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Author Topic: So, what now?
pfresh85
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(I apologize in advance for the length. I didn't mean it to be this long initially, but I just kept going.)

I'm going to give a kind of brief backstory to this since it may not make much sense without it. So in the fall of 2003, I had to apply to colleges. I applied to UT and UT-Dallas. I wanted to go to UT really because it was a very good school with a lot of options and because almost all of my high school friends were going there. I applied to UTD mainly as a back up (although I was assured to get into UT no matter what due to the top 10% rule in Texas).

Initially I applied to UT as a Radio-Television-Film major and UTD as a Arts & Technology major. Before I had received my acceptance, my parents and my older brother had talked me into switching my UT major to Business (even though it was harder to get into it, it'd financially more stable for me or something). I received acceptance to both schools in early November (at least this is as far as I recollect).

In December, I received a letter from UTD notifying me that they were awarding me their top level scholarship, which covers tuition/fees, part of rent for the apartments here, and gives a stipend for books and other expenses. I really didn't pay this much mind. I basically wanted to go to UT and I sent in my letter to them saying as much.

In March, my parents brought me up to UTD for the second time to look around the campus again, to talk to the head of the honors program (to which I was easily accepted), and to sit in on a class for my major. The stuff was okay, but I wasn't totally impressed. My father kept saying how he thought I fit in there (particularly with the group of kids in the class I sat in on). I left the school still favoring UT at least slightly.

In early April, the issue of a car was brought up. In high school, I drove my father's old Nissan truck (it goes 0 to 60 in about 5 minutes). I always complained about it, and my parents had always told me that I'd get a car eventually (and the assumption was I would pay for part of it and they would pay for part of it). My parents told me now though that if I went to UT there would be no chance for me to get a car. They couldn't afford to be paying for a car and helping me go through college as well. So basically a deal was offered to me: I go to UTD and I get a new car.

Hard to resist really. The only resistance I put up was a vague hope that UT would offer me a scholarship of some kind. Late April came and I got the scholarship offer from UT. $500 a semester. That's it. I shrugged and said "Well, I guess I'm going to UTD then." I really didn't think it could be that bad.

By the time I was done with orientation at UTD, I already knew the major I was in was a joke. See Arts & Technology is supposed to be a program for aspiring game programmers. I basically researched this a lot in middle school and in high school (because I was a nerd like that), so I knew about what kind of stuff I'd have to learn (mathematics past Calculus 2, advanced Physics, etc.). Yeah, UTD's program was a joke. Incredibly low mathematics and science requirements, only vague computer science requirements. It was laughable at best. I knew before the semester even started that it wasn't the program for me, and I already felt like I had probably made a mistake.

My first semester, I took most of the lower level courses I had left (the stuff that is required for almost all majors). I was miserable. I tried to be social, but I made few friends. My classes weren't interesting or challenging. I contemplated two courses of action: either transferring out of UTD completely or changing my major to something I thought would be more exciting.

In November (after more or less being talked out of transferring), I switched to be a Historical Studies major. I figured a) I like history and b) I think teaching would be kind of interesting and kind of rewarding. I've been on this course ever since. I'm still bored and the work isn't challenging (intellectually speaking). My social life is still crappy (this was made even more apparent by my trip to OU). It's also been pointed out to me by a few people that a) I probably wouldn't be suited to be a teacher and b) chances are higher that I won't enjoy it.

So the question becomes, what do I do now? I'm over halfway through my degree. If I change majors again, then this semester was a waste. On top of that, I don't even know what I would change to. Also, this doesn't address the social problem either. I'd transfer to UT, but there's still the whole scholarship/car issue. I just don't know what to do. This whole self doubt and worrying thing kicked in shortly before my OU trip, and since the trip it's been like 10 times worse. What do I do? What do I do?

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Teshi
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quote:
a) I probably wouldn't be suited to be a teacher and b) chances are higher that I won't enjoy it.
You definately don't have to become a teacher if you're taking history. With what sounds like a very high level of intelligence, you're probably going to end up going to grad school sometime anyway and you could definately go into something totally different if you wanted to. It sounds like you're totally capable at whatever you want to do.

If what you really want to design games, I suggest you focus on that outside of class.

My advice is get your historical studies degree, get a good GPA and go to grad school for something more challenging. To make yourself happier in the meantime, teach yourself to develop games [Smile] .

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pfresh85
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I really don't want to design games though. I mean I did at one point, but that point's past. Also, I'm not positive I can finish my historical studies degree and remain sane. To do it, I'd have to take 12 hours of history each semester for the rest of my time here. I think I would go insane.
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Teshi
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Hm.

See, this is why I have a major and two minors plus an elective- so I don't go insane. I only have 6 hours of English a week, three of history and three of politics. It saves my soul.

Do you have that kind of option at all?

EDIT: DO you know what you want to do?

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pfresh85
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I don't know what I want to do. In regards to options, I could take more electives, but it'd slow do my education a lot.
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Teshi
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Well, changing your degree would also slow your education...

But what do you like? Science? History? English? Business? Math? What do you do in your spare time?

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tern
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Hmmmm...I didn't quite dislike UTD that much when I went there, but it wasn't exactly a social center. I thought that it's comp sci degree was respectable...but I didn't want to do that either.

Look on the bright side, you won't be in quite as much debt as you would have been otherwise. I had pretty much the same scholarship and blew it off, and now I'm paying for it. Literally.

Anyway, you have two choices - grit your teeth, finish off your degree, and then do what you want to do, or change your major. The first is good if you intend to get a postgraduate degree. If, however, you don't intend on getting an MBA or a JD, then evaluate yourself - what do you like to do, what do you want to do? Then change it. If you are relying on your bachelors degree, it's best to get it in something that you want to do, because most likely you will be doing it for a loooooong time.

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pfresh85
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I don't know what I like. I spend most of my spare time at my apartment reading, occasionally writing, doing some graphic and video stuff on my computer, and other such stuff.

Other majors I've considered have been Architecture and Radio-Television-Film. For both, I'd have to transfer to UT though. So yeah. I have no clue. I'm frustrated because I feel like I'm going in a circle.

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pfresh85
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I think this decision is making me sick now. I slept poorly and now I feel terrible. Where's the guidance that I need? Why am I so lost?
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Shan
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Do what I did:

Drop out and do lots of community service, work lots of low-wage but somewhat interesting jobs that are hands-on (i.e., social services street outreach, or construction, or admin support, or wait tables on a graveyard shift - you wouldn't believe the fascinating people you meet), and in your mid-20s or so go back with some clear ideas . . . life experience, goals, and motivation to never scrub toilets for a living again unless it's a choice between survival and starving.

*smiles*

I'm not mocking you -

And I do think it would be so helpful for our highschool grads to get some encouragement to gather life experiences in lots of areas before making major life decisions . . .

Hang in there - be open to input and trust your gut.

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pfresh85
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Part of the problem is I don't trust my gut. I talk myself out of it.
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tern
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There are worse things in life than a nearly free degree, even if it isn't in something you want to do.
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pfresh85
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What if you are totally miserable though, both because of the classes you're having to take and because of the school you are at?
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Shan
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Life does have it's less than perfectly enjoyable moments.

A large part of our satisaction and enjoyment result from our attitude.

I suspect the classes are not what is making you miserable.

There was a thread earlier on ways to practice the fine art of gratitude - especially when things seem not so great.

*wanders off to try and find it*

Edit to add: the search function is not finding me the specific thread although there seem to be quite a few related to the topic of gratitude - I'll keep my eyes open. It had some great thoughts about very concrete ways of using a focus on one's blessings to improve one's perception of life . . .

[ October 29, 2005, 02:18 PM: Message edited by: Shan ]

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