Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

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Isaac_Andersen
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Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Isaac_Andersen » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:18 am UTC

I'm 14 years old and about to enter a high-school I.B. program, I'm a few grade levels ahead in all of the school subjects, but am constantly finding myself bored at home. I've been programming for about a year now (C++, Python, Java), however I can't see myself sitting infront of a computer for more than an hour each day. I really want to find something that I will love doing, will help me stand out in college applications, and possibly become a career for me in the future.

I really love problem solving, taking this into consideration, do you have any ideas or suggestions that could point me in the right direction towards finding a lifelong passion?


Greatly Appreciated,
Isaac Andersen

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Vangor » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:51 am UTC

Not exactly the kind of thing you ask other people, to suggest lifelong passions. Will tell you, folks who pursue lifelong passions generally never set out to; you find something you want to do, and when you can receive more education on this, you do, and when you can make a career from this, you do.

As to actual suggestions, gather some paint and some clay, pick up a guitar and a camera and a video camera, start writing, volunteer a couple of places, and so forth. Find something you find yourself playing or enjoying, and try to evolve the concept. I have made a d20 system, redesigned board games, written game design docs, and a handful of other things. Nothing coming to fruition, but were all worthwhile attempts for myself. I continue on writing short stories. Fortunately my main passion is in education which has a clear education and career path, but this was not my plan three years ago, and I was long from high school and had traveled and tried a few things, including other majors, by the time I landed on education.

You fall into those things, and you have a ton of time to fall into things.

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby shalini23 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:23 am UTC

Sometimes high school seems like a necessary evil, that step between childhood and the structure of elementary school and adulthood and the freedom of college. I remember feeling like I was just ready to be done – and that was only the beginning of sophomore year. Now at the end of my college journey, I know that while I did well in high school, there are some things in particular that made high school and college easier for me. And there are still more things I could have done to make my high school experience more fun, more manageable, and more beneficial.

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Proginoskes » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:49 am UTC

Vangor wrote:Not exactly the kind of thing you ask other people, to suggest lifelong passions.


Yeah, it's kind of like: "You'll know it when you see it."

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby ahammel » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:05 pm UTC

You don't, at the age of 14, have to make a final decision as to how you will spend the next half-century. I went to college with the intention of becoming an English scholar and left with a degree in biology. I have a statistics professor whose undergrad degree is in German lit. If you don't know now what your passion is—or even if you still don't know in ten years—don't worry about it, there's still time.

You'll get some idea of where your interests lie in high school and you can write a college application around that. I don't know how it works in the states, but here in Canada it's relatively easy to switch programs once you're accepted to a university, so don't worry too much about getting right the first time. Nobody's going to catch up with you when you're 30 and ask you to explain why you're an engineer when it clearly says on your college application that you wanted to be a doctor.

Sorry if I'm rambling, but this is what I would tell myself at your age if I could. Good luck in your studies!
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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Tirian » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:22 pm UTC

Isaac_Andersen wrote:I've been programming for about a year now (C++, Python, Java), however I can't see myself sitting infront of a computer for more than an hour each day.


Is this an issue about your attention span, or that at the end of an hour you'd be desperate to do whatever it is that you like doing more than programming but you don't think a college admissions board would respect that?

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Meem1029 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:05 pm UTC

See what extracurriculars your school has to offer. I know for me I really enjoyed tech crew for the plays, mock trial, knowledge bowl, and math league and spent most of my time doing those things.

And don't be afraid to change what you're doing in life. My Greek TA last semester was back in school getting her PHD in Classics when she already had a PHD in Chemistry.
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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Isaac_Andersen » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:15 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:
Isaac_Andersen wrote:I've been programming for about a year now (C++, Python, Java), however I can't see myself sitting infront of a computer for more than an hour each day.


Is this an issue about your attention span, or that at the end of an hour you'd be desperate to do whatever it is that you like doing more than programming but you don't think a college admissions board would respect that?


No, programming is great, but I honestly don't think that it is the healthiest choice of a hobby; after sitting down for 3-4 hours at a time I feel worse than if I was outside playing sports for the same amount of time.

---------------


Thanks for all the advice everyone, I really appreciate it!

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Jahoclave » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:18 am UTC

Well I took up whittling. Knives aren't that expensive and you can go to any park and find a nice branch.

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Angua » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:48 pm UTC

Look up the adventures of the cutie mark crusaders to get some ideas.
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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:05 am UTC

Isaac_Andersen wrote:I've been programming for about a year now (C++, Python, Java), however I can't see myself sitting infront of a computer for more than an hour each day.
If you think programming is the only activity that may drive a person to sit in front of a computer for more than an hour each day, then your experience of the world is so gravely lacking (you're 14, there's nothing at all wrong with that) that you should not be at all concerned about not having found a passion at this point.

Do you like working outdoors? Perhaps there are some volunteer opportunities in your community you should investigate. (They're pretty big on that kind of thing in I.B., as I vaguely recall.) One key point of advice: don't tell people you have experience with computers, or they will sit you down in front of a computer and you will never get away from them, ever.

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby saus » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:36 am UTC

Isaac_Andersen wrote:No, programming is great, but I honestly don't think that it is the healthiest choice of a hobby; after sitting down for 3-4 hours at a time I feel worse than if I was outside playing sports for the same amount of time.

---------------


Thanks for all the advice everyone, I really appreciate it!



Yeah, but you don't spend every hour of your day outside playing sports. If you have an interest in programming don't talk yourself out of spending as much time as you want on it. You can spend 4-5 hours sitting at your computer if you're active otherwise.

I knew in high school, maybe even middle school, that I wanted to go to college for some hard science. Once I was in college and sampled some courses I decided on math. As I learned more I became more interested and by the time I was a junior I probably knew I wanted to get a Phd in math. So when I was 14 I didn't just say "Aha, I'll do my thesis on x!" I go with the flow with enough foresight to know things will work out (I can always change my mind and be able to make a living). On the other hand there's a home movie of 4 or 5 year old me teaching my little brother to count, so maybe I really knew I wanted this since I was tiny.


If your real problem is being bored, you can waste away playing video games, watching tv, or be a delinquent like most youths.

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby sdkelso » Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:54 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:Well I took up whittling. Knives aren't that expensive and you can go to any park and find a nice branch.


By far the best answer. Don't get ahead of yourself--just enjoy life.

As for college and your future: You say you like problem solving; have you thought about majoring in philosophy? Philosophy deals with the most fundamental problems of the world. In addition, you both encounter and are given the opportunity to create complex and fun problems known as paradoxes. At the very least, it's something for you to look into. If you're interested, get a copy of Bertrand Russell's Problems of Philosophy and give it a try. Good luck.

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby eSOANEM » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:55 pm UTC

sdkelso wrote: Philosophy deals with the most fundamental problems of the world. In addition, you both encounter and are given the opportunity to create complex and fun problems known as paradoxes. At the very least, it's something for you to look into. If you're interested, get a copy of Bertrand Russell's Problems of Philosophy and give it a try. Good luck.


Except it has no way of resolving them. Two people can have completely different interpretations of the problem and their is no way to determine which is right.

If you actually want to be able to truly solve a problem, physics or maths are about as fundamental as you can get seeing as, unlike philosophy which cannot determine truth (within itself i.e. it cannot determine whether nihilism is truer than stoicism), they both come with a means of determining truth inbuilt (empiricism (which is itself a product of philosophy) in physics and logic (likewise, a product of philosophy) in maths).

That said, having applied for theoretical physics courses at uni, I may be slightly biased. :D

Physics (primarily the theoretical aspect) is my passion and the main thing which really got me hooked was just playing around with things mathematically. Special relativity isn't too taxing algebraically and a lot can be solved diagrammatically, you can also teach yourself at least some notion of basic calculus with a good source and persistence.

If you feel like looking at physics or maths in more detail just as something to play with, drop me a PM or post in the science board and I'm sure someone will be glad to help you.
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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Coding » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:23 am UTC

As someone with a BA in philosophy, I personally suggest...looking into mathematics. :)

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby sdkelso » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:49 am UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Except it has no way of resolving them. Two people can have completely different interpretations of the problem and their is no way to determine which is right.


Sure it does--argument. I understand your objection in two ways: 1) literally and 2) one person tries to solve a problem one way and another a different way and they end up far away from each other. To #1 I'd say then what you really have are two different problems, and to #2 I'd say then you evaluate each argument--most often one or both won't hold up. Just because the problems are difficult doesn't make them any less fun than physics problems. I feel as if you might be evaluating philosophy the same way you'd evaluate a hard science, and you can't do that. The problems are much more fundamental; it's understandable that the methods of solving them and evaluating the solutions are different.

So no, don't go into philosophy if you necessarily want answers to problems. But if you like problems themselves, it's worth checking out.

Coding wrote:As someone with a BA in philosophy, I personally suggest...looking into mathematics. :)


:lol: Why is that? No jobs? OP said he was looking for a passion, not a salary. Straight to graduate school with him. Full professorship and all that.

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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby eSOANEM » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:06 am UTC

sdkelso wrote:So no, don't go into philosophy if you necessarily want answers to problems. But if you like problems themselves, it's worth checking out.


This was what I was trying to say (it was late, it didn't come out very well).

The fact that there are entire branches of philosophy devoted to discussing what it means for something to be knowledge, or for something to exist, mean it is difficult at best to ever get an absolute answer outside of some specific philosophical framework.
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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:11 am UTC

Be open to experiences and ideas... I really can't state that enough, hence the "MASSIVE BOLD TEXT!"

It took me a long time to realise that my one of my strongest passions was for making things; I've taught myself joinery, cabinetmaking, basic metalwork, seamstressing/tailoring skills, marquetry composite construction and basic toolmaking skills in my spare time at university...

Had I realised earlier I might have chosen a degree that was closer to that passion or *gasp* gone into an apprenticeship; As it is, I assumed that because I was bright, my passion must be some how academic; seen as I was good at and interested in chemistry figured that was it... I enjoy parts of it and am reasonably talented in the areas I'm interested in, but overall I've lost motivation over the course of my degree and am now at a loss as to how best to proceed.

The underlined bit was my biggest mistake and I'm sure it's been the downfall of many other people too. I'm not saying that it will be yours, but if it looks like it could be; Don't Make It - you'll save yourself much heartache and confusion down the line.

† - My other Passions are for various adventure sports and I have no desire to try to commercialise them as a career, having started down that road and found that it sucked the fun out of it.
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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:45 am UTC

Do ALL THE THINGS.

Seriously. Join clubs, find people and activities that are interesting or fun (preferably both). Make an effort to put yourself out there and create projects. Don't just look for other people's projects to join. If you want something to happen, make it happen. Don't know how to do something? Too bad! Screw it up until you find out how to do it right. Be the person who's making things happen.

That's one route to take, anyway.
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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Dream » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:00 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:Don't just look for other people's projects to join. If you want something to happen, make it happen.

This is the key. If your school doesn't offer something, do it yourself, outside school. Teach yourself, join a club, get lessons, whatever you need to do. Forget about impressing the College Admissions people right now. When you're in your last couple of years of school start the school club for whetever it is you're into. Then you get to say:

"Yeah, there wasn't a grain silo detonating club in my school, so I got lessons from my cousin Bert, until I joined the county Silo Destroyers chapter. I won Best Barley Conflagaration in my first year, by the way. Once I had the experience to do it, I started the Myville High Upright Bangers Society, and we had three State titles by the time I graduated!" Looks a lot better than "I joined the AV club because I loved classic sci-fi movies. I graduated as President. We put on a lot of movies in my time." You look like a self starter, with a lot of ambition, and someone who doesn't let adversity get in their way.

But hte MOST IMPORTANT THING is this: Find out what you love doing by doing things. When you do find it, do it regardless of what Admissions people might think. Then when the Admission people become relevant, set yourself goals of applying your experience to things that will impress them.
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Re: Going to High School, need help finding a passion....

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:33 pm UTC

One more thing to add is that for most people, this sort of thing is really hard to do. It takes effort and it takes some amount of forcing yourself to get out there and do stuff that feel uncomfortable at first. If it's stuff that you end up liking, it will get more comfortable, and if it never gets more comfortable (be generous, give it time!) then eventually you have to decide whether to stop doing it or how you might alter your role, the amount of time you spend, the people you work with, etc., so that it's more comfortable.

I don't want to give the impression that just getting out there and doing stuff is easy or that there's anything wrong with you if it doesn't come naturally. Because when I was in your situation I kind of thought if it didn't come naturally, either A) I wasn't good at it to begin with, or B) there was no point doing it instead of doing something easier. It took me years and years to grow out of that mode of thinking (or partially, anyway—plenty of growing left to do) and the result is that I spend more time doing things that ultimately turn out to contribute positively to my quality of life, my CV/resume, my self esteem, and my social circle.
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