Can I start learning at 18?

A letter writer who was homeschooled spent a lot of that time playing video games, but now he wants to turn his life around.

Can our elder show him a way forward?

Dear EWC

I am a 17, soon to be 18-year-old male from Alabama. I’m from a relatively poor household consisting of my mother, my grandmother, and myself. Both my mother and grandmother are very sweet people but lack much when it comes to disciplining others. This wouldn’t have been much of an issue if it wasn’t for my health problems as a child leading me to be homeschooled. I was taken out of school at the age of 12 because of both my aforementioned health problems and a serious accident involving my mother. She suffered from a broken neck and minor brain damage due to a terrible car crash a few miles from our home. I didn’t touch the online schooling program I was put in a single time during her recovery and since it was an online course where you learned at your own pace, I never received any notice regarding my absence or lack of work. After my mother had gotten better, she was never really the same person. Before, she was more of a stern person, but after the accident and her breaking up with my stepfather, that faded. She had become a lot like my grandmother.

This is where things started to go further downhill. Neither of them made me do my schooling and just left me to do whatever I liked. Of course, as a 12-13-year-old with access to the internet and plenty of video games would do, I wasted my life… Here and there I would touch at a few sites in order to attempt to catch up in school, but bad habits would always knock me back into the hole that just kept getting deeper. This still continues even now. The two major differences are that: 1. I live with only my mother now so dealing with bills and buying food is much harder, and 2. I want to get my life together… It hurts to see your best friend go off and get his driver’s license and start to prepare for college as your mother is working hard just to keep the lights on. All while you’re sitting there, drowning in your own regrets and mistakes with no way to help out. I’ve been told by my aunt to go into our local community college to take GED lessons, but I honestly don’t know if I’m at the level where I would be able to understand whatever they teach in the lessons due to my years of learning next to nothing. That is why I’m writing this letter. As an attempt to step back onto the right path after so long of just wandering through the darkness. Can you help me find and take the first step? Where should I start? Also, I would like to apologize for the lack of proper punctuation, this is the best I could do as of now. Hopefully, it wasn’t too hard to read.

PicklesMarie replies

In my eyes, you are doing okay and progressing in a positive way. Try not to give up! Let me give you insights.

I grew up in a poor environment without money or paid-for education. I have done OK in retrospect. It has taken effort to get to where I am. I made it!

Education and training are the most important. Your aunt’s advice to go to community college and take GED lessons was right on in my opinion. Reading your letter, it is apparent you are smart. It may take some extra effort to learn some lessons, but, I think you have the ability… and I think it would be worth it!

It seems as I read your letter you have a lot of rudimentary skills. You can put your thoughts together in an intelligent thought-out manner. That actually counts for a lot. Keep your job, but, get some schooling around it. This won’t be easy, but it is possible and bodes well for your future.

Your first step, I suspect, is finding free advice at some institution of higher learning. There are tests you can take to show your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be too fearful of the weaknesses, they may either highlight areas that you ought to study or, perhaps, eliminate careers. If perhaps, the first place isn’t helpful, some are a bit ‘snobby’, try another and, perhaps, another. You have the will to figure this out… so you can.

While you do this you will need to keep ‘life’ together for you and your mother. While I know many a young guy wants a car, I doubt that that is the best avenue. Cars can be expensive — initial cost, repairs, insurance, regular maintenance. I’d advise against a car if you have alternatives. Believe it or not, getting an education/training is of far more worth and it pays into the future.

Look online for free helps to learn. This intent to learn could now replace video gaming. Habits can be changed in about 15-21 days. (You probably did learn while you were video gaming!)

After you get some advice and find some ways to teach yourself, evaluate. You are you; unique and special. Don’t be discouraged by those who have soared quickly ahead and don’t be discouraged by those who have never been successful. Be determined. Keep trying!

If this seems like a pep talk, it is! I sometimes think all it takes to succeed is the will to do so. You have the will… you can find a way!

I hope I’ve been of help. Do not hesitate to write again.

Letter #: 437244
Category: School

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