that fact.

    It was the smartest decision I've ever made. I eventually went back, as a 25 year old, and was an A student. At that point, I wanted to be there and it beat the hell out of working as a line cook and bartender, jobs I also held. I definitely made the most of my delayed undergraduate education and, later, graduate education. Had I stayed in school, I would have skated through and wasted a hell of a lot of money on an education I frankly didn't deserve at the time.

    You are young. Enjoy it. You will find your way if finding your way is important to you.


    This is great advice.

    While not much older than you, I've been through a similar situation. I initially went to UVA for creative writing before, a year and a half later, I realized I was wasting my time there. I quit school to work on a graphic novel. It was hell. I was working two full-time jobs and then coming home and trying to write. I live in rural VA, didn't have any close friends, no money, was depressed, etc. It was tough but it's what I thought I needed to do. And eventually....all that work payed off and I got a book deal. That allowed me to dabble in music (my other creative outlet). A couple years later here I am getting ready to attend Berklee on a presidential scholarship for electronic music composition. Never in a million(/billion) years would I have ever imagined myself going to school for music, much less going back to school, which I've traditionally loathed; I'm extremely excited about actually learning, not just going through the steps to get a piece of paper.

    You have to realize everything isn't going to happen in an instant. I'm 22 years old and these last four years have felt like a lifetime, however in the grand scheme of things I'm ahead of the curve because I've been focused. Just stick to whatever interests you and have a plan. It doesn't need to be constricting or epic. Just little sub-steps in any direction you please. Pursuing anything and everything that interests you is not a bad thing. And if think you're barking up the wrong tree, just abandon it. You owe nothing to anyone, especially not some prideful ideal of progress. As long as you're happy and healthy, that's all that matters.
     

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