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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:04 pm 
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This being an adult this is very tough. I feel like everyone else here that I'd love to explore the world and seek some ideal job, but I've come to the realization that I don't have the money to travel and I don't really get to pick my job. Since it often takes months or years and a hundred applications to find a decent job it doesn't usually end up being about me finding the job I want as much as me finding something to pay bills.

Also, I find the my enjoyment of my job is a lot more about who my coworkers and boss are than what I do. And it's tough to be patient. As a kid things changed so fast. In school you get whole new classes each semester and often meet new people, etc. Now I decide I want a vacation and have to spend 12 month saving up money to do that.

For the most part I think I'll feel unsatisfied and lost until I realize I've done that for a few decades and it's time to retire. I feel my big escape from these feelings, or at least something I can do to give life more flavor, will be children. Well, I'm probably too old to have more than one, but maybe I can have a kid soon and start to appreciate time and change more.


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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:27 pm 
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literally every day at least once I consider giving up academia and going after a lucrative career in maple syrup farming or whatever.

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:18 pm 
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My existential crisis have not been too bad for the past week, after being introduced to the completely badass new undergrad/BA programs that are beginning next semester. The one I'm going for is "the art of building and culture" and it sounds absolutely awesome: we have workshop courses, cultural salons, theory and lectures in the morning and then after lunch we have studio time. And we are going to have a lot of reading + writing assignments! It sounds absolutely wonderful. Also, there is a graduate program/MA called "political architecture - critical sustainability" which sounds awesome and is in english! I can totally do that! And we're traveling to England in April, which I am a little too broke to do, but my mom helped out with the cost which is SO nice of her and makes me feel really privileged.

I think that one of the reasons I always feel doubtful about what I want to do with my life is because there are SO many things you can do. In Denmark, education is free, which means that it's all about getting high enough grades to get into the program you want. I have the second highest grade you can get, so I can literally choose freely, but that also means that if I am not happy with what I've chosen, it's my own fault. But it's not like you just know what's right, you know? And no matter what you choose, it's going to be though and feel wrong sometimes.
Another big point is that super high grades are generally pretty attainable within academic fields for me, because I'm a very analyzing person and I'm good at remembering and love learning stuff, but at the academy, reading is not really what we do. It's all about being able to begin a creative process and following through and getting to where you want to be, but not controlling it too much.. And I suck at building models and at hand drawing and at the adobe stuff because I've never done all of that before I started. And that just means that there are so many new things to learn and they are all so very different and it's been pretty hard getting a C when I've never gotten anything but A's before. Which is of course also super privileged and not very important, but it is still hard having to face that maybe I will never be really amazing at this stuff. Obviously I will get better, but my self identity has always been very reliant on me being "the smart one" and "the hard working one", and somehow in my head, that's made me unconsciously relate those two things, but that also means that there is a whole lot of frustration when suddenly working hard is not enough.

Another thing is that it's completely different being at the academy, time wise. I've been used to having quite a lot of free time, but now it's a very short day if it's 8 hours. Most days are 10, 12, sometimes 15 hours and a lot of the weekends I've had to go to the studio and work all day and night. Which is hard but okay. What's not been okay is, that my teachers who are there maybe 1x weekly basically told me that I got the C because I didn't spend enough time at the school, which made me really angry. I've been there SO much, how can they expect more? But then I realized that for them to know I'm there, I need to make myself visible when they're actually there. So I've been working hard at making them see how hard I'm working and that I really want to be good at this, I just need the right kind of guidance and time to practice.

All in all, the past 6-7 months have been pretty hard, because it's all a new world, and it doesn't come easy to me. I'm used to learning the method, then applying it to whatever I'm working on, but with architecture it's basically like creating art (my program is the most art-related one) and that can be such a frustrating and hard process. Especially because there are such strict expectations of what we should be able to do. And it's so expensive having to buy materials all of the time, and traveling with the school. But on the other hand, when I've been working hard on something and it suddenly works, that's the best feeling ever. And I guess it's also about me not having anything to compare it to, so it's all just new and sort of terrifying and most important of all, I'm so scared that I will end up not being happy. But I think that would be true no matter what I did.

But for now, I'm pretty sure that I will stick with it and become an architect. Sure, it's frustrating as hell, but everyone I've talked to agrees and that makes it a little easier. I guess it's just the kind of school that kind of eats up all of your time and money and resources, and where you have to fight through some seriously rough patches. But it's also rated as the #4 in the top ten architecture schools in the world, so I guess that does have to come at a great price, right? And I am not the first student to feel completely lost and needing some time to adjust.


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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:51 pm 
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Ok, so, I have a query that I really need help with.

I'm going to be in a unique position, shortly, that I never anticipated. When the life insurance for my dad comes in, I will be able to goon vacation and then, hopefully, back to school, debt free. Which is exciting.

Unfortunately I'm really torn about what to study. My biggest passion is animals but have worked in the field in a couple different aspects (owned a dog daycare and then worked reception at a vet clinic) and I know it is something that I'm so passionate about that working in the field would have to be a very special position.

Things I'm interested in, but not necessarily super passionate about would be pursuing my sommelier or a distance program in library sciences.

Field I think I would be super good at and very interested in but wouldn't know where to start or how to do it without spending 8 years in school would be therapy/counselling. Thing I think I would be good at, training would be easy to find and would be fairly easy to find a job in would be pharmacy tech, but don't know how much I would actually care about it.

So now I don't know what to do. Follow passions with less work possibilities? Do I find a career counsellor ( and if that's a good idea, where to one? How to find one?). How did you decide what you want to do? Are you doing it?

So many questions, so little space. I'm just super torn and don't know what to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:15 pm 
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Moon, don't do library school, particularly if you aren't really passionate about public libraries (where most of the few jobs are). It's a bad job market, librarians aren't particularly well paid, and we're increasingly overworked as institutions downsize staff without decreasing responsibilities.

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:24 pm 
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My general advice is if you have a good idea what you'd want to do then there is no time to start like the present, meaning you can start on the path.

For animals, would you want to be a vet? I love animals but I think being a vet would be very hard. You see a lot of sick animals, and then you get people who may want to put their pets to sleep for what you may not view as good reasons.

For pharmacy tech, I've heard a lot of people say they feel like glorified cashiers. I don't know about Canada but a lot of pharmacies in the US are inside drug or grocery stores. If you don't like being in customer service or being a cashier then it wouldn't be a good fit.

For counseling/therapy, I'd recommend actually trying to talk to a therapist on their career. If part of the 8 years of training is getting an undergrad degree, and you think you would like it, I'd say go for it. An undergrad degree doesn't necessarily tie you to one career.

And I wish I knew what I wanted to do with my life and I'm nearly 40 :)

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:13 am 
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Dr. Apricot wrote:
Moon, don't do library school, particularly if you aren't really passionate about public libraries (where most of the few jobs are). It's a bad job market, librarians aren't particularly well paid, and we're increasingly overworked as institutions downsize staff without decreasing responsibilities.

It seems like a tough field. My friend got her masters in library science about 5 years ago and has had a hell of a time finding an academic position at a university. She worked part time for a lot of years before finally finding a non-tenured position in North Dakota. Last year she finally got a tenured position in Texas. She works a lot of hours, too.

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:32 am 
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I recently took some random Internet depression quiz and scored something like "94% Existential Despair."

Seems a little low to me. How'd I miss that last 6%?


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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:18 am 
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Moon - I'm not sure if you have a BA or not, but if you do, you might take a look at MSW (social work) programs. You can choose a track that will prepare you for counseling, but you'll also take some policy and other courses that would allow you to get an advocacy, case management, or pretty much any other not super specialized non-profit job (perhaps an animal/conservation focused one) if you ultimately decide that counseling's not for you. I don't particularly recommend a social work undergrad degree (my personal take is that it's more useful to study something with "harder" skills that's more general in undergrad rather than doing a junior career program unless you know for sure that you want to be an accountant or engineer or whatever). Social work school also has a huge, built-in internship component, so you'll really get a sense of whether or not you'll enjoy a counseling career and will start to build a network.

I'm in the same boat as most people here. I'm dying to move but don't have enough info or have my life organized enough to go yet, and I'm certainly stuck for at least another year. I'm also in the weird, have my life together career and partner-wise space, but feel like something's missing. I'm 99% sure this is the feeling that makes people want to have kids, but I really don't, so I'm not sure what the answer or next step is. It's pretty frustrating!


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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:37 am 
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As I get older I get more practical about work. I recommend whatever is lowest risk (less money/time for school) and has the best job opportunities. That said I'd take into account what field you might like better, but my experience has been that jobs are boring places where you do repetitive things. Finding good coworkers and being in a field that lets me live comfortably is more important to me than liking what I do. Then again being a therapist (which is too risky for my taste) or a vet are pretty different jobs. If you have a passion for those fields it won't be the mundane activities of a librarian, teacher, pharmacist, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:15 am 
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The more I look into the process of becoming a therapist the less appealing it is. To be a certified CBT you need a Ph.D plus 10 years experience working in the field. That's a long time. Right now my kids are still really young and I'm very tied up with them and other obligations, so I dunno. I'm back to square one.

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:14 pm 
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Guys, I need to give a $200 non refundable (but does indeed count toward credits) payment to that university I applied to. Before April. I also have to pay $400 in taxes, and $900 in medical bills. How in the fork am I going to be able to afford school, guys?! I mean, will student loans really give me enough that I will be able to not work (or at least, mostly not work). I'm having serious backing out thoughts. Wuttttttt to dooooooooo

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:20 pm 
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Did you apply to school in the US or Canada?

I have no idea how Canadian things work, but I had no problem taking out enough loans here to live on comfortably. If I did it again I would take out less and live less comfortably, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:20 pm 
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Mars wrote:
Guys, I need to give a $200 non refundable (but does indeed count toward credits) payment to that university I applied to. Before April. I also have to pay $400 in taxes, and $900 in medical bills. How in the fork am I going to be able to afford school, guys?! I mean, will student loans really give me enough that I will be able to not work (or at least, mostly not work). I'm having serious backing out thoughts. Wuttttttt to dooooooooo


ho ho ho. I'm not trying to be flippant, but...welcome to education in the US! I am currently working 28 hours a week (after working 45 each week for the first half of the quarter) and don't receive loans, so right now my education is totally out of pocket which, as you can imagine, is incredibly stressful on top of rent, bills, and groceries.
When they do kick back in, I'm fortunate enough to receive the Pell Grant, in addition to a federal loan, but they'll barely cover my tuition and supplies, let alone help me in paying bills. And it's an unsubsidized loan, so the interest accumulates even while I'm in school, even though I don't have to pay anything until I'm out. I currently owe $4700 in loans and I won't finish my undergrad work for another year.
Apply for as many scholarships as you can possibly find and accept that you will be in debt when you finish...if it's something you truly want, remember that it's worth it. That's what I keep telling myself.

And, if you ever want to have a freak out, let me know. I am no stranger to the crisis of education and money...I have a crisis over it every three months now.

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:51 pm 
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We just got a renewal notice, but I'm graduating this Fall (or maybe summer) and am planning to move back home to save money for a bit. My roommate wants to renew, so she's trying to find a new roommate. And now I don't know if I actually want to move out. And we need to decide by Friday. And all I want to do is watch Community and eat popcorn.

Can I be five again? I want to be five again. Except not really, cause five was when our house we had just moved in to had a bug infestation (like carpenter ants, millipedes, all the spiders everywhere.... it was horrifying) and I still have nightmares about it sometimes. Maybe 6. I think 6 was a good year.


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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:41 am 
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Simply_Love wrote:
We just got a renewal notice, but I'm graduating this Fall (or maybe summer) and am planning to move back home to save money for a bit. My roommate wants to renew, so she's trying to find a new roommate. And now I don't know if I actually want to move out. And we need to decide by Friday. And all I want to do is watch Community and eat popcorn.

Can I be five again? I want to be five again. Except not really, cause five was when our house we had just moved in to had a bug infestation (like carpenter ants, millipedes, all the spiders everywhere.... it was horrifying) and I still have nightmares about it sometimes. Maybe 6. I think 6 was a good year.


I have decided I want to move out, cause cats. Crisis averted.


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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:10 am 
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Oh yeah, the loans! I'll most likely end up with a loan around $45000 when I'm done. And I live in a country where education is free (well, we pay for books, and for printing, and for materials and school trips etc., so it's not actually free - some educations use no materials and don't travel, architecture requires around $1000 in materials a year + $2-3000 for traveling, I have no idea how I will be able to afford that!) and we even get around $1000 a month in school support from the state (we have pretty high taxes, but a pretty awesome welfare system here).
I have a babysitting gig once a week that pays around $170 a month which is awesome, but I can't even imagine how I could have a real part time job while studying. Most days are 10-12 hours of classes and studio work, and the studio work often takes up a good chunk of my weekends too.
I also have a boyfriend and a bunch of friends and a life I really like, so it seems unlikely that I could work while studying right now. I know that several people from my class work after school and on weekends and often have to leave in the middle of the school day - but it seems so unhealthy to be in school from 9am-6pm and then working from 6pm-1am.. I think I'd probably get stressed and my mental health would go to hell.


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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:06 am 
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Well, it is unhealthy and my mental health does go to hell.

I'm at work right now and just back from the eye specialist, it's getting worse again because of stress. 30 hours of uni + hours writing essays/homework for uni, 40 work & 8-10 hours in the bookshop.

I just think if I lived on loans it'd be even worse for my mental health. I'm really paranoid about owing money. But I do think I'm at a point where I have to revaluate a bit. I'm too stressed and it's not good for my health and I worry about relapsing into my eating disorder.

I'll probably come back to this thread for more crisis-ing..

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:57 pm 
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Dr. Apricot wrote:
Moon, don't do library school, particularly if you aren't really passionate about public libraries (where most of the few jobs are). It's a bad job market, librarians aren't particularly well paid, and we're increasingly overworked as institutions downsize staff without decreasing responsibilities.



Gotta agree with this one. I did library school, and the classes were SO DREADFULLY BORING. I work in an academic library, and most people here are very overqualified for what is becoming more and more like any other office job. The nature of academic libraries is changing fast and not for the better as more people are using Google for research. It seems that most people I work with dislike their jobs, and just fell into library work because they didn't know what else to do. The lack of passion and enthusiasm I am surrounded by every day is really draining.
And it seems like the public library budget is always the first thing to be cut when governments are looking to tighten their belts.
I feel a bit like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, delivering a warning here- but seriously, steer far, far away from library school.


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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:07 pm 
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BhelOfTheBall wrote:
Dr. Apricot wrote:
Moon, don't do library school, particularly if you aren't really passionate about public libraries (where most of the few jobs are). It's a bad job market, librarians aren't particularly well paid, and we're increasingly overworked as institutions downsize staff without decreasing responsibilities.



Gotta agree with this one. I did library school, and the classes were SO DREADFULLY BORING. I work in an academic library, and most people here are very overqualified for what is becoming more and more like any other office job. The nature of academic libraries is changing fast and not for the better as more people are using Google for research. It seems that most people I work with dislike their jobs, and just fell into library work because they didn't know what else to do. The lack of passion and enthusiasm I am surrounded by every day is really draining.
And it seems like the public library budget is always the first thing to be cut when governments are looking to tighten their belts.
I feel a bit like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, delivering a warning here- but seriously, steer far, far away from library school.


I went to library school as well but I work as a senior librarian in a public library so my days are never, ever boring. I do collection development for adult fiction (I spend money picking out adult fiction every month), community oriented programming (I am bringing a fire truck and firefighters to talk to kids about fire safety), am planning a Doctor Who book bash for teens, and am working on a summer zine fest. If you don't like customer service, you should not get a job in a public library.

That is balanced out by having bougie types explain that they should not be charged overdue fees and having mentally ill homeless men fingerpaint with poo in the bathroom.

I thought about academic library work but it seems that tenured jobs are becoming hard to get so...

BUT unless you are open to moving just about anywhere, you will likely have a hard time finding a job. Any where near a library school will be drowning in librarians.

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:00 pm 
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Well, I have thought through my scares a bit more since this post. I'm not that worried about being in debt with student loans, really. I mean, it's sort of the status quo for most people, if they can do it, I don't see why I can't. I could either keep working jobs that pay me jussssst enough to remain debt-free, but get me no where in life and have no savings... OR I could go to school an enrich my mind, opening me up to new ideas and possibilities to other careers.

My main fear right now though is my habitual pattern of dropping out of school. I've done it... literally four times now. But I'm trying to go about the school thing differently this time. Balls deep. All in. Twice of those four times I tried to keep working full time while doing part time school. So that just ended up getting complicated and I dropped out.

My other fear is, I've also never actually taken any intellectual classes, ever. Only ever visual art classes. I'm pretty terrified I'll learn that I'm not smart enough. Also scared that they will expect me to know how to do things like write an essay. I will not know these kinds of things! Can I just do a pencil-crayon-drawing cover page, a double spaced two page essay, hole punched and put into those folders with the little metal press-down tabs instead of binder rings? I can do that.

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:26 pm 
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Mars, you will be fine. You are more intelligent than you give yourself credit.

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:27 pm 
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Mars wrote:
My other fear is, I've also never actually taken any intellectual classes, ever. Only ever visual art classes. I'm pretty terrified I'll learn that I'm not smart enough. Also scared that they will expect me to know how to do things like write an essay. I will not know these kinds of things! Can I just do a pencil-crayon-drawing cover page, a double spaced two page essay, hole punched and put into those folders with the little metal press-down tabs instead of binder rings? I can do that.


My suggestions for dealing with worries about writing essays are, if you wanna hear them:

- See if there's a learning centre on campus. All the unis I've heard of here have them, and they run things like essay-writing workshops, and also have times/days when you can drop in and get pointers on your essay (obviously they're not gonna write it for you, but will help with structure and stuff like that). They're mostly targeted towards first-year university students, but I think most people can access them. I'd assume that lots of universities around the world would have programs like that, but I could be wrong.
- One thing that really really helped me with learning to write better essays/write any kind of essay was to read a lot. Multiple-author volumes are great, because each chapter is essentially a long essay (or sometimes short). You can look at those and try to break down the structure - identify the introduction, the conclusion, the main points. (I think a lot of first-year classes will actually cover these sorts of writing skills, but you can do it on your own as well). The more you read, with a critical eye (which you can develop over time), the more examples of what works and what doesn't you'll have to draw upon when writing your own essays.

Anyway, I reckon you'll be fine! Getting into academia is hard and intimidating for sure, and I think that a lot of the time people don't make it easy, but it sounds like you're pretty determined, so I'm sure you can do it! Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:08 pm 
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Gunk has great tips.

Mars, you can write so you can write essays. I guarantee it. If you really get stuck I will help you. (It's what I do.)

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 Post subject: Re: Existential crisis thread
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:44 pm 
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Addicted to B12 Enemas
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Sometimes it takes a while to find your passion in life, it was for me as well. If you don't know what to do it's good to do something creative, that could be absolutely anything, important is that you enjoy what you're doing. You connect with yourself more. The key is having fun.

If you want to do anything, despite moving around or planning a move in the future somewhere, just start. I've moved around loads, changed countries a few times. You can wait and get nowhere and put your life on hold or you live your life and start from there, it's all good experience and some things are still good for when you've moved.

And never think you're not intelligent enough! A lot of our time is wasted on thinking about things way too much and fear holding us back. Fear is just an illusion, it's something that keeps us from taking a step forward, living with regret is much worse.

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