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College: Science or The Arts (Help please)

  1. Feb 11, 2014 #1
    I am sixteen years old and am a junior in High School. College has been a huge pressure in my life and I don't know what to study for college. I am constantly told to go with my passion, take a career test or you don't need to know now. I am always one for decisive decisions but I can not decide. I have loved film and cinema very much as well as all types of sciences since birth. They have been the only passions and things I am "good," or insightful about. I have struggled in freshman and sophomore year due to some personal experiences (as well as my chronic laziness :P) and now my GPA has suffered exponentially. It is a 2.5 and I am freaking out. It really limits my options. I have taken career tests but they both limit me and force me to choose science or the arts. Also limiting. (errrrrgggh). The biggest problem is during my elementary and middle school years, my math classes and teachers were BEYOND ATROCIOUS. Terrible teachers, bad students, etc. It all hindered my mental growth, now in High School I suffer in Algebra II and Trig because of my past experience and the formulas get jumbled in my head. It just doesn't click sometimes. I don't know why. I study. I do the problems right when the teacher watches. Then BAM! I get a D on my test. They say I have to be good at Math for science, but I get straight A's on the science finals! I really want to understand how the universe works more than anything. Much of which is in the realm of Physics, Which I hold an interest in. I've a couple actual formal IQ tests (upon my request) within the past year that dealt with numerical patterns, shapes, basic computation and verbal skills and I got on the first try a score of 134 IQ and on the second time I got a 137 IQ Score which they told me was very good. I JUST DON'T GET IT. Ugh I am completely lost. I don't know what to do. If you have taken the time to read this and answer I can't thank you enough. My MBTI personality type is INTJ if that helps at all.Thank you very much in advance!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2014 #2


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    Take a breath.

    Break your text into paragraphs.


    Of course it's nice to know what you want to do when you're in high school, but most people don't. A lot of people think they do, but when you're 16 or 17 years old, you don't really have enough experience to really know. But, like it or not, that's about the time when you have to start making some decisions.

    First, I highly encourage you to ignore "standardized testing" as much as possible. Scoring an IQ of 137 or a personality type of INTJ is about as useful as being told you're a Capricorn.

    Second, take ownership of your problems. Okay - you had bad teachers in the past. That means you'll have to work harder now. That sucks. But the only way to improve is to address that head on and do the extra work. If you're doing well in science and struggling in math, you'll have to focus on the math. Identify specific issues you have and develop a plan for tackling them.

    Finally, the only way anyone ever really figures a direction out is through trial and error. Some things that can help you might be projects beyond school. Are you in a drama club? Do you write novels? Have you participated in a regional science fair competition? This kind of involvement helps to give you an idea of what's out there, and sometimes lets you in on facets of different paths that you haven't considered.

    Another idea might be to start taking some tours of universities that you might be interested in attending. Most schools will have "open house" days where they have students available to talk about their experiences and professors who will give seminars in their respective fields. Exploring each option more deeply might help you to come to some decisions.
  4. Feb 12, 2014 #3
    I also had a terrible experience in middle and high school with student teachers who didn't know squat and it rubbed off on me not learning my algebra and falling behind. After having a wonderful calculus professor in college who set me on the right track, what do you know now I'm a math major graduating this semester. You need to focus on getting your Gpa above a 3.0 if ppssible. Colleges also like to see extra curricular like sports or student clubs and volunteering. Volunteering is also extremely helpful when looking for scholarships. And don't worry, even if you don't get in to a big state or private university, you always have the option of going to community college for your first year or two, acing your courses there, and then applying as a transfer student at your dream school.
  5. Feb 12, 2014 #4
    Go to community college. In like 90% of cases, community college is a much better option. You don't even need to graduate high school to go to community college. Just be 18. Community college honestly is better preparation than university. Much much smaller class sizes. More caring teachers.

    Also, you're 16. Basically nothing you do will have any real effect on your life. The only thing that will affect your life less than your actions when you're 16 are dumb tests that give you a string of numbers or letters.
  6. Feb 19, 2014 #5
    Thank you all very much for your replies! I'll heed your advice! :)
  7. Feb 19, 2014 #6


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    In the states where I've lived, there is no lower age limit to attend a community college. I took classes at one when I was ~16, and my daughter did too.
  8. Feb 19, 2014 #7
    A person can attend classes at my community college in Maryland as a 16 year old minor/high school junior as well, though I am not sure if you can attend before that. I have had several minors in my introductory science courses, especially in chemistry.
  9. Feb 19, 2014 #8


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    Just a heads-up; this will not change in college. You need to find a way to motivate and teach yourself things, because you'll probably have professors who're quite brilliant but lack teaching skills. The responsibility for growing mentally is on you. Professors and TAs will be there to help, but ultimately they are responsible for guiding you to understanding, not injecting you with it.

    I don't say this to scare or discourage you, but the mindset in the above quote can be dangerous and destructive. Take ownership of your situation, work as many problems as your schedule allows, and you should be fine.

    Like Choppy said, try to relax and realize that you still have plenty of time to find your career.
  10. Feb 19, 2014 #9


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    In addition to what the others have said, grades do not really matter. I graduated high school with a 2.5 gpa. Now im in the workforce, had zero problems getting a high paying job and I enjoy my work every day.

    i know high school seems like the world now, but trust me it is just the tip of the iceburg.

    I recommend taking responsibiliy for your learning and seeking out help when you need it. The key to sucess is putting in the hours. If you have trouble with math then do a few practice problems, then go to your teacher/TA and ask him/her to sit down with you.
  11. Feb 19, 2014 #10
    There are two ways to get from New York to California.

    First, you could hitchhike. When you are low on money, you could take an odd job here or there, and when you've got a few bucks in your pocket, take off for the open road.

    Or, you could buy a plane ticket.

    Either way, you will eventually end up at your destination. The first way will take a lot longer, be a lot harder, but give you a lot more interesting stories to tell people.

    It's the same thing with high school grades.
  12. Mar 6, 2014 #11
    You have all really helped me and I've taken the initiate with trying to get help with my math and I am better understanding it now that my mindset is different. And you're right I don't have to know now, and I shouldn't stress too much about it. I have been talking with some of my family friends currently in the fields who are going for each of the things I have thought about doing and they said the same thing. Thanks again!
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