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Personal Ranting

  1. May 17, 2008 #1
    I used to post here. It might have been years ago. As of lately, I have become bored (no offense) and decided to check out some of my old haunts. I am not depressed, but I am having some problems in my life lately so I thought I would see what people here think. I don't expect to get an answer, but typing things out is a bit helpful for me in and of itself. So here goes.

    I was a 90%+ student in High School with relatively little effort. I decided to take English in university and found out I was not that interested in making a career of it. I switched to Philosophy, and I just finished my second year with mediocre results. I am planning on switching to Biology and am quite happy with this decision.

    So basically I spent two years barely applying myself. I felt bad about this, but I was mainly passionate about playing World of Warcraft, a video game. I have become incredibly good at this, but I have become bored of it lately (possibly due to extra time avaliable to play in the summer). Honestly, though, it is due to a realization that while I can ignore virtual obligations and accomplishments with little consequences to myself, this attitude can't be applied in real life forever. I am fortunate enough that I have strong support from parents. I would like to hope that next semester I take Biology and everything falls into place, but I think that is too idealistic.

    For some reason, I am not motivated to apply myself. I looked up motivation and found that there are two stereotypical types, intrinsic and extrinsic. I already have felt guilty and know I should be doing something. So, clearly, extrinsic motivations do not play a strong influence in my decisions. Intrinsic motivations, such as my desire to play games (which have diminished), completely dominate my life.

    As bad as this sounds, my real life hinders my accomplishments in a virtual world. This should be the case, but if I were to turn this around, I could put in the efforts of a virtual world into a real one, and I could achieve a lot of things. This is all great on paper, but where is the motivation supposed to come from?

    What appeals to me in games is competition and challenging scenarios. I compete with other players and use different tactics to outsmart and outplay opponents. Perhaps I am using virtual achievements to overcome a normally low self-esteem?

    I have been to psychiatrists before, and they usually don't do anything but give me medication, which I am currently on and helps (believe me it helps), and I also think this issue is something that (with help) I need to overcome personally. I want to become passionate about learning again, meet new people, and have sexual encounters. My main issue, however, is motivating myself to do my work.

    I don't want to force myself to study and learn. I want to enjoy studying and learning for their own sake. I used to enjoy them more, and maybe I still do enjoy them and don't realize it. Maybe I have replaced the accessibility of virtual learning in non-real scenarios with the inaccessability of real learning. Honestly, the way information is presented in video games makes it much more compelling and complex in many circumstances, I think.

    Overall, I'm not sure what I want. I think I was in a personal bubble that I have just came out of and realized is not worth being inside. Before, I would have said I like playing video games. I even imagined myself having a life consisting of only video games and working, and I thought that such a life would be desirable. However, video games aren't an evil. They are fun. I don't think I should be focusing on them as much as I do?

    So, most of my rant doesn't seem to have much someone can view as a question. It's mainly just a public rant for personal therapy. However, if anyone has any ideas, specifically regarding how to enjoy learning over video games, those would be much appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. May 17, 2008 #2
  4. May 17, 2008 #3

    Math Is Hard

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    Do you live with your parents, or do you live on your own?
     
  5. May 17, 2008 #4
  6. May 17, 2008 #5
    I am living with my parents for the summer, and I live with my Dad when I attend university (they are seperated and my mother remarried).
     
  7. May 17, 2008 #6

    Moonbear

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    One thing that video games offer that real life doesn't always (or even often) offer is instant feedback. In a game, when you do something right, you immediately get points, when you make a mistake, you immediately get penalized. You may need that instant gratification to overcome low self esteem. Classes won't offer that. You do an assignment, it may or may not be graded. If it's graded, you'll wait a week or more for it to be returned. If your assignments aren't graded, your first evaluation of your performance could be an exam a month or more into your course.

    If you find a subject that really appeals to you, you may find it gratifying just to learn it. It's quite possible you've just gotten down in the dumps because you made a few bad choices about majors and don't like what you've been doing very much. Otherwise, you may need to find ways to make your work more rewarding for yourself, look for little things that indicate progress or accomplishments before receiving formal grades.

    Alternatively, you may simply thrive on competition. I don't know what your high school environment was like, but perhaps you knew more about how other students were doing and had some fun trying to beat them (even in friendly competition). In college, often people are less aware of who else is getting good grades in a class, so maybe you're missing that competition with individuals.
     
  8. May 17, 2008 #7

    cristo

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    I'm sorry to hear that you are having problems; I'm sure you've heard this before, but I'd like to reassure you that you are not the first person to have feelings like this.

    It sounds like you have reached your point in education where you need to actually start applying yourself, and cannot coast along anymore. This happens to most people when they reach university, and it can be a huge shock going from being the top of your class in school with hardly any effort, to being a mediocre student in your class at university. It certainly happened to me.. I remember being the top of the class in school, and hardly applying myself at all, and I also remember the shock of getting to university and being in classes with absolute geniuses. It is, however, important that you move on from this.

    Computer games can be fun, but need to be kept in moderation. You say that you do not want to force yourself to work, but sometimes this is necessary. I would be willing to bet that most people on this forum have had times in their education when they really couldn't be bothered to do a certain piece of work, or study for a certain class, and that there are 101 other things that they would rather do. However, you need to realise that education is your future, and other things (like computer games in your case) are fine to fill your free time, or to take a gap from studies.

    IF you can't draw this distinction, then you will need to forcibly cut the video games out of your life: take your computer away from your work zone, or dispose of it entirely. This may sound harsh, but in this case it is the only thing that will probably work.

    Of course, you could just give up on education, and get a job.. but then you will have even less time to play your computer games. The other major difference is that you will have to give them up to go to work.. you don't have a choice.

    So, I would advise that you try and adopt some self restraint now, rather than face a more severe problem later.
     
  9. May 17, 2008 #8
    I found your post helpful, but this part I am not sure about. While competition may have been a motivation for my efforts in High School, I am not sure how healthy it is. I have had problems in the past equating my personal self-worth with competitive achievements.
     
  10. May 17, 2008 #9
    You could certainly found yourself a good study partner to help motivate you ( I learned that has helped me alot), or find a nice chick to be there for you :smile:
     
  11. May 17, 2008 #10
    I am about to google this. I was always under the impression that self-control is something you have or you don't (for the most part).
     
  12. May 17, 2008 #11
    it's mostly a learned trait
     
  13. May 17, 2008 #12

    cristo

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    Absolutely not; if you don't have self control, then it is imperative to get some. Like I said, being a student is pretty forgiving; the worst thing that will happen to you if your miss deadlines in that you'll fail that course, but if you miss deadlines in your job because you took that extra time playing computer games rather than writing that report, then you'll find yourself fired; something which most people simply can't afford. Thus, it is highly advisable to fix this now, rather than later!
     
  14. May 17, 2008 #13

    Moonbear

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    Like anything, some competition can be good for you and very positive, but too much can be unhealthy or hold you back. It sounds like your video games are providing your competition right now, and you need to find something "healthier" as a source of competition. Maybe join a club and run for an office within the club, or run for an office in your student government to satisfy that need. Or, maybe it just needs to be friendly competition...find a study partner for your class and place bets on who scores better on an exam...the loser buys the winner dinner (the good thing about bets like that is it also guarantees something social after an exam...even if you're the loser, you have a friend to go out to dinner with).

    When you talk about extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation earlier, now that you say you've been competitive before, it sounds like that may be part of it. Competition with others is extrinsic motivation. Competition with yourself is intrinsic motivation. In the long run, you should strive toward finding ways to compete with yourself to stay motivated, but until then, realizing you have to get through school with decent enough grades to get a good job, if that means being a bit competitive with others, try to find a way to do that that doesn't get people mad at you for being too competitive (placing bets with friends as suggested above).
     
  15. May 17, 2008 #14

    Kurdt

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    Perhaps a simple answer is, that in a game the parameters are limited and the goals are set. So if you work towards something in a game you have a definite outcome for your efforts. In real life this is a little more ambiguous and so you must set the targets for yourself and be sure you know what you have to do to achieve. Sometimes you won't know how to achieve those goals and you may lose motivation, but then the goal becomes finding out how to achieve your original intentions. Where once your educators had set all the targets for you, you are now in an environment where you are the one that sets your own targets.

    (apologies if I repeated what someone else said I didn't have time to read all replies)
     
  16. May 17, 2008 #15
    Thanks for the help everyone. I'll be sure to check your responses (likely tommorow). I am going to write some fiction (I haven't in over a year), and then I'm going to read something (let's try some self-control and not watch tv) then go to sleep.
     
  17. May 17, 2008 #16

    Math Is Hard

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    What I seem to sense here is that there isn't any real consequence to spending tons of time playing video games, so there's not a strong motivation to cut back. Imagine a different scenario: living on your own, working 40 hours aweek, going to night school. You'd have to make the choice to cut back on games or there would be huge penalties. In your case, you can choose to discipline yourself, but it's optional. I'm not criticizing you in any way; self-discipline is incredibly hard.

    Sometimes when people are trying to change a behavior they don't want, they adopt the strategy of replacing it with another (desirable) behavior. Maybe you could trade some of your gaming time for volunteering or working on a biology research project? You might fall into something that really inspires you.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2008
  18. May 18, 2008 #17
    I am no specialist, but can tell you what worked for me. To me it wasn't computer games, but the principals are the same.

    I only found some direction and learnt some self-control after "running away" into the real world. To cut a long story short, few things are as challenging as establishing your own independence (especially for the first time) and in my case it was a self-enforced wake-up call.

    Now, that was me and what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another but I would advise you to try and become as independent as possible.

    Start washing your own clothes/get a part-time job/try to contribute something towards your tuition fees/anything that will give you a taste of "reality" because, unfortunately, "out there" no one gives a crap about you and ultimately it's up to you... :smile:
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2008
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