This doesn't really have much to do with objectivism, but I need an objective answer to what I have to ask. I never really did well in school because I never studied and applied myself. I never joined any clubs or socialized with anyone. I currently go to a community college, having just begun my second year. I'm still not doing well because, once again, I'm not applying myself. It goes without saying that I am a lazy person. It was only a short while ago that I was introduced to Ayn Rand and her ideas. I saw the movie Atlas Shrugged before I read the book. It has definately changed my life, and I see the world in a whole new way. My question is: Is it too late to get a scholarship to a really nice college, despite my poor academic history? Or if I imporve my grades now, can I achieve what I desire? I agree with everything Ayn Rand says, and I understand her completely. There is a boy I know who is only 14, and he's going to Kellenberg, which is a really nice private school. He is gifted with a high IQ, and he has his career path planned out. I, however, don't. I'm not a smart person. I have no direction. I still don't know what I want to do for my career. I know I want a high-paying job that requires the use of the mind, as Rand puts it. However, I can't escape the idea that it's too late, despite the fact that several people tell me it's not. I feel like my life is predestined to failure and sadness. I feel absolutly useless. I majored in Liberal Arts, which was a huge mistake. I want to change my major to computer engineering, but I've already invested too much time and money in something that is utterly useless and meaningless. My mom pays for my college tuition, and she says I can't start over, because she's not wasting more money. She's right, and I agree with her. I already know that the right thing to do is pay for it myself, but once again, I feel like it's impossible. College is insanely expensive, and there's no way anyone my age could pay it alone. I feel hopeless. It depresses me bacause I know real leaders would never give up, but that's exactly what I think I'm ultimately going to do. I always feared of becoming a nobody. I want to be something important. Is life worth living if I'm doomed to a life of obscurity? I feel like I am, and I know it was my fault. Someone please answer me...
I hope the two answers so far give you something you can use. I think they have very helpful points. With all the wasted human potential in the world, it's an encouraging step to recognize you can and should be doing more, so I want to offer some suggestions too.
As you know from Ayn Rand, ideas are very powerful. Not just ideas people have about the world, but about themselves. If you want to change your life and direction, it means changing what you have control over. Two of those critical things are the thoughts & ideas that enter into your consciousness and the daily habits you undertake. Please reflect seriously on what those are, and which ones are moving you toward a better future vs those that are counterproductive or destructive.
Find people in your area you can associate with for encouragement and emulation. If you are willing to share your city and state, I or someone could possibly recommend some groups or individuals. What you want to do can be done in isolation, but it's much easier and likely to succeed if you have some supportive friends, family members, and acquaintences.
Commit to making some progress every day. Even just a little...don't let a single day go to waste and eventually you will make a lot of rewarding progress.
I hope that helps a little. You live in a wonderful time in history, in an amazing world. You have the ability and resources to build an amazing life if you choose to act on it, in a thoughtful, rational, and also passionate manner. If you don't feel the passion, at least start with the small actions and the rest will come later.
Collin1, have you read Ayn Rand's short story, "The Simplest Thing in the World?" As one who has begun majoring in English and history, it might be of considerable interest to you. It can be found at the end of Ayn Rand's book, The Romantic Manifesto.
Like the narrator in that short story, it would seem that your options at the moment are a bit limited. You could:
1) Drop out of school for awhile until you solidify what you really want to do, and take whatever job you can find from the Want Ads or elsewhere to pay your living expenses during your time of soul searching; or
2) Stay with English and history, become a teacher, and use your spare time from teaching to do your soul searching.
From what you've described and implied about your finances, I don't see how you would be able to manage a transition into computer techology as a career, unless you can do it on your own through Internet or similar resources (as has been suggested in the comments).
Would option 2 above really be so bad? It would also put you in an excellent position to introduce countless young students to Ayn Rand's ideas, little by little, as appropriate in relation to the material you are teaching. Gradually, over time, you might be able to qualify for better teaching positions and opportunities, perhaps at other schools, that would allow you to do even more in that direction. You've said that Ayn Rand's ideas have already turned your life around. You could help to turn other students' lives around, too, over time, if you plan your teaching activities intelligently.
And if you still really want to dig more deeply into computer technology, you would still be able to do that, too, in your spare time. You might even be able to specialize in history a little by focusing on the history of computing -- perhaps even teach classes in that subject someday.
Some additional thoughts:
-- "I want a high-paying job that requires the use of the mind, as Rand puts it."
I don't think Ayn Rand ever said that a job has to be high-paying. You'll almost certainly never get rich being a teacher (unless you're really good at it, and maybe write textbooks and work for a well endowed private school), but it should at least be able to pay your own modest living expenses.
-- "I always feared of becoming a nobody. I want to be something important."
Students often remember and appreciate their best teachers. And a good teacher can derive great satisfaction from his own work and accomplishments, regardless of any notoriety or the likely lack of it from others in the broader community. The teacher knows what values he is creating, even of only those others who come into direct contact with him also know it.
-- "Realistically, I see myself teaching English somewhere, or maybe history."
Hold onto that thought. Being realistic is an important first step. Would teaching really be so bad, especially compared to taking some interim job for college dropouts that you might find in the Want Ads? I would encourage picking something you can be good at and eventually enjoy doing, for the work itself and perhaps for the gratitude that at least some of your students may eventually show -- even if it doesn't exactly make you rich and famous in the larger community.
answered Dec 24 '11 at 01:18
Ideas for Life ♦
Stop saying "I am not this and that". Change it to "I don't have this skill or that skill". For example: Change I am not smart to I don't have good study habits. Change I am lazy to I need to fix my value system. Certainly there are things that you cannot change such as the color of your skin. The mind, however, is an extremely flexible instrument. All you have to do is change your perspective from "I am not" to "I don't have this but I can get it." It may take you longer and you may not be at the same level as some of your peers. However, that shouldn't be a problem unless there is an expectation that life must be "fair".
Some people destroy their motive power by focusing on the end rather than the now. Their desire for greatness is so strong that they give up whenever they run into an obstacle, thinking that this obstacle is too big of a hurdle and will keep them from becoming great. This is especially true if they define greatness in terms of how others will view them rather than how they view themselves. A negative opinion is sufficient to throw cold water on their passion and squash any desire to change themselves to become better.
The solution is to focus on the here and now. Look for small victories. Keep changing your methods and yourself until you can create incremental successes. Use those successes as fire for your passion to keep moving forward. Build on that and overtime you will become great.
Think you can't become great as a teacher? Think again. The teaching profession is filled with so much inefficiencies that a man of the mind has tremendous opportunities to bring in significant changes. However, to start, you must delve into that profession with both feet so that you can grasp the full extent of the problems that exists and is in need of correction.