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Unread 08-27-2012, 09:11 AM   #31
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I'm 27 and STILL don't know what to do...

My step dad said I should be a paramedic like him, it sounded silly at the time but now I've been considering it.
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Unread 08-27-2012, 09:13 AM   #32
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I too don't know what I want to do, between radio work, acting, and cosplaying..
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Unread 08-27-2012, 10:49 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Jia Jem View Post
The best advice I would give to 18-year-old Jia would be to tell my parents to STFU and that it's my life and no, they are not going to bully me into going into college right away. I wish I had taken a shit job, lived in an apartment, dicked around for a year or two, and then when that became boring and I had more time to think about it, I would be more serious about school, what I wanted and have more direction in my life.

I think parents of a certain generation are brainwashed into believing that college is 100% THE ANSWER and that by getting a 4-year or more degree degree is THE WAY (and only way) to achieve any sort of decent life. It is complete bullshit, and people here have already discussed why. It also sucks trying to convince parents of this, when they can easily threaten to cut you off or kick you out if you don't do what they want you to do with your life.

It took me 6 years to get my 4 year degree precisely because I was waffly for the first 2 years, not knowing exactly what I wanted, changing degrees, and just "going with the flow".

Not to say I didn't have fun in the meantime, but looking back I think rushing myself because my parents were pressuring me was a waste of my time and ultimately their precious money.

Of course, the flip side will be watching your friends go off to college while you stay behind to carve a different path - or not, you could always go apply for a dream internship right away, you don't need to go through a school official to do that! I think I was programmed to think that college = success, and no college = failure, but I wish I could go back in time and open my eyes to other opportunities that neither my highschool nor parents considered viable options. (And therefore, I didn't think about.)
Wow, without reading any further in this therad, I agree with you so much Jia. My parents are immigrants to Canada, and I find that so many immigrant parents mistakenly put far too much faith in 4-year undergrad degrees resulting in success. My job has nothing to do with what I studied. I got into my field out of pure luck, and I chose it simply because my dad is in the same field and I had no other ideas at the time. I look at my friends who got their degrees the same time as me, and if they're not in Masters programs, they're unemployed and living with their parents, or "going back to school for teacher's college".

I felt forced into university, and pressured to finish in the allotted 4 years. It would have been inconceivable to switch majors or take longer than 4 years to graduate. It would have been like failure to my parents. I wasn't mentally ready to go on to higher education after high school, but with all my parents' pressure and stress, it also seemed like the only way out. So I refused to apply anywhere in town, and picked a school 2 and a half hours away. Not as far as some other people, but far enough that I had to live on campus in first year, and rent a place after that. I rebelled, I didn't do very well because I wasn't terribly interested in studying, but I had fun not living with my parents.

Now, I'm working because I have rent, bills, and a car loan to pay, scraping enough extra together to pay for night classes in community college, and wishing I'd been given the option of going to community college when I finished high school. I hate my job, feel insanely jealous of people who studied something they're working in the field of, and feeling hopeless about breaking into the industry I actually want to be in because I missed some of the early opportunities students have to make connections, volunteer at events to network and learn things, and make mistakes.
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Unread 08-27-2012, 11:03 AM   #34
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Anyway, to the OP, it takes a lot of soul searching to figure out what you want to do in life. Don't let anyone patronize you for it, or pressure you into finding yourself faster than you're prepared to. My mother has always scoffed at people who need time to figure themselves out, maybe take a few months to travel and "soul search" but she seems to forget that she didn't know what she wanted to do until she was nearly 40. It's only now that she's in her late 50s that I think she really knows who she is.

If you know what you like to do, do some research online for possible career paths. Even if you don't know, the Google research could possibly help you look for ideas and give you more information about what you might find interesting. For the uni programs you're considering, take a look at course outlines and descriptions, career mapping, etc. Or check out what kind of training it takes to actually score a position in that field. Talk to a friend or sibling, communicate with your parents. Have a good long heart to heart with a trusted older confidante about your future. It doesn't have to be a parent (actually, it would preferably not be a parent), it could be a grandparent, an aunt or uncle you're close with, a close family friend, etc. Someone who has had more life experience than you, knows you well, cares about you, and can help you figure things out on a personal level while being able to be more objective than a parent.
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Unread 08-27-2012, 11:08 AM   #35
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I know I touched on it briefly in other threads, but consider going into an internship program. You won't get paid, or at least not much at all, and you'll be the grunt of the workplace you're at but you get experience and references from working in these types of positions which can invaluable in helping you get into a job you might like down the road.

That said, this isn't for everybody as we're not all in a position to work for something that doesn't pay.
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Unread 08-27-2012, 04:11 PM   #36
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Seconding community colleges. I'm taking core classes right now before I transfer to a 4 year school, and it's so much cheaper. But then again, my mom works at another location for my community college, so I get free tuition xD I consider myself extremely fortunate. It seems like the key to figuring out a general direction is to take as many courses as you can, and some community colleges have many things to offer. Just make sure it's accredited, otherwise you're being scammed. Well, I guess the key isn't trying many courses, it's trying many new THINGS. It doesn't have to be through school. Taking a year or so off to travel or find yourself is a fantastic idea too. You don't have to go into college right after high school! I don't think you need to know what you're going to do for the rest of your life (it's cruel to expect a young person who's barely figuring themselves out to make them decide on their whole lives), but try and get a degree in something that you're ok with and will give you a decent paycheck at the end of the week. And if you find your passion, it's always good to still have a trade to fall back on in case you fall on hard times. I'd like to go into art, but I know it's a really difficult field. My mom is really pushing me to just get a degree in some sort of trade, not just because art is a crazy field. The women in our family always seem to have some sort of tragedy happen in their families where they became the sole breadwinner, but because they had a trade to fall back on, they were able to pick themselves up in no time flat. Hope my 2 cents helps.
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Unread 08-27-2012, 04:48 PM   #37
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Just a warning: don't take too long on deciding what you want a degree in. College credits do have an expiration, usually about 10 years, but varies by class and by school.
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Unread 08-27-2012, 11:45 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Danteisagenius View Post
Hey! I know I am new here and all, and don't know many people, but could anyone lend me a hand here? I really would value the input of people with a similar mindset (You know; Cosplayers!). Basically, I have no idea what I really want to do with my life and high school will be over in a year! I'll admit that I am a bit freaked out (Actually beyond a bit..). I have considered becoming a game artist, an information technologist, or even a UX designer, but honestly I have no clue. I really do not know of anything that makes me "happy," (besides cosplay, but lets face it; there's no cash in that!) so the whole " do something you love" thing is not applicable. Some people tell me to try community college first to find myself,but wont I then miss out on a ton of scholarships that could be used for a bigger university or college? So confused. All I know is that I want a low-stress decent job.. Anyone out there who has gone through a similar headache? Please share if you would!
I read through several of the posts here and I first want to say, congratulations on your soon to be high school diploma! Secondly I think it is absolutely excellent that you are considering getting a college degree!

I'm also extremely stunned that several in this thread seem to be dismissing the benefits of a college degree. Or saying they wish they hadn't bothered with college...well let me ask some questions here.

For those who went to college

1) Did you have a well rounded curriculum?

2) If you began college unsure of what you wanted to do with your life, did you begin with a general course curriculum?

3) Did you take any classes based upon curiosity or long time interest?

4) Did you take part in any clubs in college?

5) Did you take on a part time job in college?

6) Where you a slacker or a hard working student?

7) Did you discuss your future goals and long standing interests with your college adviser? Not just once, but on a continuous basis?

Danteisagenius, similar to you I actually am in the gaming artist degree program going in my senior year. AND YES, a four bachelors degree is a major bonus! How else does one expect to gain the required skills...::note:: a trade school will not provide this type of education.

Check out these gaming corporations to see the type of skills they require


Bethesda and affiliates (makers of Skyrim)

Here is an example of a career you could potential have as a gaming artist


Division: Bethesda Game Studios | Department: Art | Location: Rockville, US-MD, US

Bethesda Game Studios is seeking talented animators to join our growing team. The Animator will animate creatures and characters for next generation products.


Excellent 3d animation skills.
Excellent fine art skills (sketch work and/or 3D concept work).
Ability to rig models for animation.
Modeling and texturing skills a plus.
Experience with 3D Studio Max and Photoshop.
MotionBuilder experience a plus.
ZBrush experience a plus.
Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts, Graphic Arts, or 3D Design a plus.
Experience with The Elder Scrolls Construction Set or GECK a plus.
Experience playing previous Bethesda Games Studios games.
Game industry experience a plus.

Also Electronic Arts provides advice for individuals interested in this type of field.

I have only provided a few links and companies here, but those alone should give you an idea of the potential that there is with becoming a gaming artist. This also points out the necessity for acquiring a bachelors degree, you just need to make sure that you go to a reliable college that has the curriculum you need.

I myself go to Eastern Michigan University in the Simulation, Animation, and Gaming design program. I now have two and half years of experience using Autodesk 3DS Max, Maya, and Inventor, as well as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, and After Effects. Further more, if you go to a college/University in which the degree program designed intelligently with proficient instructor's, then you end up receiving Autodesk's software packages (which are used by the industries and have the monetary value of several thousand dollars) for free.

Sure college can be challenging and specialty degrees such as a 3D gaming artist are extremely intense and will put you through stress and such. But to get the most fun and creatively rewarding careers in the industry, you will need to be able to handle the stress. I have spent many 24 hour periods working on projects simply to get them done in time and I enjoy it because I love being creative and knowing that my 3D creations will eventually be seen by the masses; yet at the same time it is stressful...but still majorly fun.

Not only that but to a certain extent my passion for being a 3D artist and being a geek is what brought me into cosplay. Cosplay fits like a glove around being a 3D artist and geek.

So whether or not you begin college right away or take a few years to decide what you truly want to do, I would definitely encourage college. After all, I was a late bloomer myself and didn't start college until after my 20's, because I didn't know what I wanted to do. But I knew I always wanted to go to college. Now that I'm here, I LOVE IT!!!

It's challenging, it's intense, it can pull your nerves, but it's worth it!

If money is an issue, just apply for financial aid monies and depending upon your situation you may receive grants; money that is given to you for your college expenses. It may not cover all expenses but depending upon your college it should help with 30% - 70%.

Lastly, the way the economy is these days and will be for the next few years yet, nearly everyone is seeking employment. Which means that employers are in turn seeking the highest qualified applicants. What this means is that unless you have impeccable job skills and an expert portfolio with numerous years of experience, you are not going to get much of a job. Meaning that you need a four year bachelors degree.

Because many gaming and movie industries work with colleges in order to recruit students directly from college, this generally happens during the Senior year, but sometimes Junior year. If done properly, college can be your key to your dream career! A few fellow students who graduated last year were hired practically on the spot and it because the students had a passion for 3D artistry, their work experience was minimal, but the quality and time they invested into their class projects was in large part what got them hired.

On a side note: There is no such thing as a "low stress decent job", the closest thing that resembles is a job in which you have no responsibilities and no expectations. You will not find that in the real world! If you are looking for low stress, perhaps you should try some menial labor jobs for awhile. Who knows, some people actually enjoy having a career and a life that never moves forward. Shortly after I was out of high school and then trade school I tried that approach and then working in I.T. but for me at least, that was when I began dreaming of going to college. Skip ahead a decade and I'm in college.

Anyway, I apologize for writing so much, it just shocked me to see so many in this thread dismissing college. I just think that those individuals either didn't look deep enough within themselves to figure out what they wanted when they were in college, or they didn't have enough of a well rounded college education, or they didn't take prior advantage of the knowledge they could acquire when they were in college, or they simply thought of it as party time and didn't try hard enough.

What ever the case, make an intelligent decision about college, research, investigate, consider what you want to do, speak with advisers, other students, tour the colleges, call them, email them, just get information. If someone tells you college is not worth the time and effort, do not simply accept that! Ask why! Investigate! Some people have bad experiences with college and some of those are because they were not prepared and did not know what they were getting themselves into. There are also those who enjoy college but get back into life and can't find a career, again this is due to lack of foresight and not being prepared for what careers and what economy awaits after college.

So do your research!

::Edit:: I apologize if I struck any nerves with my post, it's just that I have known a lot of past friends who felt that college was not worth their time. Yet those same people more often then not complain and moan about how life is unfair and how they should be given the same chance as a college graduate. Yet even though they have trade school education, they lack a well rounded bachelors degree and specialty skills. Hence they aren't taken seriously by employers. However to all those who do have a good life and a good career without a bachelors degree, I say...honestly congratulations! From my experience you have rare skills.
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Unread 08-28-2012, 12:44 AM   #39
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It's really your decision, and it requires a lot more introspection than we can provide, since we don't know you. I'm a stress-addicted overachiever, so not taking my studies seriously was never an issue. Education is what you make of it; if you want to learn and you make an effort to learn, you will learn, and you will pick up valuable life skills in the process.

On that note, I'm probably not the person to talk to about a low-stress decent job. It depends a lot on precisely where you work, which obviously isn't going to be decided when you're in high school. However, stress also corresponds to how much responsibility you're willing and able to assume, and there's a pretty high correlation between *that* and how much money you're earning.

On the college note:

Community college isn't a bad idea if you don't know what you want to do. Take a wide variety of classes, get as many GE's as you can out of the way (do your research as much as possible though; some 4 year universities won't accept transfers from certain classes). You don't actually find out some of what you want to do until you do it. For example, my husband thought he hated math until he took statistics classes in grad school. Turns out, he loves it and he's quite good at it.

Think about what general things you like doing and think of how you can combine them.

My story: I've always been *excellent* in math, and quite an artist, so I decided to pursue architecture as a way of combining those two things.

In my second year as an architecture major, I started taking some of my required structural engineering courses. Turns out, architecture didn't have enough math for me, and I love being an engineer, so I switched. And there's nothing wrong with that, especially as you find your niche.

Looking back on it, ending up as an engineer made a lot of sense for me in how I approach things, especially cosplay. I'm very detail oriented and logical in my cosplay. My approach to my costuming is very similar to my engineering (just one involves a lot more math). For me, the joy comes in making things work, so making a costume become reality and designing how to make a building a reality fulfill a similar need. I actually brought up this parallel in my job interview, and it helped me get my job.

My point is that the industry itself is often less important than what you do in it. Think about *why* you enjoy what you enjoy, and that will help give you a good place to start. For me, it was the creative problem solving in a very concrete, physical form. Some people enjoy things that are much more theoretical.

Regarding Finances:

There are plenty of scholarships available to people after high school, or at least there were for architectural engineering. It may be difficult to get them straight off, and they will often be much more merit based, but they're out there.

And I don't know what student loans everybody else has been seeing, but my husband's rates on his student loans are nothing compared to credit card interest. You can't default on them, but that doesn't make it worse than a credit card.

You absolutely shouldn't take on debt irresponsibly, though. The issue's just a lot more situation-based then just do or don't. The cost of living in my college town was incredibly high, and you weren't going to save a lot by working instead of taking classes one semester unless you were cramming way more people into your apartment/house than legally allowed. Also, being a technical degree, the school made a lot more difference for me than a liberal arts school. I ultimately didn't need loans; my parents helped out and I started getting in-state tuition as soon as I was able, but I probably would have gotten them had my parents not been able to help.
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Unread 09-01-2012, 02:31 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Danteisagenius View Post
Hey! I know I am new here and all, and don't know many people, but could anyone lend me a hand here? I really would value the input of people with a similar mindset (You know; Cosplayers!). Basically, I have no idea what I really want to do with my life and high school will be over in a year! I'll admit that I am a bit freaked out (Actually beyond a bit..). I have considered becoming a game artist, an information technologist, or even a UX designer, but honestly I have no clue. I really do not know of anything that makes me "happy," (besides cosplay, but lets face it; there's no cash in that!) so the whole " do something you love" thing is not applicable. Some people tell me to try community college first to find myself,but wont I then miss out on a ton of scholarships that could be used for a bigger university or college? So confused. All I know is that I want a low-stress decent job.. Anyone out there who has gone through a similar headache? Please share if you would!
I have multiple experiences with college. I have taken music theory, chemical engineering technology, electronics engineering technology, and other courses. All of these courses were used as hobby courses.
I would suggest pursuing your cosplay career. There are many courses for cosplayers including Graphics engineering for creating your own anime, computer graphics design, and other courses for creating anime, costumes [fashion creations], and other areas of interest. Clothing design and manufacture may also be considered. If you like cosplaying very much, follow the careers designed to enhance your cosplay career.
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Unread 09-07-2012, 05:08 PM   #41
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I went to a four year college - it took 5 years to finish. I started with general education classes for the first two years. I took a lot of time and read through the class bulletin - the book that lists what classes are available in each college (liberal arts, medicine, engineering, etc) and read about what classes were needed for each major. I was able to narrow it down and took some overlapping classes. I even pursued a major I ended up abandoning after a few classes because it wasn't for me. At the end of the day - I'm a design engineer. The degree just kind of lands you in the field if you want a 40/45 hour work week type job - no need to get hung up on the specifics.
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