Wrong Way To Motivate

A certain post in one of my Facebook groups reminded me of something from high school.

When I was in tenth grade (for the second time due to transferring schools), one of my teachers once mentioned planning to get her master’s degree. In what subject, I forgot, but I suppose I asked her about it. I really don’t remember what I said, but I do remember her answer. She told me she was pursuing it because she wanted to be able to walk into a store for a pair of $600 shoes and say she has the money for them.

I didn’t know what to think of that. To this day, I still don’t. I do now understand her intention with that answer was likely motivating me to take my own schoolwork more seriously, but that came off as an extremely shallow reason. I realize she meant she was trying to financially better herself, but surely, there was a better way to phrase it.

I won’t lie and pretend I don’t like shopping. I do, and in the last few years, clothes have made the list of what I like to shop for (when it’s of my own wishes, not someone else’s). But I don’t think there’s any article of clothing on the planet that looks so appealing, I’d be willing to give $600 for a single quantity of it. Especially not clothing that’s worn on the ground! One “talent” I do have is the tendency to give my shoes a pounding. That $600 would become a waste in 2 to 3 months.

Obviously, these are my values, but I don’t like the idea of materialism being a motivator for education. For starters, education itself is expensive. I think I’d sound very funny if I told someone I spent thousands of dollars to be able to blow thousands of dollars. That sort of reason would likely motivate only someone whose end goal was wealth. My end goal is stability, which is not synonymous with wealthiness. That doesn’t mean I’d complain if I were rich. It means it’s not necessary for me to be happy. For me, when I can say I fully support myself without living paycheck to paycheck, I’ll see myself as successful, regardless of what the number allowing me that privilege is.

For the sake of not coming off as “holier than thou”, I’ll say right now I do not think I’m better than anyone whose end goal is wealth and purchasing multi-hundred dollar clothing. If that teacher’s given reason makes sense to someone else or motivates, great. I’m just not that person. Yes, there are expensive things I do want and sometimes obtain, but those things have many more functional uses than strutting pavement, so I see them as more valuable for my own use.

I’m certainly not above materials. I have a big collection of books, games, DVDs, and dolls, as well as some smaller collectible things like jewelry, boxes, and stuff animals, and I have a $100 phone. Whenever I think about that teacher’s comment, I think about how much $600 could buy besides a single pair of shoes. Perhaps it’s only because she said shoes I found her answer very weird since shoes are meant to be worn outdoors and would naturally ruin over time from use. Maybe she was exaggerating and merely trying to emphasize a point. Maybe she thought that was the goal of all students. Or maybe it was some kind of last resort since I wasn’t an easy student to motivate. I value the job I have now over school, so she wouldn’t be entirely off the mark. Only wrong it’s money I care about most.

I do plan to return to school, but I have my own motivation and finance is only a part of them. The most important parts are somewhat intangible. And one is human.

I’m Scared

There. I said it.

What am I scared of? A lot of things, but this in particular.

I’ve been struggling so much about what to do regarding college and reading things like this only confirms my fears.

Science-related subjects are considered to be the most lucrative careers that exist.  I’ve never heard anyone speak lowly of pursuing these degrees and, in my experience, you’re told you’ll always have a job because they’re in high demand. When people say they got college degrees and still can’t find work or are stuck in dead-end jobs, it’s typically assumed they got a “useless” degree, such as something in art, philosophy, or gender studies.

This just tells me you can work hard and still not get anywhere. It seems like it doesn’t even matter. I already fear returning to college for a degree and ending up right back where I started, but what I want to major in is art-related. To go for something in STEM and still end up right back where I started? I’d kick myself for the rest of my life.

On top of that, I’ve been told there are many different paths to success, but I can only find three. Go to college, go to trade school, or find a job and work your way up. I’ve heard of trade school being more profitable than college, especially because you’re not saddled with debt for an extremely long time, but I can’t think of a single trade I’d be capable of. If web design or art/animation were a trade, I’d go for one of those, but unfortunately, they’re not. I’ve also heard, unlike college, you cannot get financial assistance for trade school. You have to pay for it out of your own pocket. I’m still unemployed, so that’s not possible. My only option is finding a job, which I am having a very hard time with.

The only thing I’m sure of right now is that I am a terrible adult. I cannot figure anything out. I’ve been an adult for three years now and I still have no clue how to be one. I’m already upset that I can’t avoid debt, meaning I will owe someone or something money for as long as I live, and I’m honestly afraid I am always going to be in this position. If I end up going back to school, I want that venture to pay off. Not to throw shots at anyone, but I do not want to end up like my mother, going back to school multiple times in an attempt to better my life and getting nowhere except into more debt.

It’s terrifying and I know adults are supposed to do everything themselves (pretty much the point of being an adult), but I wish I had someone to guide me through all of this and help me get somewhere. I don’t know where I am or what I’m doing or how I’m going to get myself anywhere except where I’m already at. I know what I want. I can’t figure out how to get it. I wish adulthood came with a manual for these situations.

Really, all I want is not to be so useless. Clearly, I’m not doing that well.

Is Debt Inevitable?

There are three things in life I want to avoid: debt, pregnancy, and abusive relationships. The latter two aren’t a problem. The first? Apparently impossible.

I already have a small debt from attending college previously, and I want to avoid more, but it seems that may be the only way I can get anywhere. I genuinely want to attend school again, especially since it’s supposed to heighten the chances of finding work, but if all it earns me is crippling debt I can never pay off and I end up exactly where I started, I’ll end up kicking myself into outer space.

The number of people I’ve heard of who return to school again and again in an attempt to better their career chances honestly frightens me. My own mother has been attending school since I was fifteen years old, and she still has yet to hold even one job. My ex (if you can call someone you had a one-month relationship with that) is 28 and has been to school multiple times, and has gone through several different jobs. He once told me he’d join the military as a last resort. I’m not going that far!

It doesn’t help that the only things I have a chance in could hardly be considered lucrative. They may be worth a shot, but if I fail, I’m out of luck and no amount of learning will make tens of thousands of dollars of debt disappear.

It seems debt is an inevitable part of adulthood. If I avoid it, I’ll never get anywhere. If I risk it, I may end up even worse than I was before, not to mention wanting to slam my head for being so freaking useless as an adult!

This is really the only thing holding me back. $3,500 is nothing compared to the debt most people have, and I can’t even pay that! There’s no way I deal with $50,000 or whatever I could potentially end up with.

There are a lot of people who say “think positive” in regards to situations like this and it honestly just makes me want to tell them to go screw themselves. Not because I hate optimism, but because “thinking positive” has led to nothing but trouble. It’s how my mom ended up with me, for crying out loud, and that certainly didn’t end well!

Two Careers In One?

First off, let me just say I didn’t post about the Six Flags trip because it was awful. And no, I didn’t meet Sunny. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I don’t think he even came. The last time I was able to talk to him before going, he wasn’t feeling very well. Now, that that’s out of the way…

About two months ago, I posted about my biggest dream. Now, something has changed. Or rather, something been added.

Instead of a web designer, I seem to find myself wanting to become an animator. My mind has changed three times over the course of two years. When I mentioned this to a fave blogger of mine, she told me I could be all of those things and I shouldn’t limit myself. But the truth is I’m afraid to pursue either of those dreams. Art careers are notorious for being risky and the phrase “starving artist” exists for a reason. I gave up the first goal (which I will not mention, but it wasn’t art-related) because I’m clumsy and could hardly stay awake for the lectures (14 years of sitting and being lectured is enough). Granted, if I were to attend college for design or animation, it might be similar, but I don’t think sitting and reading out of a textbook is all that’d be happening. The blogger’s advice in regards to becoming a freelance animator was:

As far as I can tell, the secret is simply to make stuff, share it with as many people as possible and network a lot.

I don’t know how to network, but all in all, it sounds like a good start and it’ll let me know if I really want to stick with it or not. Of course, some programs for animation would be needed first. All I have is Photoshop, which I don’t even use to draw. I use it to add text, effects, and backgrounds. I was considering making an art blog on Tumblr, but I’ll probably just combine it with my main one until I’m certain I like what I’m doing. I already made the mistake of going to college against my wishes once. I’m not going to do it again.

Deserves The Best

I’m not the only one with college troubles. My best friend struggled with school and, despite trying her hardest, couldn’t keep her grades satisfactory. In actuality, it’s not entirely her fault. They’re her grades, yes, but the school screwed her over more than once. I helped her write an appeal and we’re both hoping it gets approve, so she can continue attending.

I was so angry when she told me she might lose her aid and be forced to withdraw. Not only because the school screwed her over, but because she works harder than anyone I know in my personal life. I don’t want to be there, so I couldn’t care less what they do to me, but she deserves to have her dreams more than anyone because she works the hardest. Whatever help I am able to give to her, I will.

If, heaven forbid, her letter isn’t approved, she will be heartbroken and I will lose my mind.

No More College

I never wanted to go to college and only did so out of pressure. Now, I really don’t have to go.

Long story short, I have a bill of over $3,500 to pay and I can’t register for any classes until it’s entirely paid off. I’m not sure how I’ll manage that, but at least I no longer have anything to worry about. That’s less debt than most and I can pay it.

Now, I really need to find a job. Now more than ever. I’m not sure how, but I’ll think of something. Right now, I’m planning to sell some of my old games for a little extra cash. I wish I could find out how to work from home, but I haven’t a clue as to how to go about that.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to not to get down on myself. The only reason I’m even feeling this way is due to pressure from family. I’m genuinely happy. I have lots of free time, so why be sad?

My Future Is Their Future

For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and yesterday, I came to a realization (I seem to do that a lot). Everything I’m doing for my future is not really for me. It’s for my family.

I didn’t want to attend college just yet. They pressured me to do it. I wanted to work for a while first. While I want a job/career related to technology, I took IT merely because it’s said to be one of the highest-paying jobs out there. While I want to be financially secure and not struggling paycheck to paycheck, I don’t care about making more money than everyone else. I don’t need a high-flying career. In fact, I want to be self-employed.

The belief that I need to be making the most money came from my family’s pressure. As long as I can live comfortably and fully support myself, I’m fine with however much I make.

I’m not ruling out college entirely, but I did go for the wrong reasons. I know not everything is fun and games and I don’t expect it to be, but I feel miserable and having my family’s approval isn’t worth that. If this is supposed to be my future, why am I doing nothing for myself and everything for them?

I don’t regret going entirely because I have gotten some good things out of it and if nothing else, I’ve learned I do not have the aptitude for anything with a boatload of science or math, or the patience to sit and be spoon-fed information as if I’m still in high school. Now, I’m trying to consider every option I really do have and see past the path that’s been painted out for me.

What I like most is design and while I wouldn’t want hand-drawing to be more than a hobby, I’d be fine with creating and designing websites being more than one. Maybe there’s a job or career for that. It’ll never be as lucrative as something like IT, but as I said, I don’t care about making more money than everybody else. No amount of money is worth is being miserable.

But I think, above all, I need to stop giving in to pressure. How long is it going to take me to learn that lesson?