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How do I change myself?

ClippedClipped Registered User regular
edited November 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey guys.

I'm 17 years old, in my last year of high school, and I'm not doing so well. I never really had to apply myself in school up until like, last year. Since I was 4 years old, I have always gotten A's in school, not ever remembering having difficulties with schoolwork. Hell I would have to make it hard by putting off whole projects until the last day, just because (I have found) that I work well under pressure, and if I'm not under pressure, I can't be helped to do it.

It has finally caught up with me. University applications are just around the corner (I'm in Ontario, so it may be different how we apply to post-secondary educations up here than in the States), and my marks are absolute fucking garbage. I guess it's because of a lot of things; never really having to apply myself (I think) is a major one, along with no study habits ever really picked up. Basically throughout high school I've been more focused on doing things that interest me (reading books, playing music, WoW, friends, my girlfriend, you name it) than on things like school. I got a high 70s average throughout high school (80 is the equivalent of an A, my cousin says its different in the States; where he lives, any way) with minimal effort. Sure I put it where I needed to, with major projects, exams and what not, but for the most part, I slacked off.

I'm getting all mid-50s in my first semester (all univeristy level courses; Canadian Law, Data Management, Philosophy, and English), save for Philosophy, which I am getting 90 in. I don't know. I know I want to get into University, it seems like a lot of fun and a very significant experience, something I want to do in my life. But I have no fucking desire to go to high school anymore. None. It has to be done to get into uni, but I just lost interest in going to that godforsaken building day in and day out. Nothing is interesting there.

I have few friends, all of which your typical weed-smoking slackers, like me, but I don't do that as much. All still love videogames, though they still all play WoW, I have quit and do NOT want to get back into it until I know for certain I won't let it distract me from schoolwork. My girlfriend (first one), although we both have shit we deal with, we get along very well, and I guess you could say are in love. I know (believe me) that sounds very cliche, and if you asked me a year ago I would be professing this to the PA forums about some girl I met at a party, I would've been in stitches, but it's true. I really do love her; she helps me whenever I need, even if she is dealing with shit, and she comforts me and reassures me a lot.

I don't know how to get motivated for school. I want to go to university, and I want to get motivated, I am just not enthusiastic about going there and doing it. My parents tell me I'm afraid of hard work, which sounds pretty reasonable, but I do work quite a lot at my job, and I don't know, I never was really afraid of difficult things.

This whole "me doing bad at school" thing could not have come at a worse time, too.

Last year, around this time, I was feeling horrible about my whole existence. Same ol' stuff happenning now, just had no girlfriend, and was still doing well in school, and never really did anything. Had many nights where I would wake up ALWAYS at 4:12 am, same time, every night for close to 5 months, and some nights (most in fact) I could not, for the life of me get back to sleep. Went in to see the doctor, he immediately noticed how I was acting oddly, mopey etc., which really is not who I am. I am an energetic funny happy person overall, just was acting odd. Got blood work done, turns out I had a mild case of clinical depression. I saw a therapist for about 5 months, and in that time, I made friends, completely changed how I approach school, meeting new people, life in general really, and my doctor was just a great person.

By the end of it, I was happy, people were saying hi to me, got invited to go to parties, I was pleased to go to school, and met my girlfriend!

The summer goes by: I have a major surgery, so I can't go out much, but my girlfriend comes over all day, and I play WoW with my friends nightly, hanging out with them occasionally, and work mostly.

Back to school, and I slack off.

My parents confronted me last week on my lack of motivation to go to school, and why I was behaving "like I used to". I (haven't done this in the longest, but it happened) just broke down. I got completely self-destructive, saying very irrational and stupid things about why I hate myself (which, after a lot of thought, I could proabbly say with confidence I never really enjoyed the person I was, and although I never really made an effort to change who I was becoming, I did not like who I Was turning into), why I have no friends, no nothing waah waah poor me.

I apologized for my actions, but it was only after my mother rushing home from work because she was afraid I would do something, and my girlfriend crying at me how she can't handle having a mother with bipolar disorder and me acting like this did I apologize and see what the fuck I was doing to everyone. I realized how selfish I was acting, and I want to change.

It's getting to the point where I say really stupid things, get down on myself, and have no one to pick me up unless I do something completely insane (how I think about it, anyway). My girlfriend is kind of weird like that. When she gets mad at someone, she (as her friends say) takes it to a whole new level in terms of mean-ness. She told me "no one likes me, I'm embarassing, how do you function, you're a joke, etc." which really don't bother me because I know how she gets, and she always tells me otherwise how good I am to her, how I put up with this shit, and how we get to joke around alot, something she really wanted. But when I'm going through shit like htis, I don't know, some days it just fucking hurts. I don't want her to see it, because I fear she would break up with me over it, because she has to deal with her mom being even more fucked than I am (her mother has been hospitalized on several occasions, and while her dad is great to the kids and handling the whole thing, its a real strain on their entire family.)

I love that girl to death, but she hurts me, and I want her to stop saying shit, but she only does when I piss her off. How do I tell her that without her wanting to end this all because she'll think I'm her Mom? I don't want it to end, and Lord knows she doesn't (we are so great otherwise).

This whole ordeal is tearing my family a part. My brother is a selfish kid, gets into a lot of trouble at school and stuff, and my parents have to deal with htis a lot. On top of that, I get pretty careless at home, don't help out as much as I should, and I guess I am unappreciative of where I am in life. My parents both grew up in Poland, and I don't think I need to let you guys know how thigns were after XII over there.

ANyways, help and advice forum, I don't know what the point of this thread was for, really. Just to vent I guess. I don't really expect anyone to read this wall of text, but if you do, thanks. Not really expecting any replies, but I've always held a certain respect for the opinions of random strangers on the internet who take the time to read the ramblings of some teenager who thinks too much (or so I've been told).

TL;DR version:

I can't concentrate, and hate myself. It's beginning to affect the relationship I have with my family, friends, and girlfriend. What the fuck do I do?

Clipped on


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    raelek1337raelek1337 Registered User new member
    edited November 2007
    I'm not sure if this advice helps, but I hope it does:

    1) From reading the above post, you sound like a good person, and that means a lot.
    2) It also sounds like you've only been doing badly in school recently. Not only are universities understanding about tough times, and willing to overlook a bad semester in an otherwise great kid, but you still have plenty of time to make up your grades. Plus you're taking university level courses, which is worth something all by itself. All is not lost.
    3) You recognize you need to do something, and that's the hardest part.
    4) Talk to your teachers about what's been going on in your life, and explain to them that you're going to try harder, that this is a kind of second chance. It can't hurt, and it could really help. Ask about extra credit.
    5) The trick to staying motivated in school is to engage with the subject material. If a reading interests you, do follow up reading on it. Try to find students who are passionate about a class, and try studying with them. You may make new friends, and at the very least it will help your grades.
    6) I can't tell you what to do about your girlfriend, but if someone makes you happy you should be with them, and if they don't, it may be time to move on.
    7) Life gets better. Sometimes it may not seem that way, but it really does. Hang in there, and a year from now you'll look back and be amazed at how things have changed for the best.

    raelek1337 on
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    ClippedClipped Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    any type of response helps. thank you, raelek1337 for reading it and responding.

    Clipped on
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    TopiaTopia Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Well you seem to eb over your anger issues, at least it came to me that way, like you've realised you've been acting like a cunt and righted that. Thats cool.

    As for your school issues, dude, I know exactly what you're talking about. Up to grade 12 I had easy easy marks. Grade 12 comes along and I slack off. I did a bit better than you (still good for never ever doing homework or paying attention) coming out with low 70's in most classes, 80 or so in physics. I stopped and looked at myself and said, "wait a minute, what the fuck did I just do?"

    Trust me man, I know you might hate it, second semester is coming up, just put a tiny bit more effort into it. You might hate it, it might depress you at times, but if you're looking at your future, you want to get about 70's instead of 50's. Most universiies, while leaniant about a bad semester here or there, still want a high average to let you in. Luckily, if you're looking to get into a course with a high GPA requirment, you usally have to spend some time in a bachelors course before you can transfer into your prospected major.

    I just applied for university, today actually, and am in anticipation. I honestly am not worried, I had about 75 average currently applying for a faculty that wants a competetive average of 70% (which is pretty norm, especially for canadian colleges and universites, I applies to the UofA with is rated #1 in canada in almost every category). Plus, all colleges will allow for you to write some sort of essay along with your applicaiton. If you smartly word your situation, taking the college level courses, and mention that (these courses you took in grade 11) were the last classes you took at a high school level they very likely will look at those.

    But, it can never hurt to try harder in your next semester.

    I know I went through some depression-like stages in my life, I hated everone and everything, and all I did was go around and tell people how I felt. I told people that I hated that I hated them. I told the girl I loved that I loved her (she knew, but I had to anyway). I quit pretending to like things (job, acitvities with friends) that I hated. I dont' know if any of this applies to you, and it may sound very "cliche-counselor" but it worked for me.

    As for your girlfriend, just sit her down, and the first thing you want to tell her, is what you DON'T want her to think. In this case, you don't want to sound like her mom? Say, "I don't mean to sound (insert a adjective she uses to describe her mom), but..." Don't actually say "I don't want to sound like your mom," because that may sound like an attack. I've had a lot of problems lately with my girl, and this usually work for me. Your girlfriend sounds mostly easy-going, but sometimes just has to release her emotions, a lot like mine. But really? Be honest. Tell her that sometimes she says [these things] but really [you think this]. She cares about you I imagine? If you bring it up yourself, and not just talking about this because she said "OMG I M FAT!", and naturally the boyfriend responds with "no you're not," then she's a lot more likely to take in what you say, and not just think "he's just saying that to make me not feel bad.." (I just re-read that last sentence, I hope it makes sense to you)

    Basically, you sound a lot like I was when I was 17, just about 2 years ago, and, I can't agree more with what raelek said, life does get better. Once you get out of high school, I think you'll be really happy. I took two years off (this is my second now) of school, and always regretted it. Now? I've never felt something so right in my entire life.

    I don't know if you're at all about mind-over-matter, but when something bothers me, and I can't seem to get over it, or grasp the concept, all I do is think, every day, about what I am doing, and what I want to be doing. And then naturally I'd gradually work my way towards that goal I've concreted in my mind.

    Topia on
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    GorkGork Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Are you still seeing the therapist?

    Therapists are really excellent at getting you (key concept) to figure out what is bothering you. They dig at the symptoms until the cause becomes obvious.

    Not every therapist "clicks" with every person, so it's really great when you find one that does. Since you've brought all these problems to the forums, I'm going to assume you've stopped going.

    Gork on
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    ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited November 2007
    I don't know how to get motivated for school. I want to go to university, and I want to get motivated, I am just not enthusiastic about going there and doing it.

    I used to have exactly the same problem.

    Basically the way I got over it was by keeping my eyes on the prize. In my particular case, it is getting the kind of job I want and living the kind of life I want to live. Whenever I have trouble getting motivated, I just try to imagine what my life would be like if I had what I want. That is enough to motivate me.

    ege02 on
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    DaemonionDaemonion Mountain Man USARegistered User regular
    edited November 2007

    I was in the same situation as you. Never tried, never motivated, but a smart guy with keen common sense, none-the-less.

    When I graduated high-school, I took a one-year hiatus. I went on a backpacking trip to Europe for 42 days, staying in the cheapest shit places with two buddies, and taking a ton of pictures and trying my best to keep a journal.

    I've taken up boxing, Krav Maga, and an organic, healthy diet.

    I love computer games, my girlfriend, music, and my newly found entrepreneurial side. My best friend and I are trying to start a business. I want to become a United States Marine within the next few years.

    Still, with so many great things ahead, and my eyes on the prize, I have a hard time focusing because I'm often depressed and seek solitude, sometimes in boxing, sometimes in trail running, sometimes in games.

    What I've found helps me, not 100%, but well-enough, is keeping motivated enough to keep a journal and calendar. I write down what time I go to sleep, wake-up, what I eat, how and if I exercise, how long I play games for, how long I work for, how I feel, etc. I also try to keep a dream journal.

    Flipping back through the pages of my journal (I recommend a Franklin Covey), and seeing my sleep and diet suffering, exercise, etc. for periods of time really stops and makes me think. Better yet, it makes me do things.

    I can't say I always take notes and keep tabs on my behavior - sometimes I can't even do that - but when I do, I my guilt turns to shame, and I am able to positive energy to keep me going well enough.

    I also have a collection of motivating movies. I can't explain how or why they motivate me, but despite their intangible properties they invoke tangible responses within me; they include Batman Begins, 300, The Departed, The Bourne Identity trilogy, The Matrix, Underworld, V for Vendetta, Collateral, Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, and others. I try to watch them every once in a while to keep my embers from completely snuffing themselves out.

    Give it a try. Write down everything, don't try and hide your thoughts and feelings from yourself. It's your journal, no one else has to see it.

    Daemonion on
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    AlpineAlpine Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Grade 12 is a killer year - everything you do finally has some tangible end goal now (Getting into Post Secondary) other than just getting your credits and moving up a year. I know how it goes, I slacked hard first semester of Grade 12, with a final average of 72, when I had a 78 average at midterms.

    Then, I visited the campus of the school I wanted to go to. I talked to the students there, saw the lecture halls, saw the residences. That was my spark to do well the next semester. I had a 93 average for the second semester, and I am currently going to the University of Western Ontario, studying business.

    So I suggest, if you're serious about going to University, get out there and check out the campus. It's the best way to visualise yourself attaining your goal. (Unless it's Waterloo, that place is depressing to be around.)
    However, even if you manage to pull up your grades to an acceptable level, you really need to instill in yourself a sense of discipline and self-motivation to do your work. Everyone who has said that University is a totally different experience is right - if you don't want to do your work, there is absolutely no one who is going to hound you to do it. If you don't have the right work ethic, University will be the most expensive year of partying/WoWing/moping you'll ever have in your life.

    Alpine on
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    variantvariant Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I got less than a 2.0 coming out of highschool. I was hella depressed, most of my friends went off to college, I was stuck here.

    I started JC/CC but I was still pretty unmotivated, I didn't think I'd get anywhere, a year passed by, my brother had started highschool, end of the first year, I did okay, got like Bs in all my classes, I was a little more motivated now that I saw "hey I can actually do this maybe."
    Then my brother's freshmen year grades came, 4.0 flat, I was ashamed and a little afraid that he'd lap me and make it to a Uni before me, this ended up motivating me even more, I started studying a lot and finally made it to the University I wanted to go too.

    As for the games, that was a big pain for me too but eventually I snapped out of it, I realized WoW was just sucking up time that was much better spent studying or going out with my few friends that were still here, and meeting new people.
    So I gave away my account, just so that I would have nothing to come back too because I had deactivated it before and that didn't work too well.
    After that I just started falling out of gaming more and more, and now I just play my 360 once or twice a week.

    All I can say is, you need to find your motivation, it's not generic it doesn't come from the same place for everyone, you need to actively search for it.

    variant on
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    ClippedClipped Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    thanks for all the advice on schoolwork guys. gave me a lot to think about. also, i am going back to my therapist on monday.

    Clipped on
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