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Not sure about what to do with my life (bigger than just a career decision).

DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User regular
edited March 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So I'm a college bound high school senior. I plan on majoring in Sociology.

Why sociology? Well, its what I think about non-stop. I'm always thinking about societies and cultures and why we do the things we do (etcetc)...I'll literally spend hours just thinking about these things and forming conclusions and theories. I spend most of my time writing papers for me, myself, and I, whether it just be about solutions to problems that we have or ideas of what the perfect society would be.

All this stuff, however, leads me to seeing how false everything really is. All these standards we create, all the different ways that we judge people, its just so superficial, so fake, I just HATE it. I see all the incredible flaws in America's government, how our freedom is all just an illusion (I strongly believe in socialism, by the way).

The thing is, I don't want to be a part of all that. I don't want to be a part of the problem. I WANT to change things, but it all seems so futile...I try and talk to other people about the cons of capitalism or some other things, but they are so greedy and brainwashed by the way things have been that they refuse to see it my way...they usually refuse to even give it a chance.

On the other end of the spectrum, I realize that I'm just a kid. I mean, I'm 17 years old. I have no years of experience to give me wisdom. And though I doubt it, my views could quite possibly change. And I don't want to do something that I'll regret later on in life just because I'm hyped up about changing the world now, you know?

Thirty years down the line, I don't want to think, "Damn I was dumb. I should have married, bought a nice house in a suburb, and had a nice family". The thing is, I also want all of that, you know? I want the family and I want the kids and nice house, but at the same time, I see everything that's wrong with that and how its just contributing to the problem (I don't mean marriage and kids contribute to the problem, just the path that I would most likely have to take to get there).

Argh. I don't know if I'm being clear or not, but I just need some feedback from a completely outside source.

Basically, should I just mostly accept things for being the way they are and live they way that I'm expected to live, or should I try and change things? I'm thinking the most realistic choice is a mix of the two, but I don't know...its all just so confusing.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I appreciate any insight.

DarwinsFavoriteTortoise on

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    VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Are you sure you want sociology and not say public policy or anthropology? They're very different I know but very related. If you have a strong interest in changing government something like public policy will give a great idea of how things work and the channels for change. If you want to try and change things by running for office it's a good background. Cultural anthropology sounds like it's up your alley as well.

    Also, I'm not sure how that wanting to get married, have a family and stable home life is contributing 'the problem'.

    To be frank, you're 17 and it sounds like you have no idea what you want, just some things you think you might want, which is totally fine at your age. That being said, you might not want to dive right into college. Have you considered taking a leap year to volunteer/intern in the fields you're interested in to see if you do enjoy it? I really wish I had done this.

    VisionOfClarity on
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    DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Are you sure you want sociology and not say public policy or anthropology? They're very different I know but very related. If you have a strong interest in changing government something like public policy will give a great idea of how things work and the channels for change. If you want to try and change things by running for office it's a good background. Cultural anthropology sounds like it's up your alley as well.

    Also, I'm not sure how that wanting to get married, have a family and stable home life is contributing 'the problem'.

    To be frank, you're 17 and it sounds like you have no idea what you want, just some things you think you might want, which is totally fine at your age. That being said, you might not want to dive right into college. Have you considered taking a leap year to volunteer/intern in the fields you're interested in to see if you do enjoy it? I really wish I had done this.

    I'm not sure about politics. I might get into it a little later in life, but how much of a change can I really make there? And I'm talking about big, societal changes. What can one man really do, especially when you get caught up in the fucked up world of politics.

    As to your suggestions for majors, I appreciate them. However, I am relatively sure about sociology. I will look into Cultural Anthropology, though it just sounds like an extension of sociology.

    DarwinsFavoriteTortoise on
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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm also confused about your problems with marriage and kids. Almost no 17 year old dude wants to get married, and most of them end up doing it eventually. Family or lack thereof also has almost nothing to do with what you do at work.

    Also, speaking as a 25 year old, you'll probably want to hope that your views change some over time, it means you're learning something. Your core values may not ever change but it's impossible to be right about everything right out the gate. When I was 17 I was moderately liberal, but bought into the South Park "douches and turd sandwiches" philosophy of politics. Then Bush spent 8 years showing me that a turd sandwich really can be a lot worse than a douche, and I've moved solidly left since then.

    Scooter on
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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you get into politics, I'm letting you know now and from experience, that at some point you are going to have to compromise some part of yourself if you want to make big sweeping changes. Every politician does it (even Obama) and you're going to have to exploit weaknesses and deal with very stupid and difficult people (although this appears to be everywhere, not just politics).

    I would honestly major in something that gives you tools to help other people/understand them better. You can go to school and major in sociology, anthropology, whatever you want, but pick up some skills like construction, another language, medical practices, etc. because if you really want to help people and see that sort of impact first hand, you can graduate, go down to New Orleans, China, Vietnam, Italy, Mexico, hell, wherever people are suffering and make a real difference through a non-profit or the peace corps.

    Big sweeping changes are difficult. I like to think if everyone does a little it amounts to a whole lot - and seeing the impact of your actions shift someone's life from hell to better in a foreign country or your own, be it through medicine, education, building them a home, or teaching them how to grow crops gives you a kind of immortality that Shakespeare yearned for through his work.

    I wouldn't let this fear of marriage and whatnot cripple your aspirations. You sound like what I'm almost growing out of right now - this fear that I need health insurance to raise a family, so I'm limiting the jobs I enjoy doing for the crappier, higher paying ones. All I can say is don't compromise your happiness. What makes you happy? What gets you passionate? Run towards it now and deal with road blocks as they come up instead of trying to plan out your life so much that it limits you.

    I think the problem with a lot of people is that they feel like that mid life, they are unable to change careers, move out of state, or what have you. If you find that in ten years you really want kids, it is never too late to stop what you're doing, get a different job, and make it happen. It might be HARDER than sticking with what you're doing at the time, but it's never too late and that is where I see most regret in older people: they convinced themselves that they couldn't do something and stuck with what was easier instead of putting in the time and effort to chase what they really wanted.

    SkyGheNe on
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    DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Scooter wrote: »
    I'm also confused about your problems with marriage and kids. Almost no 17 year old dude wants to get married, and most of them end up doing it eventually. Family or lack thereof also has almost nothing to do with what you do at work.

    Also, speaking as a 25 year old, you'll probably want to hope that your views change some over time, it means you're learning something. Your core values may not ever change but it's impossible to be right about everything right out the gate. When I was 17 I was moderately liberal, but bought into the South Park "douches and turd sandwiches" philosophy of politics. Then Bush spent 8 years showing me that a turd sandwich really can be a lot worse than a douche, and I've moved solidly left since then.

    I was wrapping family and kids in with the ideal life: living in a suburb, go to nice corporate job, etcetc. Theres nothing specifically wrong with have a wife and kids.

    DarwinsFavoriteTortoise on
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    DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    If you get into politics, I'm letting you know now and from experience, that at some point you are going to have to compromise some part of yourself if you want to make big sweeping changes. Every politician does it (even Obama) and you're going to have to exploit weaknesses and deal with very stupid and difficult people (although this appears to be everywhere, not just politics).

    I would honestly major in something that gives you tools to help other people/understand them better. You can go to school and major in sociology, anthropology, whatever you want, but pick up some skills like construction, another language, medical practices, etc. because if you really want to help people and see that sort of impact first hand, you can graduate, go down to New Orleans, China, Vietnam, Italy, Mexico, hell, wherever people are suffering and make a real difference through a non-profit or the peace corps.

    Big sweeping changes are difficult. I like to think if everyone does a little it amounts to a whole lot - and seeing the impact of your actions shift someone's life from hell to better in a foreign country or your own, be it through medicine, education, building them a home, or teaching them how to grow crops gives you a kind of immortality that Shakespeare yearned for through his work.

    I wouldn't let this fear of marriage and whatnot cripple your aspirations. You sound like what I'm almost growing out of right now - this fear that I need health insurance to raise a family, so I'm limiting the jobs I enjoy doing for the crappier, higher paying ones. All I can say is don't compromise your happiness. What makes you happy? What gets you passionate? Run towards it now and deal with road blocks as they come up instead of trying to plan out your life so much that it limits you.

    I think the problem with a lot of people is that they feel like that mid life, they are unable to change careers, move out of state, or what have you. If you find that in ten years you really want kids, it is never too late to stop what you're doing, get a different job, and make it happen. It might be HARDER than sticking with what you're doing at the time, but it's never too late and that is where I see most regret in older people: they convinced themselves that they couldn't do something and stuck with what was easier instead of putting in the time and effort to chase what they really wanted.

    Yeah, this is exactly why I DON'T really have a burning desire to get into politics.

    I've also been strongly considering joining a non-profit organization. I do not wish to join the Peace Corps, however, and everything else that I've found requires you to pay in some way.

    The thing is, I want to treat the problem, not the symptoms. Sure, I would love to go and help volunteer and change peoples lives for the better, but you're not solving the problem that made them that way in the first place, you know? You can help a hundred people, but what difference does that make when thousands are put into horrible positions because of their government? I want things to change from the top, though helping from the bottom is the most rational step, I guess.

    I also have no problem changing careers mid life, but I don't want to do that, because then I just wasted half of my life doing something I didn't want to do. I'd rather get it right the first time.

    I guess it boils down to that I don't want to waste what I have (and I mean that in the least arrogant way possible)? I see people who don't give two shits about other peoples' problems and would gladly stab ten people in the back to save themselves. I see people that live their life with a cruel indifference to problems on their doorstep or across the ocean because it doesn't directly affect their life. People that judge others solely on their material objects. I see these things and I realize that I'm incredibly different from all these people, and I think that I shouldn't just waste that, you know?

    DarwinsFavoriteTortoise on
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    Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. |She/Her| Trans* Woman In Aviators Firing A Bazooka. ⚛️Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I guess it boils down to that I don't want to waste what I have (and I mean that in the least arrogant way possible)? I see people who don't give two shits about other peoples' problems and would gladly stab ten people in the back to save themselves. I see people that live their life with a cruel indifference to problems on their doorstep or across the ocean because it doesn't directly affect their life. People that judge others solely on their material objects. I see these things and I realize that I'm incredibly different from all these people, and I think that I shouldn't just waste that, you know?
    Maaan, if only we could get seventeen-year-old-you and thirty-year-old-you in a room together, it'd be a riot. :P
    (Not trolling, just an observation you might look back on fondly some day...)

    Zilla360 on
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    thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    HAHA! Welcome to life, and one particular element of the existential dilemma that many people wait to have until after they've finished their degree.

    You are ahead of the curve! I'm sure that this will not make things any easier. As has been mentioned, you are seventeen. Your mentality, how you view the world, yourself, and your own role in it will no doubt evolve until well after you hit the quarter century mark.

    If you think you'll dig sociology, try it. No one here knows your interests better than you do. Take a variety of classes in any field that interests you. Its worth it to try to have them fulfill some general education credits, but if they don't exactly fit, take them anyways. It will save you money overall when you don't get half-way through a degree before changing your mind.

    Take some time off ( a semester, a year, whatevs). You will NEVER have less responsibility than you do right now. Take advantage of this to go watch the sun set over the dead sea, build houses for poor people, or doing all the drugs you can handle in some shady European discotheque. Work as a pool boy at some Caribbean Resort.

    Some real life experiences will help you when you get to school.

    You are absolutely right that you have no idea what you want to do. I went straight to collage from high school, intent on being an accountant and making $$$. Eight years later, I'm an Energy Economist doing Project Cost Estimation and Statistical/Programming support for the US Gov't working to clean-up nuclear weapons production. I have no idea how I got here and I feel like a shadow of my former self. Also I couldn't be happier.

    You will figure it out. But only by taking action. Immediately.

    thisisntwally on
    #someshit
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    SmurphSmurph Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    It sounds like being a Sociology professor would be exactly what you are looking for. You could live and breath your work and still go home to a nice life with a nice family without feeling like a sellout. It sounds like your real problem is with the corporate /capitalist culture, so academia would be a nice little shelter. Just know you are going to have to work your ass off to get to that level so you'd better have an awesome work ethic.

    Smurph on
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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Are you sure you want sociology and not say public policy or anthropology? They're very different I know but very related. If you have a strong interest in changing government something like public policy will give a great idea of how things work and the channels for change. If you want to try and change things by running for office it's a good background. Cultural anthropology sounds like it's up your alley as well.

    Also, I'm not sure how that wanting to get married, have a family and stable home life is contributing 'the problem'.

    To be frank, you're 17 and it sounds like you have no idea what you want, just some things you think you might want, which is totally fine at your age. That being said, you might not want to dive right into college. Have you considered taking a leap year to volunteer/intern in the fields you're interested in to see if you do enjoy it? I really wish I had done this.

    I'm not sure about politics. I might get into it a little later in life, but how much of a change can I really make there? And I'm talking about big, societal changes. What can one man really do, especially when you get caught up in the fucked up world of politics.

    In my career, I've directly worked on the campaigns and helped elect 1 US President, 1 new US House member, 2 new US Senators, a Governor, and a handful of local office holders and state legislators from a few states around the country. Has any of it made a difference? Perhaps not as sweeping as some people would have liked, but just as an example, today the President reversed the Bush administration's policy banning stem cell research, and I'm very proud of that. Some of those other new members of Congress are also distinguishing themselves slowly and doing some pretty great things for their constituents.

    Never feel like you're too small to make a difference. No one person in the Democratic Party could have done any of this alone, but it wouldn't have happened without each of us.

    SammyF on
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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Do the course you are most interested in. That way, you'll get better grades, which opens up more paths to you later on.

    You have got a lot of youthful enthusiasm bursting out of you at the moment. Make sure you don't burn yourself out into cynicism by assuming that it is down to you to change the world. You *can* change your own little bit of the world, just not the whole of society. Volunteer for charities and political causes you believe in. This will give you the added benefit of learning about the real world, not just the theory.

    Studying sociology won't tell you how to fix the world. It's a subject like any other, and it leads to plenty of worthwhile careers that are capable of supporting a family.

    CelestialBadger on
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    TasteticleTasteticle Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Go to school. Being a 40 year old produce packer at you local grocery store will change two things: jack and shit.

    After getting a degree and doing something that makes you some decent money, go after what you want.

    Tasteticle on

    Uh-oh I accidentally deleted my signature. Uh-oh!!
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    DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Do the course you are most interested in. That way, you'll get better grades, which opens up more paths to you later on.

    You have got a lot of youthful enthusiasm bursting out of you at the moment. Make sure you don't burn yourself out into cynicism by assuming that it is down to you to change the world. You *can* change your own little bit of the world, just not the whole of society. Volunteer for charities and political causes you believe in. This will give you the added benefit of learning about the real world, not just the theory.

    Studying sociology won't tell you how to fix the world. It's a subject like any other, and it leads to plenty of worthwhile careers that are capable of supporting a family.

    Yeah, I know sociology won't tell me how to fix the world. I'm trying to figure that out myself haha. It will, however, help me to better understand it.

    Also, to Tasteticle: Going to college was never the issue. Its always been in the picture for me.

    To Zilla360: I'm sure it would be. Or it might not...I've been pretty firm about my beliefs for a few years now, and I don't see how I can warm up to capitalism any time soon.

    To thisisntwally: I appreciate the advice. While I doubt I'll do anything radical like you suggested, I get what you are saying.

    To SammyF: I don't really feel like I'm too small to make a difference. I can totally make a big impact, I think...I was just specifically saying how much of an impact I could make in politics, which I don't think would be that much. Do you really think a full on socialist would be accepted as a senator? The change needs to come from the bottom UP. Only after this irrational hatred for socialism dissapears can I consider a career in politics, I think.

    DarwinsFavoriteTortoise on
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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Some notes...
    The thing is, I want to treat the problem, not the symptoms.

    No single person changes things, and if they do, it's found in a comic book. The only way a single person influences a large amount of people to change their behavior overnight is if they command a dictatorship and end their memo with a death threat. Starting from the ground up is going to be necessary no matter what unless you have a ridiculous skill set. People who are the heads of organizations don't start there - they work for 30-40 years, learn the facets of a particular problem like the back of their hand, and even then they don't get things changed overnight. It takes years.
    Sure, I would love to go and help volunteer and change peoples lives for the better, but you're not solving the problem that made them that way in the first place, you know? You can help a hundred people, but what difference does that make when thousands are put into horrible positions because of their government?

    Then, realistically, to reach you goals, I would go into law, because understanding the system is the first step in reworking it.
    I also have no problem changing careers mid life, but I don't want to do that, because then I just wasted half of my life doing something I didn't want to do. I'd rather get it right the first time.

    No, ideally you change and grow as a person and if you were to determine that you want to do something different it would be for that reason, not because you forced yourself to do something you half heartedly enjoy.. Theoretically you wouldn't have wasted your time. I've changed career paths multiple times, in the span of a handful of years, testing the waters with each and loving different ones for different reasons...was it a waste of my time? Maybe to those looking with a glass half empty, but I learned a lot about people, different skills, about different cultures, and...well, everything is a learning experience, and everything I've done is because I have wanted to do it.

    If you honestly spent 15 years doing something and then look at it as a waste of time, then you weren't taking my advice.

    SkyGheNe on
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    corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    You can just change what you major in at uni anyway can't you (from what I understand of the American system)?

    corcorigan on
    Ad Astra Per Aspera
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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I don't really feel like I'm too small to make a difference. I can totally make a big impact, I think...I was just specifically saying how much of an impact I could make in politics, which I don't think would be that much. Do you really think a full on socialist would be accepted as a senator? The change needs to come from the bottom UP. Only after this irrational hatred for socialism dissapears can I consider a career in politics, I think.

    I wouldn't aim for senator :-) Realistically there are not many of them in the USA. It is a good dream, but unlikely (hope I don't offend you there).

    By socialism do you mean Marxism? Communism isn't going to take off in the USA any time soon, but there are always far left groups on university campuses (at least in the UK, maybe different in the US) so you might want to join one of them to explore the philosophy. But keep your mind open and don't assume you've found The Answer at only 17 - as you get older your views are sure to mature.

    CelestialBadger on
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    DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I don't really feel like I'm too small to make a difference. I can totally make a big impact, I think...I was just specifically saying how much of an impact I could make in politics, which I don't think would be that much. Do you really think a full on socialist would be accepted as a senator? The change needs to come from the bottom UP. Only after this irrational hatred for socialism dissapears can I consider a career in politics, I think.

    I wouldn't aim for senator :-) Realistically there are not many of them in the USA. It is a good dream, but unlikely (hope I don't offend you there).

    By socialism do you mean Marxism? Communism isn't going to take off in the USA any time soon, but there are always far left groups on university campuses (at least in the UK, maybe different in the US) so you might want to join one of them to explore the philosophy. But keep your mind open and don't assume you've found The Answer at only 17 - as you get older your views are sure to mature.

    Senator was just an example of a political position. I doubt I could get elected to ANY position as a socialist.

    And as I said in the OP, I understand that I am only 17. I understand that my view could change.

    From where I am at now, however, I do not see it changing. It would be a cold day in hell for me to fully support capitalism...I'm not going to just become indifferent about the extreme infringement on human rights and the unchecked greed. It completely goes against my moral code and how I define myself as a person.

    DarwinsFavoriteTortoise on
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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I don't really feel like I'm too small to make a difference. I can totally make a big impact, I think...I was just specifically saying how much of an impact I could make in politics, which I don't think would be that much. Do you really think a full on socialist would be accepted as a senator? The change needs to come from the bottom UP. Only after this irrational hatred for socialism dissapears can I consider a career in politics, I think.

    I wouldn't aim for senator :-) Realistically there are not many of them in the USA. It is a good dream, but unlikely (hope I don't offend you there).

    By socialism do you mean Marxism? Communism isn't going to take off in the USA any time soon, but there are always far left groups on university campuses (at least in the UK, maybe different in the US) so you might want to join one of them to explore the philosophy. But keep your mind open and don't assume you've found The Answer at only 17 - as you get older your views are sure to mature.

    Senator was just an example of a political position. I doubt I could get elected to ANY position as a socialist.

    And as I said in the OP, I understand that I am only 17. I understand that my view could change.

    From where I am at now, however, I do not see it changing. It would be a cold day in hell for me to fully support capitalism...I'm not going to just become indifferent about the extreme infringement on human rights and the unchecked greed. It completely goes against my moral code and how I define myself as a person.

    I think most people are for socialistic programs, however, the word has such an ugly connotation that it becomes nearly impossible to get elected running under such a banner.

    Although, Bernie Sanders is a self proclaimed communist and he gets re-elected every time up in Vermont.

    SkyGheNe on
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    SevorakSevorak Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    corcorigan wrote: »
    You can just change what you major in at uni anyway can't you (from what I understand of the American system)?

    Usually, but whether or not your school is going to let you and how many hoops you have to jump through depends on what school you're in, what degree you're switching from, what degree you're switching into, how far along you are in your current degree, how much of your coursework applies to your new degree, etc.

    In short, yes, but if you go in as, say, a music major and suddenly want to switch to mechanical engineering in your fourth year, it's probably not going to happen just like that, if at all

    Sevorak on
    steam_sig.png 3DS: 0748-2282-4229
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    CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I also have no problem changing careers mid life, but I don't want to do that, because then I just wasted half of my life doing something I didn't want to do. I'd rather get it right the first time.

    As someone nearly twice your age, I have to say that this is a really unrealistic attitude. The reality of the current economy is that people switch up jobs and careers (two different things!) a number of times in their life. Maybe if you were graduating university in the 60s or 70s you could still count on a job or career for life straight away. But since then, not so much, the world and the economy changes more quickly these days, and you have to be adaptable.

    Switching jobs and careers is not a waste, skills, knowledge, contacts, and experience can translate with you from job to job and career to career, all of it adding up to continuously making you a better person and more effective at your current job or career. There are doctors who became artists, engineers who became teachers, etc. Their past experiences and knowledge make them more well rounded, unique people.

    And, as you'll find out, people change over time. What you care about, and what you want, could quite easily be very different five, ten, and fifteen years from now.
    I guess it boils down to that I don't want to waste what I have (and I mean that in the least arrogant way possible)? I see people who don't give two shits about other peoples' problems and would gladly stab ten people in the back to save themselves. I see people that live their life with a cruel indifference to problems on their doorstep or across the ocean because it doesn't directly affect their life. People that judge others solely on their material objects. I see these things and I realize that I'm incredibly different from all these people, and I think that I shouldn't just waste that, you know?

    You might to watch that attitude, you're coming off as a tremendously judgmental person here. Which isn't all that uncommon in people your age, but still, its not exactly endearing. The holier-than-thou teenage idealist is not a cliche you really want to embody. That energy and caring is great, but it can come off the wrong way.

    So, lets direct some of that energy. You seem to want to generically help people. Perhaps you should do some introspection about what issues, specifically, you care the most about, and from that you might be able to get some direction on where to go academically. What, specifically, do you care about? Political reform? Poverty? Education? The Environment? Crime?

    You say you're spending most of your time writing papers for yourself, what are you doing to expose yourself to the real world of these societal issues you care about? Maybe some volunteering at places like a food bank, crisis-line, or on a political campaign would give you some real world experience that might help you decide how to direct your life. Getting out of the world of ideas and into the day to day reality might be beneficial.

    Corvus on
    :so_raven:
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    DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    I don't really feel like I'm too small to make a difference. I can totally make a big impact, I think...I was just specifically saying how much of an impact I could make in politics, which I don't think would be that much. Do you really think a full on socialist would be accepted as a senator? The change needs to come from the bottom UP. Only after this irrational hatred for socialism dissapears can I consider a career in politics, I think.

    I wouldn't aim for senator :-) Realistically there are not many of them in the USA. It is a good dream, but unlikely (hope I don't offend you there).

    By socialism do you mean Marxism? Communism isn't going to take off in the USA any time soon, but there are always far left groups on university campuses (at least in the UK, maybe different in the US) so you might want to join one of them to explore the philosophy. But keep your mind open and don't assume you've found The Answer at only 17 - as you get older your views are sure to mature.

    Senator was just an example of a political position. I doubt I could get elected to ANY position as a socialist.

    And as I said in the OP, I understand that I am only 17. I understand that my view could change.

    From where I am at now, however, I do not see it changing. It would be a cold day in hell for me to fully support capitalism...I'm not going to just become indifferent about the extreme infringement on human rights and the unchecked greed. It completely goes against my moral code and how I define myself as a person.

    I think most people are for socialistic programs, however, the word has such an ugly connotation that it becomes nearly impossible to get elected running under such a banner.

    Although, Bernie Sanders is a self proclaimed communist and he gets re-elected every time up in Vermont.

    Yeah, I know, people just love socialist programs, but as soon as you actually call it socialist, suddenly they don't want anything to do with it.

    And I looked up the Bernie Sanders guy, it turns out he says hes a "democratic socialist".

    If he ran as a damn commie I'm sure he wouldn't be eleceted, but yeah...

    DarwinsFavoriteTortoise on
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    DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Corvus wrote: »

    As someone nearly twice your age, I have to say that this is a really unrealistic attitude. The reality of the current economy is that people switch up jobs and careers (two different things!) a number of times in their life. Maybe if you were graduating university in the 60s or 70s you could still count on a job or career for life straight away. But since then, not so much, the world and the economy changes more quickly these days, and you have to be adaptable.

    Switching jobs and careers is not a waste, skills, knowledge, contacts, and experience can translate with you from job to job and career to career, all of it adding up to continuously making you a better person and more effective at your current job or career. There are doctors who became artists, engineers who became teachers, etc. Their past experiences and knowledge make them more well rounded, unique people.

    And, as you'll find out, people change over time. What you care about, and what you want, could quite easily be very different five, ten, and fifteen years from now.

    You might to watch that attitude, you're coming off as a tremendously judgmental person here. Which isn't all that uncommon in people your age, but still, its not exactly endearing. The holier-than-thou teenage idealist is not a cliche you really want to embody. That energy and caring is great, but it can come off the wrong way.

    I don't really see how its a holier-than-thou attitude. Its just simple observation. It may seem that way when its just simple black and white on your computer screen, but its not how I feel, and its not I convey myself in person.


    So, lets direct some of that energy. You seem to want to generically help people. Perhaps you should do some introspection about what issues, specifically, you care the most about, and from that you might be able to get some direction on where to go academically. What, specifically, do you care about? Political reform? Poverty? Education? The Environment? Crime?

    You say you're spending most of your time writing papers for yourself, what are you doing to expose yourself to the real world of these societal issues you care about? Maybe some volunteering at places like a food bank, crisis-line, or on a political campaign would give you some real world experience that might help you decide how to direct your life. Getting out of the world of ideas and into the day to day reality might be beneficial.

    The thing is, I care about everything. And I volunteer constantly, so I do have an idea of what its like. Not a complete one, but an understanding nonetheless. All the volunteering that I do is what actually led me to start questioning our society and why we do the things we do. And if I had to point to a specific issue, I guess it would be poverty, but they're all really so close together.

    DarwinsFavoriteTortoise on
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    DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Having a family and a decent-paying job is in no way making yourself part of any "problem". We have to have kids for society to continue, and getting a paying job just means you're able to support yourself and are able to do things you want to do. Want to see the world? It takes money.

    If you want to change society the best thing you can do is to be involved in your community. Volunteer your time and your effort to something you think is worthwhile. Would you be interested in going into law? Any and all change in our society is going to come through the legal system, after all, and lawyers are uniquely suited to assist those who get left behind.

    Just go to school and try a bunch of shit out. Take advantage of your general ed classes and sample stuff from lots of different majors. Use profeval so you don't get a shitty professor that turns you off of a field. You'll find something you're interested in.

    EDIT: And yeah you do sound kind of judgemental dude, seriously. It seems to me that you're making a lot of assumptions about these people that you're "fundamentally different" from. Having that sort of demeanor isn't going to endear to a lot of people at a university, and you don't want to alienate the new friends you should be making.

    Duffel on
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    NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The most important thing is finding something you are passionate about and then putting your all in working towards it.

    If changing public policy is what matters to you, I would either enter politics or seek to create a voice for myself (much like rush limbaugh has succesfully done, goddamn him) and use it to influence the public.

    If I wanted to tackle poverty, I'd look toward taking bussiness classes that might help me set up a charitable organization, or to be even more pro-active, set up a bussiness in a third world country that lets you actively employ less fortunate people and better their lives. I read an article about a person that set up a silk worm bussiness where his company gives silk worms to impoverished people, gives them a short training session on how to raise them and create silk, and lets these people go to work for themselves. It's actually a profitable organization. They're also respnsible for handing out vaccines to people across the country. I wish I could remember more about this cause I'd love to send you a link to the story, but the impact he made on this country was amazing.

    You sound like you love writing, so perhaps you'd like to be a journalist or get your papers published in some sort of sociology journal, or maybe you'd like to teach.

    I dunno what you want to do, but I do agree with you that things are a lot easier if you figure it out before you head off to college. Create a grand far reaching goal for yourself. Spend your life trying to achieve it.

    As far as all that bussiness about your ideals and the fakery of the world and how everything sucks, stop it. Be a realist. See the world for what it is. Understand what you can and can't do. Seek to improve yourself and the world around you. Accept and love the world, even as you try to better it.


    Also, have fun in college.

    NotYou on
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    DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    Having a family and a decent-paying job is in no way making yourself part of any "problem". We have to have kids for society to continue, and getting a paying job just means you're able to support yourself and are able to do things you want to do. Want to see the world? It takes money.

    If you want to change society the best thing you can do is to be involved in your community. Volunteer your time and your effort to something you think is worthwhile. Would you be interested in going into law? Any and all change in our society is going to come through the legal system, after all, and lawyers are uniquely suited to assist those who get left behind.

    Just go to school and try a bunch of shit out. Take advantage of your general ed classes and sample stuff from lots of different majors. Use profeval so you don't get a shitty professor that turns you off of a field. You'll find something you're interested in.

    EDIT: And yeah you do sound kind of judgemental dude, seriously. It seems to me that you're making a lot of assumptions about these people that you're "fundamentally different" from. Having that sort of demeanor isn't going to endear to a lot of people at a university, and you don't want to alienate the new friends you should be making.

    I understand that you think I'm judgmental, but I'm sincerely not. I'm not making assumptions...I don't see a person and then say "Oh I am superior because I'm not a capitalist blahblahblah". Everything I say, I've witnessed in school and out.

    And as I said before, I don't walk up to people and start spewing my ideas about society. I usually don't even share my thoughts about these things unless I'm with close friends that know I'm not judging and won't get freaked out. To everyone that knows me, I'm the most laid back dude ever.

    Now can we please leave me being judgmental alone? I understand that you're trying to help, but to be honest, you don't know me in real life and you're just making assumptions based off a few posts on an online forum. I have it handled in real life.

    DarwinsFavoriteTortoise on
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    DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    NotYou wrote: »
    The most important thing is finding something you are passionate about and then putting your all in working towards it.

    If changing public policy is what matters to you, I would either enter politics or seek to create a voice for myself (much like rush limbaugh has succesfully done, goddamn him) and use it to influence the public.

    If I wanted to tackle poverty, I'd look toward taking bussiness classes that might help me set up a charitable organization, or to be even more pro-active, set up a bussiness in a third world country that lets you actively employ less fortunate people and better their lives. I read an article about a person that set up a silk worm bussiness where his company gives silk worms to impoverished people, gives them a short training session on how to raise them and create silk, and lets these people go to work for themselves. It's actually a profitable organization. They're also respnsible for handing out vaccines to people across the country. I wish I could remember more about this cause I'd love to send you a link to the story, but the impact he made on this country was amazing.

    You sound like you love writing, so perhaps you'd like to be a journalist or get your papers published in some sort of sociology journal, or maybe you'd like to teach.

    I dunno what you want to do, but I do agree with you that things are a lot easier if you figure it out before you head off to college. Create a grand far reaching goal for yourself. Spend your life trying to achieve it.

    As far as all that bussiness about your ideals and the fakery of the world and how everything sucks, stop it. Be a realist. See the world for what it is. Understand what you can and can't do. Seek to improve yourself and the world around you. Accept and love the world, even as you try to better it.


    Also, have fun in college.

    I appreciate the advice, but...

    You say to find something you are passionate about and then put your whole life to it. Then you say to understand what you can and can't do. Well where does that leave me? I want to change things for the better on a massive scale. You're saying thats something I can't do though.

    Am I supposed to settle for less?

    DarwinsFavoriteTortoise on
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    DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I appreciate the advice, but...

    You say to find something you are passionate about and then put your whole life to it. Then you say to understand what you can and can't do. Well where does that leave me? I want to change things for the better on a massive scale. You're saying thats something I can't do though.

    Am I supposed to settle for less?
    No, you just need to set realistic goals.

    Duffel on
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    NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I appreciate the advice, but...

    You say to find something you are passionate about and then put your whole life to it. Then you say to understand what you can and can't do. Well where does that leave me? I want to change things for the better on a massive scale. You're saying thats something I can't do though.

    Am I supposed to settle for less?

    Well, if your goal is to turn the world into a commune run by you, then yes, you should settle for less.

    However, if you think you can realistically achieve that goal, then by all means, spend your life attempting it. There's nothing wrong with spending your whole life trying to do the impossible. What's important is that you're passionately working towards something.

    However, if you believe the goal is impossible, then how can you ever work passionately toward it? You'd have given up before you started.

    That's the real reason why you need a realistic goal. It's not because you won't be able to achieve it. It's because you'll never be able to even attempt to achieve it.

    It's the journey, not the destination. Follow a path that you wil enjoy taking.

    NotYou on
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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Yeah, for example you've judged that the US is entirely capitalistic. Just because a large portion of western politics is defacto socialism, just under a different name, doesn't mean it's not socialistic. Social security, government loans for school, publicly funded roads, schools, etc. Anything that's paid for with tax dollars is, by definition, a socialist act. Right? It raises the level of quality for everyone, using a portion of money based progressively on your income/property.

    That's besides the larger point, though. If anything, you should take a philosophy course or two, and realize that just because someone sees the world differently than you, that doesn't make them wrong -- it makes them not you. For example, I'm an atheist. I don't berate people who go to church, though -- I even understand why they go. That doesn't make me a soft atheist -- it makes me a reasonable person.

    It's easy to see problems, as evidenced by the fact that you see plenty. It's harder to see solutions. Do you see any? "reset buttons" don't count, nor do fiction. Once you start to see solutions, you start to realize that what you're looking at isn't a huge fucking mess -- it's usually just the best way to deal with a society of drastically different people. That's a pretty fundamental aspect of sociology. It's not just theory -- it's understand why a culture or society is the way it is. Rarely is it because of some architect who created a fucked up situation -- it's usually because people are human.

    But that's all philosophy. You do sound like you're just against the situation as-is because you don't see how to change it. You think it's wrong and you want it to be right but you don't understand what right would even look like. I'm not telling you this because I have the answer, but because it's not exactly like things you're seeing are rocket science. If there was an easy answer, or even a difficult answer, people would've known about it for a while.

    I do think that joining the peace corps, or some other organization, would probably be good for you, though. Not in a "fix you" way but in the sense that it would get you out there actually interacting and helping people, rather than posting about it on the internet. It's OK to have big dreams, but it's also important to realize that you accomplish big goals by making little steps towards it. If you just yell that everyone's doing it wrong, people will ignore you. If you try to improve life for others (and this usually includes improving your own life, as well, not exactly monetarily), you're doing something towards improving life for all.

    EggyToast on
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    CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    So, I was thinking about this whole changing the world aspiration you have, and I thought an example might be order. I'm not an American and I'm only loosely familiar with his background, but look at Obama. He didn't go from high school student to president. He studied political science, worked in both the private and public sector for five years, then went to Law school, worked as an Academic, entered Politics, etc.

    Hell, dude didn't go to Law School until five years after he finished his BA. Having a wide range of experience and doing different things seemed to work out pretty well for him. :P

    Corvus on
    :so_raven:
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    SaammielSaammiel Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    It would behoove you to take classes in Economics and Finance too if you really want to argue the merits and flaws of capitalism, if not a double major in one of the above. It will give you a better grounding in how that system actually works, rather than how you perceive it to work. If I had a dime for everytime I witnessed a proponent of some idealogy misprepresenting the opposing side's beliefs, I'd at least have a hundred dollars.

    Looking at thing from purely a sociological lens (or a finance lens, or any one sided assesment) is going to be inherently flawed.

    Saammiel on
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