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The School Survival Forums are permanently retired. If you need help with quitting school, unsupportive parents or anything else, there is a list of resources on the Help Page.

If you want to write about your experiences in school, you can write on our blog.

To everyone who joined these forums at some point, and got discouraged by the negativity and left after a while (or even got literally scared off): I'm sorry.

I wasn't good enough at encouraging people to be kinder, and removing people who refuse to be kind. Encouraging people is hard, and removing people creates conflict, and I hate conflict... so that's why I wasn't better at it.

I was a very, very sensitive teen. The atmosphere of this forum as it is now, if it had existed in 1996, would probably have upset me far more than it would have helped.

I can handle quite a lot of negativity and even abuse now, but that isn't the point. I want to help people. I want to help the people who need it the most, and I want to help people like the 1996 version of me.

I'm still figuring out the best way to do that, but as it is now, these forums are doing more harm than good, and I can't keep running them.

Thank you to the few people who have tried to understand my point of view so far. I really, really appreciate you guys. You are beautiful people.

Everyone else: If after everything I've said so far, you still don't understand my motivations, I think it's unlikely that you will. We're just too different. Maybe someday in the future it might make sense, but until then, there's no point in arguing about it. I don't have the time or the energy for arguing anymore. I will focus my time and energy on people who support me, and those who need help.

-SoulRiser

The forums are mostly read-only and are in a maintenance/testing phase, before being permanently archived. Please use this time to get the contact details of people you'd like to keep in touch with. My contact details are here.

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My relation to people at school and life
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James Comey Away
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Post: #1
My relation to people at school and life

This is going to be a personal post.

Over the past few months (really since August since I first came here), I've been intentionally isolating myself from most peers at my school. It may not be healthy, but I just find myself saying in my mind, "I absolutely cannot stand 90% of the people here". A lot of students follow stereotypes and have such rigid thinking I never noticed fully that I just wish I didn't have to go to school anymore. I can't stand people at my school. Why must I be forced somewhere where I don't even like the people?

I'm not necessarily depressed, but I've felt this feeling of something missing from my life. I mean, I'm not thinking suicide or even anything vaguely like that. Actually, my emotional state has actually never been better (it was far worse in middle school). The thing is though, every day I keep feeling this feeling of something missing in my life, something that hasn't been fulfilled, and it bothers me. I understand that I'm only 16 years old and I understand I don't have a true grasp of the world, but it does bother me.

Over these past few weeks in particular I have this wanting of being free, living by myself and no one else. No authority figure but myself (and my boss, obviously). I'm tired of having to go to school every day. I'm tired of having to do homework, do this, do that. It's frustrating. I can't stand my older brother either. I understand that every morning 5-6 days a week he works, but half of what he seemingly does at home is bitch and moan about even the littlest of problems. If you bother him even slightly, he'll go off on you. I want to be free of ever having to hear about his problems, ever having to put up with his consistent bitching.

I really want to one day just wake up in the morning, all by myself in my bed, turn on the TV, make myself some breakfast, and just say to myself, "this is what it's like to be free". I understand that with freedom comes a lot of repercussions, and that adult life will have a lot of stress, but I just absolutely cannot stand school. I feel school (and other things) are restraining me from being free, from having true happiness.

Sometimes I'm mad at reality, sometimes I wish I lived in my own fantasy world. I understand that this sounds a lot like a maturity issue, but I like thinking about living in my little fantasy world. I like dreaming about it, I like escaping to it, it really actually helps me cope with the tedium of everyday life.

Over these past few months, I've actually learned a lot about myself. I've learned about where I wish to be, etc. I don't feel any social norms or stereotypes enforced upon me, I feel free from that. Stuff that my teachers would hate me doing on school nights instead of doing my homework, like playing mindless hours of playing GTA V to writing my own poems, essays, and stories, I've learned a lot. This sounds similar to braniac's own post about GenEd classes. Things that are seemingly useless and don't pertain to my life in school are quite mind-stimulating, and actually a source of inspiration. The only thing that I feel at this point, restraining me, is institution. I can feel the chain of school on my foot, I wish to unlock it, but it's difficult. My family wouldn't dare let me drop out, and I know that I'm not ready for the real world just yet.

RIP GWEDIN
RIP URITIYOGI
RIP NIGHT
RIP VONUNOV
RIP WES/THEWAKE
RIP USERNAME

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Stop jerking off to porn and whining and do something about it

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10-21-2013 03:22 PM
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Christian Hellhound Offline
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Post: #2
RE: My relation to people at school and life

Holy Christ, are you the twin I never met or something?! Because I can perfectly relate to almost everything you've written because I've been feeling the exact same way lately at times. I'm a generally solitary person who avoids associating with anybody at my school, because I just cannot stand most of them.

I am very cerebral and constantly thinking and daydreaming, and I too dream about being in my own fantasy world because it let's me escape from everything. I just want privacy. I just want to be alone. But school exists.

*deep breath* I hope that all made sense.

Tl;dr - I totally understand you.

"No matter what I do, it'll probably forever remain a pipe dream that will never come true,
but the fire burning in my heart cannot be doused by anyone.
Even if the black rain falling from the sky drenches me completely and doesn't stop,
I will never allow the fire in my heart to be extinguished. That, is my 'pride'."
- Core Pride
(This post was last modified: 10-21-2013 10:11 PM by Christian Hellhound.)
10-21-2013 10:09 PM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #3
RE: My relation to people at school and life

I can relate on a lot of levels. I started writing an extended reply, but it's turning into a whole writing project in itself. I'm trying to figure out how to reply in a concise way, when there are so many connections and ways of thinking about this in my mind.

I'm going to skip trying to write about my backstory for now, but I keep thinking about these contrasting narratives that could be used to interpret what you describe.

One is the idea that what you're feeling is normal for teens. You're trying to figure out who you are. The classical story format of this is the Coming of Age Story.
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(Although, as TV Tropes notes, "An increasingly popular comedy subversion is the Delayed Coming of Age Story, in which the person has remained mentally a child his entire life and only finally experiences these things sometime between his late 20s and mid-40s.")

But, what you describe reminds me of what people often experience later in life. In past generations, at least during the 20th century, similar experiences came to be known with the term "mid-life crisis."
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You can see one dramatization of this in the show In Treatment, where the protagonist, a therapist, talks to another therapist about his own mid-life crisis.



Watch on YouTube

However, over the past decade or more, a new pattern has become common, which some people call "quarterlife crisis." For example, a book called Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties came out in 2001. Google the term, and you'll find a bunch of articles, often geared toward people who are coming out of college, or who have spent a few years in a career, and find themselves feeling that desire for fulfillment that they aren't finding in life.

Here's a video that dramatizes this in terms of a "20-something crisis."
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(I felt something a lot like that when I was 21, after I already went through 3 separate forays into college (after dropping out of high school), and after I worked at a well-paying job for several years. But, I did have a good sense of what I wanted to do, address this factory-model education problem and the question of how people can do more with their life earlier on than "wait until you retire.")

Now, particularly over the past few years, I think many people are experiencing this conflict, and desire for something more, not just in their 20s, but even earlier... especially as they question, in advance, those years of college and career that many people just dive into because, "that's what you're supposed to do."

This blog post examines this transformation, where many people are now seeking what Carl Jung called "individuation" earlier in life than used to be the case:

The Quarterlife crisis and Individuation

I think that describes a very real pattern. My parents weren't very far on the path to individuation when I was growing up, even though I was asking how to get on that path starting when I was 13 and 14. I knew there must be more to life than what I saw people around me doing, but I had no idea how to get there.

(I linked to that Individuation post in one of my comments on Desu's 2011 thread, book for teens by former teens, at at time when I was, once again, feeling that feeling of there being more to life than the situation I was in.)

So, how much is it just cyclical? In any given point in life, what do you do?

One step is certainly making it out of, or through, school. Freedom is a great thing. But then comes the question of how to earn a living and navigate freedom. Where to live, or at least where to stay at any given time. Who to interact with. What to commit to. What to seek out. All those questions... which can be stressful or tedious, but which can also be a fulfilling adventure.

I guess the question is, what can one do to make the difference, at any given juncture in life?

There's so much more to say, ask, and explore about all of this. But I'll wrap that there.

Does any of that click?

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10-22-2013 03:17 AM
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James Comey Away
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Post: #4
RE: My relation to people at school and life

Thank you very much for your reply xcriteria. I'll be honest, part of the reason I created this thread was for your advice. Over the last few months, I've felt very lost and confused about my place in life and what I identify as. Perhaps a bigger problem is that I'm more "unique" than other people in my school. I've really felt that school is not for me at all. I've been wanting to drop out, get a GED, and go to college from there, but I know that literally no one in my family will support that decision.

I know I am definitely in the "coming of the age" era of life. I'm 16, and I know that it'll be sooner than later that I'll have to get a job, make my own income, live on my own, and decide what to do. It's exciting yet very scary at the same time, because as humans, we really can't tell where we're going to be.

As for the "quarter life crisis", this is very true for me. I've felt many symptoms of what a quarter life crisis might be. For example, I just want to go into my little fantasy world and never return. I've increasingly felt very nostalgic for my early childhood days, specifically the early 2000s. I've feel trapped (by school, specifically) and I don't feel I can maneuver my way out of it. There's that feeling of something not fulfilled. Yes, I can say I'm suffering from a quarter life crisis.

I definitely have realized that there is definitely more to life than what I'm doing. I keep feeling a really tedious cycle. Wake up, go to school, come home, sleep, repeat. Generally, after school, I just stay in my home, either using my computer, playing games, or writing. I just feel so mind-numb after school, I don't want to do anything else. Freedom is limited when we're teens. You can't drive until your 16, you must live with your parents/guardians until you're 18 (though not sure if there are special cases). Opportunity to me feels very limited, at least now.

You definitely cheer me up somewhat with your last paragraph of navigating out of school and afterwards. Indeed, I know that after school will be stressful, but it will also be exciting. I don't ever have to follow rigid structures like school, I don't have to obey anyone (except my boss at work, but at least I get paid), I can find what I really like, I can meet the people I really want to meet, I can experience life for what it really is, I have no one stopping me. The path to freedom is a difficult one, but I think we must all remember that school doesn't last forever, and that we shouldn't make assumptions about our later life.

RIP GWEDIN
RIP URITIYOGI
RIP NIGHT
RIP VONUNOV
RIP WES/THEWAKE
RIP USERNAME

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Stop jerking off to porn and whining and do something about it

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10-22-2013 01:09 PM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: My relation to people at school and life

(10-22-2013 01:09 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  Thank you very much for your reply xcriteria. I'll be honest, part of the reason I created this thread was for your advice.

Don't we all have that very reason.

Read if you want. Not exactly on-topic so it's hidden.
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At least you aren't as stuck in a shitty position as I am for a bit. I've got a loving mother who is prone to emotional outbursts, not fond of logic, only believes in what she believes and everything else to be a lie, and an annoying habit of attributing negative meanings to ideas due to her dislike of a person who might believe in it(If a person she doesn't like says something factual, she won't believe the fact simply because she doesn't like the person).

To make matters worse, I'm stuck a bunch of crap that she doesn't bother learning to do(with her moderate-ish English). That basically means everything from insurance, to bills, to handling any thing more complicated that a routine action.

I can change her mind and persuade her, but it takes quite a long time. It's literally a battle of attrition to get things done(I'm sure my will-power is pretty infinite since I'm stubborn as hell against a task. I spent 8 hours trying to snowboard, falling down so many times I lost count, but I never stopped and kept trying. I can't say I'm good at snowboarding, but with a lesson or two, I think I could polish up amateur skills). And the problem is I have my own things to deal with, many of which I do secretively because I know she won't approve or create a problem out of it forever(always probing for more information just so we can fight about it).

And she's been annoying as hell about finding a job. I don't have many options, and even less without the ability to drive to a job. She wants to find me a job, which is to the bakery I worked at. I have no issue with the bakery, but I just refuse to work as a cashier. I can't do it. It's mindless, it's boring and it's tiring as hell. How am I supposed to efficiently handle the house-work, my work-work and my school-work without ending up half-dead and brainless. From early in the morning to late at night, I'd literally be tasked with 4-people's worth of work.

All which my mother conveniently dismisses by using other people as examples. The most annoying of her habit. I spent years arguing this point and I still can't get her to understand the massive number of factors that differentiate between the people she cites as examples and me.

"5 year olds in this country work to provide for their family"-I don't give a shit. They'll either get up stuck on earning money and enter the criminal world for cash and end up criminals, or never get a proper education and lead to the next generation and the next and the next.

"X kid does w,y,z,q,r and m and doesn't complain"-Oh, but X kid does have a car, financial contributions from both parents AND parents who handle their own business themselves. Oh and did I mention their parents not continually interfering with them?
TL;DR:Living in my own home is like fighting trench warfare EVERY SINGLE PASSING HOUR.

Must be why my stress threshold is so damn high. I've grown resistant to it.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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10-22-2013 01:48 PM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #6
My relation to people at school and life

So remember. If you overcome your obstacles with pure power of will, you'll probably improve yourself greatly in many areas.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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10-22-2013 01:50 PM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #7
RE: My relation to people at school and life

(10-22-2013 01:09 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  Thank you very much for your reply xcriteria. I'll be honest, part of the reason I created this thread was for your advice.

Posts like this provide so much better writing prompts than I ever got in school, with rare exceptions. And they're so much more fulfilling to work on, especially as I get better at seeing how the pieces fit together.

So, I wrote up a 3000-word response to this... that contains six mentions of "this leads to a whole other discussion."

And that includes editing and really trying to be concise.

But it's all basically a bunch of information, stories, and links. I think it's all relevant, but it probably deserves to be broken into a series of posts.

Thinking about how to do that, my mind is coming back to the concept of advice.

Advice is a complex thing. Sometimes it takes the form of specific suggestions, as in, "here's what I would do." But, in a "everybody has to figure out their own path" kind of world, getting advice isn't as simple as just doing what someone says, or following a pre-defined script.

It's complex, because there's the question of how to go about living your life in the short term, where you have limited freedom, and limited knowledge of the future, but what you choose to do now *could* impact your future.

And of course, the status quo advice, "go to school," doesn't tend to provide the answers, or not for that long.

(10-22-2013 01:09 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  I've been wanting to drop out, get a GED, and go to college from there, but I know that literally no one in my family will support that decision.

One side of this is figuring out what path to take, and another is to deal with your family. Ideally, you'll be able to manage a life path strategy that doesn't leave you back living with your parents in your early 20's.

On the what path side of things:

What are your thoughts about college? Where would you go, what would you study, and what ideas do you have about what you might do for work later on?

Have you sifted through college web sites, academic programs, various alternatives, all that?

On the family side of things:

What are their thoughts about school? Why wouldn't they support (early) college?

What are their ideas about your future... hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties?
10-23-2013 03:04 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: My relation to people at school and life

(10-22-2013 01:48 PM)brainiac3397 Wrote:  TL;DR:Living in my own home is like fighting trench warfare EVERY SINGLE PASSING HOUR.

That line is a keeper.

(10-22-2013 01:48 PM)brainiac3397 Wrote:  All which my mother conveniently dismisses by using other people as examples. The most annoying of her habit. I spent years arguing this point and I still can't get her to understand the massive number of factors that differentiate between the people she cites as examples and me.

Yeah, I've encountered these kinds of arguments from people before. Meanwhile, typically, if you use examples of other people, that gets written of as an excuse or deflection. Ever get that?

(10-22-2013 01:48 PM)brainiac3397 Wrote:  And she's been annoying as hell about finding a job. I don't have many options, and even less without the ability to drive to a job. She wants to find me a job, which is to the bakery I worked at. I have no issue with the bakery, but I just refuse to work as a cashier. I can't do it. It's mindless, it's boring and it's tiring as hell. How am I supposed to efficiently handle the house-work, my work-work and my school-work without ending up half-dead and brainless. From early in the morning to late at night, I'd literally be tasked with 4-people's worth of work.

Good question. Did your mom go to college? What's her backstory?

Anyway, if you work, do you get to keep the money, at least?

Do you have a plan for one day moving out?
10-23-2013 04:14 AM
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Post: #9
RE: My relation to people at school and life

@xcriteria
My family is actually quite supportive of me when it comes to college. My sister goes to college, and I can turn to her whenever I need advice on college and what it's like. As for where I want to go, I don't want to get into specifics, but I'll probably stay within the state of California (maybe Southern California, LA or San Diego), or a local college in the SF Bay Area. I've decided that I'd (preferably) go to a 2 year community college, then a 2 year major university.

As for various colleges, I haven't done much yet. At school though, they introduced me to a website where I can complete a test on what I like to do and not like to do, and it'll give my suggestions on where I can get work and the minimum education required. I haven't had time to complete it yet, but I intend on finishing it tonight.

My family's opinion on early college and dropping out is that dropping out is associated with crooks, etc, and they'll likely think I can't maximize my potential. Not only that, they'll tell me I'm not too familiar with the world and I'll mess up (and they're probably right, to be honest). My family doesn't have any specifics, just "maximize my potential" and hope I at least live a decent life.

@braniac:
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We share quite a lot in common. I mentioned my brother, but I gotta be honest, I don't get along with him all too well. Almost every day he'll yell and complain about something and act like an asshole. If you're not doing things his way, he'll tell you about it. Don't agree with what he'll do? He'll argue with you and accuse you of being a bitch or something. And you can't win an argument against him. I should also mention he's obnoxious as hell.

RIP GWEDIN
RIP URITIYOGI
RIP NIGHT
RIP VONUNOV
RIP WES/THEWAKE
RIP USERNAME

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Stop jerking off to porn and whining and do something about it

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10-23-2013 01:04 PM
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Post: #10
My relation to people at school and life

I have a plan to move out, though the problem is that there isn't really much support for her. She separated from my father(she blames him for leaving, but was she was the one who threw a tantrum and kicked him out) and doesn't exactly seem to have good ties with family back in Turkey(she speaks with two of her sisters, but she isn't a fan of staying with any family for some reason).

I kept the money I earned from my previous job, but I knew that it would slowly be sucked up by the household. Her idea is to use the money I earn, and save from her own paycheck. The main difference would she believes she's entitled to both my and her own money, yet while my money might get spent on household things, I'm not allowed to access what she considers "her funds". I am somewhat bothered by her obsession with money, though it's not something unforseen due to her history(from a large family in rural Turkey in the 70s with a husband who would keep his money hidden and sometimes spend unwisely, leaving some financial instability). But she also has that typical Turkish cultural thing on societal views, where your personal wealth is dependent on your wealth and lavishness in the community(with all that gossip crap). But I consider myself more financially savy than the bankers on wall street(Smile), and have done a good job at really controlling the expenses of the household. My parents weren't exactly the best, and the main factor of the separation lay in their inability to figure out finances(and they'd actually hide money from one another, and keep it hidden by avoiding using it even when needed, expecting the other side to give up the location when they give up and go to retrieve the cash. Soon they both ended up using me to secretly retrieve the funds which was funny because they'd both ask me where and how much money each had hidden away and I always just laughed at the question.

It's difficult being a 1.5 generation(as termed) child. I've got the conservative morals of my native country with the individualistic ideals of the US(which basically means that I'm like a sword properly tempered between cold and hot). My sister is...too American, in my opinion(she acts like what is known as "typical teenager" and it can get annoying), while my mother is so very Turkish that she still holds all those beliefs(I told my professor she couldn't pick my up because she doesn't really know how to "navigate" to places herself. When I told her I said this, she flipped out saying why I'm telling him this stuff and I'm just like "Jeez. This is America, and he doesn't give a crap. Nobody here really gives a crap about your private life unless your a celebrity in this area" but she still held the idea that my professor would go off and gossip about her to others. Such a thing would be common in Turkey, and infuriate my to a point where I'd confront the idiots gossiping and give them a nice piece of my mind)

My mother finished grade school only. Her father didn't let her continue her education. She did work as a teacher for grade schoolers in history, and does occasionally read Turkish history books. She's been working on her education, having gotten a GED, passed ESL and now working to become a nurse. I have no complaint there.

And yes. When I use examples of factual information, she considers me making up some nonsensical excuse and tells me to just stop talking.

Moving out, like I said, will be difficult. One because they've become solely reliant on me(I'm practically the head of household, even if that's her title on the tax papers) and because she has the intention of moving to wherever I might go, which I tell her can be a bad idea and illogical if it increases costs(which doesn't concern her, but it does me because I know that the increased costs will end up being my problem). I even told her of the Thiel Fellowship and how it worked, and that I'd have to probably move to SF for a while(I didn't say it wasn't mandatory). She didn't approve, and when I told her of the cash I'd be given and what it was for, she asked for 50% of it so she could buy a home in Turkey. I obviously put on a shocked face and said "You know that money is technically also meant to be spent on the thing I want to work on?". Obviously another sign of her somewhat lacking knowledge of finance(my father isn't bad at finance, but he's awful at spending. He'll gladly give up quality for lower prices, when that's technically illogical because a good quality at a bit high price can last far longer and be far more effective over that period of time than the cheaper item. Basically he was thrifty but not in a good way)

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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10-23-2013 01:34 PM
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Post: #11
RE: My relation to people at school and life

@Hansgrohe, it sounds like your family's basic motivations are a good starting point. Maximize your potential, without a specific dictated life course, is a reasonable starting point for negotiating what to do.

The question is then, how to do that.

Regarding not being too familiar with the world, the question is, how does one become more familiar with the world?

One answer to that is just, "live life," but there are other steps to take as well. Talks, articles, stories, advice, and all that.

So, how do you do all that, when it's clear to many of us that high school doesn't provide many of those answers?

College can provide some, but a significant part of what college has to offer is now basically at your fingertips already, through various MOOCs, Open Education Resources, and even online discussions like this. Many college instructors wonder how to get their students to engage in meaningful forum discussions in their online courses. However, what makes a forum discussion "in a college class" different from one elsewhere, with motivated, informed, intelligent participants?

So, a further question is, are they aware of MOOCs? A.k.a., the free, open courses from top-tier universities, provided by sites like Coursera, edX, Udacity, NovoEd, Iversity, and the like?

And, would they see any value in you learning through those?

It really is worth making a distinction between several roles college, or school in general, can play in people's lives... and which can be pursued on one's own.

One question is, how to represent yourself to employers, clients, and all of that. And, another is how to actually learn, grow, develop skills, have meaningful experiences, and all that. Differentiating these purposes can help one make better decisions about how to achieve them.

@brainiac, That is one complex situation. There's the question of how to help your mom, and the question of how to go about living your life I'll give a longer response later, but this 1.5 generation idea reminded me of this talk, from decision scientist Sheena Iyengar (relevant to anyone working to figure out their life):



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10-23-2013 02:39 PM
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Post: #12
My relation to people at school and life

I'll see if I can try to talk to my parents about various MOOCs if possible, they definitely sound interesting. It's definitely worth a shot.

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10-24-2013 09:14 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #13
RE: My relation to people at school and life

They're basically all free at this point (unless you want an ID-verified certificate from Coursera), so feel free to dive in, sign up for ones that catch your attention, and poke around.

Most MOOCs from various providers offer faculty-signed certificates if you complete the course requirements with a passing score. These are items that could be listed on a resume or on a platform like Accredible or Degreed to show to employers, clients, family, or even future colleges (MIT is encouraging learning portfolio submissions for their admissions, UW-Madison is experimenting with a degree option now where you can have your prior learning assessed by examination and not have to take classes.)

There are also CLEP exams, if you haven't heard of them, which many colleges count for credit within their programs. So, that's one way for MOOCs or other custom learning to be transferred into the kind of credits you might pursue at a 2-year college (mostly intro-level courses.)

(Some colleges are very picky about CLEP, or don't take them, but others let you CLEP out of 30 credits, or an entire year of college.)

With MOOCs, if you sign up before or during the course dates, you get permanent access to the course space and materials later on. edX, at least, lets you do that with past courses even if you weren't logged in when they ran.

Just digging through those courses can be an interesting learning experience, and provide insight into some of what's covered in college without having to actually be there.

One of my ideas is to work with people to figure out custom uses of all those materials. I've signed up for a lot of these MOOCs, and worked through some of them, but for me, life is basically a big meta-MOOC at this point. Writing on here or G+, for example, is a much preferable exercise than a lot of assignments within classes.

And, with tools like Accredible, or just taking some other kind of notes, posts in forums, on blogs and so on can even be used to document learning and skills.

One other note on MOOCs is that there are two basic kinds: xMOOCs (most of them, based on lectures, assignments, quizzes and tests, that aim for huge enrollments), and cMOOCs, or connectivist MOOCs, which are more based on learning through connecting with people, discussions, and even people in the course sharing content rather than just absorbing what someone else put together.)

(This big wall of text post has some more info and videos related to that whole phenomenon. Sabastian Thrun, for example, ran the first big xMOOC as a free Stanford course, and his experience running it led him to re-think his views on education and give up tenure at Stanford to launch Udacity.)

So many things are being shaken up by some of these changes. It really is a fascinating time to live in. And so out of step with the way most schools still operate.
(This post was last modified: 10-24-2013 09:40 AM by xcriteria.)
10-24-2013 09:40 AM
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Post: #14
My relation to people at school and life

Sorry to bump this thread, but I kinda want to update this.

Yesterday I decided that I was tired of my old routine after school. I decided that I was going to talk a walk outside on my street. Though I only walked around my street, it felt so powerful. The thoughts were racing through my head, "is this what it's like to be free?". It felt so empowering and I felt so free. No authority figures to obey, or any rules. Just you and the world, even if it was just brief.

EDIT: I've also since joined with one of the MOOCs, and I must say, I love the way they operate. Efficient, free paced, easy to use, and more importantly: more centered around you. I'm taking the Future of Storytelling on Iversity, and the fact that the basic rule was to feel free to create your own rules for your stories is a complete contrast to the rigid "our way is right" teaching of the traditional schooling system.

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(This post was last modified: 11-07-2013 11:12 AM by James Comey.)
11-07-2013 09:46 AM
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Ky Offline
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Post: #15
RE: My relation to people at school and life

(11-07-2013 09:46 AM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  Sorry to bump this thread, but I kinda want to update this.

Yesterday I decided that I was tired of my old routine after school. I decided that I was going to talk a walk outside on my street. Though I only walked around my street, it felt so powerful. The thoughts were racing through my head, "is this what it's like to be free?". It felt so empowering and I felt so free. No authority figures to obey, or any rules. Just you and the world, even if it was just brief.

I had the opportunity to be spontaneous yesterday...I'm still wondering whether it was worth it, passing up the opportunity.

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11-07-2013 11:04 AM
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Post: #16
RE: My relation to people at school and life

(11-07-2013 09:46 AM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  Sorry to bump this thread, but I kinda want to update this.

Yesterday I decided that I was tired of my old routine after school. I decided that I was going to talk a walk outside on my street. Though I only walked around my street, it felt so powerful. The thoughts were racing through my head, "is this what it's like to be free?". It felt so empowering and I felt so free. No authority figures to obey, or any rules. Just you and the world, even if it was just brief.

Freedom can take on a variety of forms, but that's one of them... a state of mind.

Sometimes just initiating a change of routine can result in a feeling of freedom. A lot of human life occurs out of habit. Learning to be more conscious of habits, and the possibility of changing them, can lead to a lot more freedom.

Here's a clip from neuroscientist David Eagleman that gets at that phenomenon:

Hidden stuff:

Another aspect of what you described, your thoughts racing, is a kind of freedom in itself, mental freedom. I've had that experience at times myself, in particular when going for spontaneous walks. It's an amazing alternative to mental activity that's totally directed around screens, media, and conversations.

Finding ways to have that experience of flow is a good starting point to figuring out how to work with it. Ideally, it's not just a fleeting state of mind, but something that can be initiated more consciously.

How to do so is a whole topic to explore.

And that all relates to this concept of metacognition, thinking about thinking, and actually learning how to do it better. Not just "thinking," but all kinds of states of mind.

On that note, you might want to check out this Rizzoma thread that started as a conversation between Eidolon and I. It's related not just to metacognition, but to some of the life questions this thread deals with.

Hidden stuff:

(Rizzoma is kind of like Google Docs, a collaborative document editing platform, combined with a forum thread. It's based on the code for the now-defuct Google Wave from a couple years ago.

In order to explore the thread, click the green/gray plus signs to expand sections, just like the hidden tag on the forums. If you log in with a Google account, you can add your own comments anywhere in the document.)

https://rizzoma.com/topic/ca53f5f06f0359...14n_4jbsn/

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11-10-2013 11:11 PM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #17
RE: My relation to people at school and life

(11-07-2013 09:46 AM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  EDIT: I've also since joined with one of the MOOCs, and I must say, I love the way they operate. Efficient, free paced, easy to use, and more importantly: more centered around you. I'm taking the Future of Storytelling on Iversity, and the fact that the basic rule was to feel free to create your own rules for your stories is a complete contrast to the rigid "our way is right" teaching of the traditional schooling system.

I'm enjoying Future of Storytelling as well. It's interesting how, like most MOOCs, they've taken an actual college class, and adapted it into a more flexible format, meant for 50,000+ people, who they know will use the course in different ways.

Not even college tends to work like that, but that's the future of learning.

I can tell that they've learned things from other MOOCs, and post-MOOC recaps, and applied them to the course.

On that note, I've been thinking about how to coordinate a some parallel discussion about how those storytelling principles apply to real life, as well as to transforming education.

As Ken Robinson put it in Changing Education Paradigms, "when we went to school, we were kept there with a story." And that's still true today. People imagine the future, in large part, with reference to stories... and related ideas about how lives progress.

So, exploring how stories work, and how people think in terms of stories, is one way to address both transforming education, and thinking about life.

Narrative Identity

One of my favorite TEDx talks, from EL Kersten of Despair.com, hits on this concept of narrative identity, and some of the life narratives people tend to think of life through.

In the talk, Kersten describes his career progression, and how it ended up with him co-founding Despair, Inc. Then he goes on to talk about narrative identity, and how people think about their lives through the lens of stories.

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Personally, I have a less despairing view of life, but Kersten's concluding message really resonates with me. And, it overlaps with the idea in one of the Future of Storytelling lectures, that real people can be seen as characters, themselves.

But, how does the story of one's life get written?

In short, it depends, and that's a big topic for discussion. At first, one's family, culture, schooling, neighborhood, possibly religion, and media in various forms, as well as genes and all that, set up one's initial backstory. But eventually, especially in a media-saturated, hyper-connected world, various Calls to Adventure make themselves available. Once one begins to question life as some automatic script that plays out, the question of how to live it takes on greater significance.

And part of how one can navigate life, and the scenes one finds oneself in, or seeks out, as life progresses, is based on the kind of maps one has of what life can consist of.

Novelist and Youtuber John Green explores this metaphor of maps in this TEDx talk, which is rather fitting in a reply on the theme of stories:

Hidden stuff:

And while I'm at it, I'll link this recent post from Justin Schwamm, who's also taking Future of Storytelling. He's thinking about how the concept of a series "showrunner" relates to the role of a teacher, as well as coordinator of a storyworld that incorporates user generated content:

Being the Showrunner

I'm wondering how best to bridge some of these conversations, as I wrote in my comment on Justin's post Caught in the Middle. In an earlier post, where he shared the Storytelling course, I suggested a Rizzoma-based discussion. And he replied, "As long as the Rizzoma doesn't turn into giant blocks of text Smile I would be glad to be part of the discussion there."

And that's the challenge. An interaction between two or three people about complex topics can quickly turn into "blocks of text," even if they're well-written and structured into sections. A conversation among even more people leads to the likelihood of even more walls of text.

But many educators can't stand walls of text... even though school itself is famous for forcing people to write term papers and essays. And, in the world of stories, there don't tend to be many walls of text. Novels, especially epistolary novels, are an exception, of course, but it's hard to pull off letter-writing in real life, to people, like parents, teachers, schools, and in general, when people "ain't got time for that."

Hidden stuff:

DoA's comment, from MagnificentMarty/MrJurgens thread, RE: So My Mom Threatened Me... comes to mind:

Quote:DEATH TO THE WALLS OF TEXT

AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT

AND I'M EVEN AN AVID READER AND STILL CAN'T TAKE IT IN

WADDAFECK

[Image: wall_of_text_1664.gif]

I referenced DoA's comment on a quite relevant G+ thread from months ago, where Justin replied:

Quote:I can only speak for myself as an auditory-kinesthetic learner regarding the "walls of text" issue. I hate them. I put up with yours, Brendan, because they're walls of excellent and thought-provoking text. But I could wish for shorter paragraphs, or breaking up a single comment into several ... or, even better, the kind of hyper-HyperCard model I keep imagining and envisioning. (I tend to use a lot of bold and _italics_, relatively speaking, both here and on my blog because my eyes start glazing over if I try to process huge blocks of text visually. Fortunately for me, I "hear it in my head," but huge blocks of text are as distracting for me, in their own way, as piles and piles of graphic elements would be. I am finicky and hard to please Smile when it comes to text.)

Like you, Brendan, I learn best when I can seek out frameworks and connections, and when I can relate new stuff to old stuff. That's why I endure those blocks of text!

But, how does one write in a manner that doesn't look and feel like "walls of text" to one's audience?

What is it that draws interest in, where a reader or watcher is captivated, learns something, and yet, hopefully, is also motivated to think and reflect, rather than just turning to the next page?

Lots to think about... especially with the possibilities of incorporating images, video, audio, and links within text.


But it all circles back to questions like, how can learning, and life navigation, best occur? We know there are better ways than factory model schools, or having life dictated by others, but what are the alternatives?

How does one really embrace freedom, on a finite planet?
(This post was last modified: 11-11-2013 04:05 AM by xcriteria.)
11-10-2013 11:16 PM
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Post: #18
My relation to people at school and life

xcriteria has W.O.T.S.

Walls of Text Syndrome.

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11-10-2013 11:38 PM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #19
RE: My relation to people at school and life

(11-10-2013 11:38 PM)MrJurgens Wrote:  xcriteria has W.O.T.S.

Walls of Text Syndrome.

Razz

Hah. You're not alone with a diagnosis along those lines. Smile

My last reply should probably have been broken into at least two parts. I went back and put a big chunk of it in a hidden tag, and it's still really long.

And this reply, before I chopped out huge sections and re-wrote some more, was another 1100-word wall of text.

One of the parts I chopped:

"I'm tempted to hit send, but I'm contemplating all the feedback I've received, and what this text will look like to a reader. I've even gone back through and evolved it from what I first started writing. But... it feels too wall-of-texty."

But that's the tradeoff I face a lot. Hit send, keep evolving the text in the buffer, cut a bunch out, just give up, or delay a decision.

This thread already stirs up so many associations in my mind, especially with Hansgrohe's mention of the storytelling course. And throw in a comment like Walls of Text Syndrome, and there are so many paths to follow in composing a response.

There's something about the concept of a diagnosis, even in jest, that's worth exploring. But, my core "syndrome" is really a desire to create and arrange content that's actually relevant to people, and interesting, unlike much of school, or seemingly endless surfing across the web, with a poor signal-to-noise ratio.

So, how does one determine what's relevant?

Swimming in a sea of content

Making sense of how to navigate content, including what to read and not to read, is one core life quest that school doesn't tend to prepare people for, and it hasn't been possible to people through most of history.

What you choose to focus your attention on could impact how your life plays out, who you happen to meet, and what kind of questions you decide to ask. In short, it can impact your inner map of what life can consist of, as John Green got at in the talk I linked above.

Reading (and listening and watching) can expand one's map of the world, of what life can consist of.

But, that leads to a dilemma, when you go beyond just surfing whatever seems interesting, or doing what people force you to do. It's the dilemma of freedom, in the form of having choices. There's a potential tradeoff, a.k.a., opportunity cost in making one selection over another.

And selections can quickly become habits... which can in turn blind one to other opportunities, just as much as they can help one spot opportunities. These are cognitive habits, including habits of attention... and learning to recognize these is a key step in metacognitive reflection.

Hidden stuff:

I'm going to clip this post here, but what do you think should come next? I have more paragraphs and sections to add, including one with the heading Prisons of Text. It seems abrupt to just end the post there, but it seems too wall-of-texty to continue adding sections.

Does the above make sense? Does it seems relevant?

What questions does it lead you to ask?

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(This post was last modified: 11-12-2013 01:07 AM by xcriteria.)
11-11-2013 06:16 AM
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Post: #20
My relation to people at school and life

Oh, man, I know how you feel, dude. Sucks. I can't do much about it because I'll end up hurting my loved ones (such as dropping outta school may hurt my parents) but I do what you do. Get lost in your own sense of fantasia you wish were true. And, hey, maybe it is. Who's to say we're not imaginary people from another mind? and who's to say our fantasies are not real? You never know. Nothing is impossible. But if you find it difficult to get away from things such as your bitching brother or the ignorant fucktards your meet in your school, can you not just sit down with a book? Get lost in the world of the unreal? Forget everything until it is possible to live on your own and away from such things you dislike. Just come home and watch some anime or read a good book. Or just sit here researching your own interests. I mean there is so much I have found out when I'm supposed to be doing homework. I learned about secret societies such as "Suicide Club" and this stuff is really interesting. Of course, you find out about what you're interested in and if you're unsure of what you like and dislike maybe that's what you should do; find out your interests. I mean, I come home from school and sit here for hours watching Terence McKenna videos and reading about Tryptamine Hallucinogens and Conciousness just because of pure interest XD Sorry for such a long reply.

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11-11-2013 06:29 AM
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Post: #21
RE: My relation to people at school and life

@l1qu1d, I think long replies can be a very good thing. You raise good questions. One thing I've found is that it helps to break up a big paragraph into a few parts, like a pause after asking questions. That can help improve readability.

This theme comes up a lot around here: "I can't do much about it because I'll end up hurting my loved ones (such as dropping outta school may hurt my parents)"

Fantasy has its place, but I think there's also a lot of value in using imagination, along with research, in thinking about what the future might actually look like.

I think we're real, not imaginary. Imagination is real in that it takes place in the brain, and in that we experience it. Imagination, and other acts of cognition, actually interact with the brain in different ways, which is an interesting thing to explore.

But, what are the steps toward living on one's own, where life isn't a repetition of this feeling of being stuck, subject to constraints you can't stand? Too many people end up in unsustainable life situations, relationships, jobs, or just lost in fantasy or content-surfing. Surely, there's more to life than that. How do you go about figuring out whether there is or not?

I think a lot of that feeling of being trapped is a matter of mindset and habits that people keep with them even after they have "freedom," because then they end up trapped in something else. So... start exercising the freedom you have now. Like you're saying.

But how to make the most of freedom?

And that happens to be the lyric of a song. Smile


I think there are some identifiable steps to take, things to learn, and things to explore and try out, even when you're still trapped in various ways. I think everyone here has taken some steps in various directions. But maybe there's more.

When faced with constraints... time constraints, energy constraints, rules, other people's needs and preferences... how to make the most of the time and opportunities that are available to us?

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11-12-2013 03:34 AM
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