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What should i do with my life?

  1. Dec 16, 2009 #1
    im 21 years old and i have done absolutely nothing in my life. i havent taken the sat,act, or any type of college entrance exams. i am stuck in a rut and i dont see a way to get my life moving. i have made so many mistakes in my life. there are so many regrets i have.
    i remember not having the money to take the sat. a teacher who saw great promise in me gave me the 45 dollars to take the test. i bought a fat sack of weed instead. i remember slacking off in school. i recently got myself into a whole crapload of legal trouble that has snowballed, which is a great source of anxiety for me.

    what i have against me:
    i have been diagnosed with several mental disorders (severe obsessive compulsive disorder, crippling anxiety and depression, adhd, mild bipolar disorder, intermittent explosive disorder)
    I am on probation, i have a pending felony charge against me for which i will probably have to serve time(let alone have a felony on my record, which will slam shut the door to success in my freaking face). I did abhorrently in school because i was a slacker, a stoner, and had the misguided idea of "wanting to be a nonconformist like everybody else". god i hate myself for slacking off in school. i could have gone so far by now. i had so much promise.

    What i have going for me:
    i have an iq in the 130's, i have an intense interest in physics and mathematics,(over the past year i have taught myself mathematics, from what i should have learnt in high school and now i am learning the subject material of calculus 3 and differential equations. a great accomplishment to teach myself all this, i think) in particular i am interested in numerical analysis, and the beauty of the algorithms used to accomplish what no analytic approach can. I find great intrigue and beauty in the equations of fluid mechanics(although i have not yet reached the point where i can understand the navier stokes equations) but as i smoke my cigarette i watch the smoke curl and diverge upwards and i see great beauty in the smoothness of the flow.

    right now im in the mixed state of mania and depression(i quit taking my meds a while ago because i was feeling manic and quite good), the mood swings are intense now and i fear the crash from which i will not come back up.

    but anyway, i feel there is no way for me to succeed at life. i want to make a name for myself, i want to be remembered. but i see no way of that happening. between having slacked off in school, getting in legal trouble, and the many more mistakes that seemed inconsequential at the time, i see that i can only be a failure at life. how can a (soon to be) convicted felon who has slacked off for 21 years do something with his life?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2009 #2


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    Learn from one's mistakes, stop slacking and start working, stay out of trouble, clean up one's act, and move on.

    And don't smoke.

    At 21, one still has plenty of time to turn one's life around.
  4. Dec 16, 2009 #3
    i guess i have found an escape in mathematics and physics. it allows me to avoid thinking about my life. i could turn that into something productive but in order to do that i would first have to take my college entrance exams. i know that i need to score phenomenally on my tests, but im not the best with language and grammatical rules. also i may be intelligent but im not a quick thinker and the time constraints are very problematic, even in the math sections. i took the practice test and scored about 1200, which is good but not good enough when i have no money and a criminal background and did poorly in school. i think that taking the tests is my first priority.(also, taking an sat test will look very good when the judge sees that)
  5. Dec 16, 2009 #4


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Well, keep at it. There are setbacks and that will make it challenging.

    On the other hand, do well, demonstrate honest effort, and rise to the challenge.
  6. Dec 16, 2009 #5

    Same thing I would say. I'll add a few things.

    Your post wreaks of negativity. While you have many things to be negative about, getting down on yourself and seeing no possibility of improvement in your life isn't going to help. Why not be glad that you realized your love for physics and that you've decided to straighten your act out now rather than 10 years from now while your doing time because you didn't straigthen up? You've made many mistakes but you've learned from them so move on and don't make the same mistakes twice. You said you have many regrets. Regretting so much might be causing some of your negativity. Why not look back on these regrets and think about why you did what you did and make sure not to do the same thing again. If you learned something from the experience then you shouldn't be regretting it. Your only 21, you have a lot of time left to live your life. 20 years from now you'll be laughing at the stupid things you did while you were still a kid. The next few years may be tough but if you want to change your life for the better you will stick with it and stay out of trouble.

    As far as the SAT and school goes.. I agree with taking the SAT as soon as possible. It's good to have evidence supporting your claim that you are straighting out your life when you are in front of the judge.
    You said that you don't have the money for school. Here I would suggest two paths. Try to get a loan or two and attend a 4 year university and get a part time job to pay for your other expenses.
    You could also get a job and take classes at a community college for a few years. Save up enough money while taking classes at the community college to be able to transfer into a university and finish up your degree.

    My older brother has a very similar story. He did time for multiple things. When he got out he went to school to be a massage therapist. He now has a 3 year old son, is working as a massage therapist, and is very happy and glad he straighten up his act.
  7. Dec 16, 2009 #6
    thanks for all the help. i generally use mathematics as an escape from my life, not a means of moving my life forward. Whenever i try to go forward in my life i feel alot of anxiety for some reason, and im afraid that studying mathematics for scholarly purposes rather than for recreational purposes will ruin it for me. but i know what i need to do. i just gotta quit screwing up and hopefully when the judge sees that im shaping up he will drop the felony. Thats my main worry right now. i feel like all i can do is take the tests and even if i do poorly, the judge will at least see that im trying to do something productive with my life. i dont want a felony on my record, and im hoping my probation wont be revokated. if i end up incarcerated it will be a huge setback for me.

    as for quitting smoking, we'll see. lol
  8. Dec 16, 2009 #7
    If you end up serving time, use it to continue your studies.

    Find a mentor, and listen to him.

    After you have a degree your biggest hurdle is going to be finding good employment. Consider contracting. You can still be limited on who you can work for but you may be able to bypass hiring criteria with new small companies.

    Look ahead, not behind. The hardest thing is creating a disciplined life for yourself. Find others that have the attributes you desire in yourself and hang with them.
  9. Dec 16, 2009 #8
    and if i serve time it will severely affect my ability of what to study. my mathematical interest is numerical analysis. (for example: anybody ever tried doing 1 million iterations of runge-kutta by hand?) without my computer to write programs that test algorithms ill be lost. but i guess that will give me time to study what i need to study for the SAT. im just worried about the big guys beating me up for being different lol. (actually jail isnt that bad if ur a nerd but i am potentially facing prison time of up to 3.5 years.(although they never go by the maximum sentence, it is a scary idea) and ive never been to prison)
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  10. Dec 16, 2009 #9
    I'm in a similar situation, except I have decided I am going back to University. I got one degree and goofed off for 5 years. I'm 24 now and I just spend all my money on physics books on amazon. It's time to step up to the bat and swing, I honestly don't care if I strike out, I have a passion for something and I'm following it, I suggest you try and do the same, if you get a second chance do not let it go. Get off the drugs, get healthy and work hard to get yourself in a position where opportunity may strike.
  11. Dec 16, 2009 #10
    Isn't life all about falling over and over again and standing up everytime you fall and contiue pursuing your dreams.. It's pretty much over when you refuse to acknowledge your failures/stop standing up when you fall IMHO
  12. Dec 16, 2009 #11
    Your first priority should be to get those psych disorders under control. Get the correct meds, and start exercising regularly if haven't so already. Once your mind is clear, start taking babying steps and follow your dreams.

    Also don't forget to find that teacher and return his/her $45 bucks someday.
  13. Dec 16, 2009 #12
    You don't have to have a degree and make big advancements in math and physics to be a good person. Make youself feel good by making others happy.
  14. Dec 17, 2009 #13
    one is the loneliest number that you will ever seeeeeeeee/.
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