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Unsure of what to do after high school

Quite ConfusedQuite Confused Registered User
edited December 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey, I made this alt to post this because I'm a bit self concious, even when there really isn't any need to be. But that's not why I made this thread! I was looking for input on something that has kind of been making my life pretty stressful for the last year or so.

I'm a senior in high school with no clue what I want to do. I'm applying to colleges because that's what my parents expect me to do, but I don't know what I want to study. Furthermore, I am not very excited about schooling of any kind. I am pretty poor about doing my homework in school (which has led my GPA down to somewhere around 2.8) mainly because it is all really boring to me. I'm always told, however, that I just need to buckle down and do it, because better grades will get me into better colleges, which will allow me to do what I want more easily.

But there's the problem, of course. It doesn't motivate me because I don't know what I want to do. So the prospect of not getting into a college doesn't seem that horrifying, although it would be nice not to work for a few years. I don't know what I'm really asking for in terms of help or advice. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else has felt a similar way, or was able to get past a similar feeling at some point.I don't know if I'll really get into any colleges, considering the sorry state of my GPA and not having many extracurricular activities, even though I did manage to get a 32 on the ACT. If that did happen I would probably just take courses at the local community college and take up a part time job.

Like I said, I'm not as sure about what I'm asking for advice on as I was when I started writing, but if anyone could put forth some words from the wise or relate to my problem, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Quite Confused on

Posts

  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    The secret of academia is that you don't have to do it all in one go. My mother, for example, has just gone back to university in her forties to do archaeology, having trained as a graphic designer, and loving it. It's harder to get in as a mature student, but perfectly possible.

    If you don't know what you want to do there is little point in spending a ton of money to do something generic, and if you're not motivated right now you won't be if you carry on in the same vein. Find something you want to do (for which you will be motivated) then pursue it in a few years when you have the money and drive. Bear in mind, though, that you can get qualified in almost anything - grab some prospectuses from various colleges and look at every course and see if something unusual grabs your attention - ideally, you find something you're passionate about now.

    Anecdotally, I have two friends who went to do mathematics at university because they didn't know what they wanted to do but were good at it. One didn't do very well, and after university moved in with his girlfriend while she travelled to Spain and France on a language course, and is currently working customer service. They're talking about buying their first house and I'm pretty sure there'll be marriage soon. The other did very well, got an apprenticeship with an accountancy firm while still in university, is just about to qualify as a fully chartered accountant on a very decent salary, but has become a reclusive alcoholic. Your success in academia does not necessarily equate to satisfaction or happiness.

    Willeth on
    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Unless you or your family has gobs of money, I wouldn't go to college just because that's what you're supposed to do.

    However, most people don't know what they want to do right off. Many change their entire college of study, spending several extra years. So if it's just that you think you should have some grand plan, don't worry about it. But if it doesn't hold any interest for you, try a community college, or work, or get an un/paid internship somewhere.

    Don't know if it's changed over the year,s but I think I had like a 2.5 or something. Did good on the ACT too. Ended up going to a community college for two years and worked, then went off to a university and mostly enjoyed myself.

    MichaelLC on
    Mugsley wrote:
    So now I need to get it trimmed and adjusted, and all in.

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • Akilae729Akilae729 Registered User
    edited December 2010
    Hey, I made this alt to post this because I'm a bit self concious, even when there really isn't any need to be. But that's not why I made this thread! I was looking for input on something that has kind of been making my life pretty stressful for the last year or so.

    I'm a senior in high school with no clue what I want to do. I'm applying to colleges because that's what my parents expect me to do, but I don't know what I want to study. Furthermore, I am not very excited about schooling of any kind. I am pretty poor about doing my homework in school (which has led my GPA down to somewhere around 2.8) mainly because it is all really boring to me. I'm always told, however, that I just need to buckle down and do it, because better grades will get me into better colleges, which will allow me to do what I want more easily.

    But there's the problem, of course. It doesn't motivate me because I don't know what I want to do. So the prospect of not getting into a college doesn't seem that horrifying, although it would be nice not to work for a few years. I don't know what I'm really asking for in terms of help or advice. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else has felt a similar way, or was able to get past a similar feeling at some point.I don't know if I'll really get into any colleges, considering the sorry state of my GPA and not having many extracurricular activities, even though I did manage to get a 32 on the ACT. If that did happen I would probably just take courses at the local community college and take up a part time job.

    Like I said, I'm not as sure about what I'm asking for advice on as I was when I started writing, but if anyone could put forth some words from the wise or relate to my problem, I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Whatever path you take is going to be work. College, especially if you are working to support yourself during your study, can be just as demanding as a full time job.

    With that being said, a large university can be a good place to figure out what you want to do. A couple people in my outdoors club were undeclared, realized they especially enjoyed the outdoors, and switched their majors into environmental sciences and outdoor learning. Alternatively, one of my friends started baking cookies out of her university apartment, wrapped up her degree and now runs an independent bakery.

    In my experience and from the experiences of the people in my life, the hardest part of being successful is determining what you want to be successful at.

    Akilae729 on
    signaturebighe7.jpg
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Akilae729 wrote: »
    Alternatively, one of my friends started baking cookies out of her university apartment, wrapped up her degree and now runs an independent bakery.

    stranger-than-fiction-20070223021310414-000.jpg?

    Willeth on
    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    I was in the same boat as you, though I had a better GPA. Any state school will accept you though, regardless of your GPA, and a strong ACT score will only help you.

    What do you like to do? Do you like computers? Are you good at math? Are you interested in how the world works (from a physical point of view)? Tell us what interests you. This is always a good way to brainstorm what you want to get a degree in.

    College isn't for everybody though, and I will also echo the advice given above. However, when I graduated from highschool I was super unmotivated with academia. I was good at math though, and had some programming experience so I decided to try my hand in Mechanical Engineering. Best decision I ever made. I didn't realize how fascinated with the world I was, and how much I really did enjoy learning science-y stuff. I am now in my first year of graduate school for Aerospace Engineering. I didn't know that this is what I'd be doing 5 years ago, I just picked a subject and went with it. This may or may not work for you, but this was my experience.

    Demerdar on
    y6GGs3o.gif
  • SarcastroSarcastro Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    I've always tended towards the self-fulfillment side of education. When I was fresh out of high school, I was looking to get into shape while making money for college, so I picked the hardest labour job I could find. I was basically getting paid to work out ten hours a day, and after a year I was literally in the best shape of my life.

    Then I decided to learn about the education system, because I knew I was going to spend a lot of time becoming educated. I took a B.Ed, and ran with that for a while. Then theatre, then psychology, really just getting a taste of everything I had an interest in. After school I wanted to make money, so I focused on honing what I was already good at, working with people and computers. At every new turn, I would get a related job or role, learn the crap out of it, get a certfication for that skill, and then move on.

    Years later, I have a dozen or so different certfications and practical experience in each one. I recently have become interested in building and maintaining houses and properties, so I've moved out of soft and technical skills, and into more physical skills; repairing, renovating, wiring, installing, etc. When I am done this particular role, I'll have a journeyman ticket, and I'll likely move on to something related, architecture, or real estate. At some point I will pick up some kind of accounting certification.

    I have always had solid success in picking the thing that I know least about, something that is challenging to do, and then becoming very good at it. One more weakness turned into a strength. Wash, rinse, repeat for a lifetime. It's been working out pretty well, I'd certainly recommend it as a learning strategy.

    Sarcastro on
    Edcrab wrote: »
    "See," said Lucifer, "God's an asshole."
  • Quite ConfusedQuite Confused Registered User
    edited December 2010
    Firstly, I just want to thank everyone for the advice. It's all really well thought out, and it's helping me gather some clarity.
    Demerdar wrote: »
    What do you like to do? Do you like computers? Are you good at math? Are you interested in how the world works (from a physical point of view)? Tell us what interests you. This is always a good way to brainstorm what you want to get a degree in.

    I like computers, and in fact, that's why I went to my school. It has an IT program that's pretty nice, and while I enjoy those classes (mostly programming, but some practical networking thrown in too), I'm still not sure if I would want to go into that field.

    The one thing that I really enjoyed while I was doing it was some volunteer work at an elementary school, and education has always been in the back of my head as something to do.

    After thinking about it some and going over the advice you guys have given in my head, I think I'll bring up the option of going to community college for a while and picking up a job to my parents. I think it'll give me some time to find out what interests me, through taking courses there and other opportunities. Going off to a college seems like a bit of a big commitment to me, and staying here feels like the right thing to do.

    Sitting here and typing this all out has really made me think about all this, and the clarity it has brought is pretty astounding. Deepest of thanks to you guys.

    Now to try and find the courage to finish up a project for AP English my teacher assigned over winter break.

    Quite Confused on
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    The one thing that I really enjoyed while I was doing it was some volunteer work at an elementary school, and education has always been in the back of my head as something to do.

    After thinking about it some and going over the advice you guys have given in my head, I think I'll bring up the option of going to community college for a while and picking up a job to my parents.

    EDU can be good, if you live near a good district or are willing to relocate. Having another set of skills is pretty much required/assumed from what my teacher friends say; Spanish, Art, Kickball, something to make you do the work of two.

    As you look at universities, make sure any credits you take at a CC will transfer. Most gen ed (101 level stuff) will, but always get it in writing.

    More anecdotal on my path - went to college, got a degree in Marketing, but thanks to a chance meeting, ended up in Training. Both of which are often the first to be downsized. Go me!

    MichaelLC on
    Mugsley wrote:
    So now I need to get it trimmed and adjusted, and all in.

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • ED!ED! Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Go to community college. Anyone can get in so long as they graduate from high school or get a GED, and there you can take the classes you want that you think might have an interest for you. The stakes are low, and most CC's have transfer agreements with local colleges/universities - to where it wont even matter what you did in HS.

    ED! on
    "Get the hell out of me" - [ex]girlfriend
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Willeth wrote: »
    The secret of academia is that you don't have to do it all in one go. My mother, for example, has just gone back to university in her forties to do archaeology, having trained as a graphic designer, and loving it. It's harder to get in as a mature student, but perfectly possible.

    Very wrong. After dropping out of high school and getting a GED I spent 13 years just working and fucking around. I was accepted at Portland State University (a pretty decent state school) last year with no problem and they throw TONS of money at me. Literally enough in grants to go for free. It's actually easier as you get older. I'm glad I took the time off as I'm holding a steady 3.75 GPA and loving it.

    By no means do you have to go right into college. Take some time off, enjoy yourself, get some life experience. You'll be better for it.

    I think it's after you're 23 that you can start getting the Pell Grant?

    Esh on
    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • TOGSolidTOGSolid Chief Mixologist of the Shatterdome Tiki Bar Seattle, WashingtonRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    ED! wrote: »
    Go to community college. Anyone can get in so long as they graduate from high school or get a GED, and there you can take the classes you want that you think might have an interest for you. The stakes are low, and most CC's have transfer agreements with local colleges/universities - to where it wont even matter what you did in HS.

    This. Figure yourself out before you get trapped in a degree you may hate.


    I was pretty aimless after high school also. I tried to join the Air Force but got medically discharged during basic due to a burst appendix. Then I tried college but hated it and dropped out. After that I floated around with some friends and worked retail while I got my head together. I then joined the Merchant Marines and fell in love with engine room work, which kinda shocked everyone cause I was never a gear head growing up. That was 5 years ago and I'm about to go sit for my 3rd engineer's license. Booyah.


    Just one thing to remember: Just because you like doing something as a hobby doesn't mean it'll make a good career. Figuring that out ended up costing me a few grand.

    TOGSolid on
  • TigressTigress Registered User
    edited December 2010
    I went to college right after high school and graduated with a BS in computer science right when the IT bubble popped. So I puttered around for the next five years doing customer service and office jobs until I got into Geek Squad. Somewhere between the last office job and Geek Squad, I started taking a new interest in a hobby that I dabbled in during high school and college.

    In high school I started making dolls and doll clothes, then experimenting with making outfits for myself. I'd see something cute on television, but nothing similar was available in the po-dunk town I lived in or any surrounding cities. So I'd make them. Then I got into making cosplay costumes and found I was REALLY good at sewing. So good, in fact, that people offered to pay me to make stuff for them.

    Come next month, my side business will reach its third year. I still work full-time in IT, but the side business brings in a decent side income and lets me write off all my fabric and other sewing related items. :mrgreen:

    Tigress on
    Kat's Play
    On the subject of death and daemons disappearing: arrows sure are effective in Lyra's universe. Seems like if you get shot once, you're dead - no lingering deaths with your daemon huddling pitifully in your arms, just *thunk* *argh* *whoosh*. A battlefield full of the dying would just be so much more depressing when you add in wailing gerbils and dogs.
  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    I was in a similar boat as you when I graduated from high school. I was a fair student, but didn't really apply myself much and coasted by. My school had a drafting class and architecture class, and I took and loved those. So I decided to go to school for that. Well, long story short the college level and the high school level were very different, and I flunked out. I went home, worked some odd menial jobs for a year and decided that I needed to do something else.

    So, I went back to school and got a teaching degree in social studies. Because, I thought that would be a good fit. But, in the end I did not like that either. So I went home and worked some more different jobs. Finally, I decided I had to get out of my familiar area and try something new. So I moved to a different city and got a job.

    7 years later, I still have no idea what I want to do. But I did find a good job that pays well and has solid benefits. I got married, bought a house and.. I just went back to school to get my MBA cause my work will pay for it.

    The moral to the story is, its OK if you don't know what to do with your life. Its a myth that others do! However, life will go on no matter. So, try new things and keep trying to do better, and things will be OK. (for the most part)

    Thundyrkatz on
  • FagatronFagatron Registered User
    edited December 2010
    Firstly, I just want to thank everyone for the advice. It's all really well thought out, and it's helping me gather some clarity.
    Demerdar wrote: »
    What do you like to do? Do you like computers? Are you good at math? Are you interested in how the world works (from a physical point of view)? Tell us what interests you. This is always a good way to brainstorm what you want to get a degree in.

    I like computers, and in fact, that's why I went to my school. It has an IT program that's pretty nice, and while I enjoy those classes (mostly programming, but some practical networking thrown in too), I'm still not sure if I would want to go into that field.

    The one thing that I really enjoyed while I was doing it was some volunteer work at an elementary school, and education has always been in the back of my head as something to do.

    After thinking about it some and going over the advice you guys have given in my head, I think I'll bring up the option of going to community college for a while and picking up a job to my parents. I think it'll give me some time to find out what interests me, through taking courses there and other opportunities. Going off to a college seems like a bit of a big commitment to me, and staying here feels like the right thing to do.

    Sitting here and typing this all out has really made me think about all this, and the clarity it has brought is pretty astounding. Deepest of thanks to you guys.

    Now to try and find the courage to finish up a project for AP English my teacher assigned over winter break.

    If you want to work in a computer-y field, try getting work now. I just got a job at an industry leading Web Applications Security company as a Certified ASS (Applications Security Specialist, I hack the webs). I have some college, but college isn't what got me the job, working in IT for five years did. All three of the founders never went to college, most of my coworkers never completed college. Experience and an ability to think for yourself is worth more than school depending on the company/industry.

    I'm not saying just forget about going to school, I plan on going back soon, after I'm a little bit more settled in at my job, because I don't want to hit a glass ceiling eventually in terms of my advancement; but I haven't ever gone to school without working a full or near full time job in tandem, it works better for you that way, book learning + real world experience is invaluable.

    Fagatron on
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