Stressed-out loser

I weigh over 200 lbs, I’m failing my courses and I don’t have a plan. 

Can our elder help a letter writer find the positive next step?


Dear EWC

Hi, I’m at one of the lowest points of my life, and I’ll admit it. I’m a loser. I’m turning 21 in two months, yet I still don’t have a plan or goals. I weigh over 200 lbs, but I can’t stick to a weight loss routine for over a week. I’m failing my online courses, and my GPA is awfully low. It’s all stressing me out, and I feel like a failure. I’m also unable to decide what I want to do in the future. There’s a lot of pressure to choose what path I want to take, and I can’t help but think that time is running out for me to make a choice. I’m taking community college classes to satisfy my parents, but I don’t even know if college is right for me. I hate that I’m wasting my life away, and I know that I need to change. Even so, I don’t know what my purpose in life is supposed to be, and I’m scared I won’t ever find out. Is there someone else who used to be in a position like mine? How did you figure it out? Will it get better, or is it too late for me? I’m a bit desperate, and at this point, any advice will help.


Lincoln-Parker replies

You ask if there is someone else like you. The answer is yes – about half of the people your age. You are not a loser or a failure, and time is not running out. On the other hand, the sooner that you figure out the next positive step, the happier you will be, and that is what is most important right now.

It is hard to have a plan or goals unless you have a passion which to direct them; right now, it doesn’t have to be an ultimate career. It can just be the goal to search for that ultimate passion. You are still very young, and many people don’t fix on to that ultimate career decision until they are much older. The important thing is that you do not waste your current time and talents. Maybe you should not be in college right now because you don’t enjoy it or don’t know what you want to study. If that is the case, take time off; get a job in something that interests you either because you enjoy the activity or it allows you the time and money to enjoy other things. Maybe these other things will allow you to be happier with yourself and start to do better both mentally and physically.

As you spend this non-school time, maybe you will hit on something that – I think I would really like to do this for a while or make a career out of it. Try it on like a pair of new shoes – maybe they fit perfectly, maybe they are not right, or maybe you think you can grow into them. The important thing is that you are walking forward. Once you feel you are comfortable and enjoying the fit, you can decide if and how you want to advance to the next level.

Too many young people see others already studying some career path and are discouraged or intimated by the fact that they seem to have their “plan or goals” all mapped out. Those “others” have it easy, for the time being, because they think that they know where they want to get to; all they have to do is do well in the courses that can get them there. That’s fine until they find, as some do, that they picked the wrong plan or goal; they, too, are then frustrated. 

The important thing to feeling good about yourself is to make your actions count. By that I mean, they should do something positive for you and any people who are really important to you. If you are concerned that you are wasting your time in college, talk to your parents. Tell them how you feel. Maybe in your discussions, you will decide that it’s not college but the courses that you are taking. If so, change the directions toward something that appeals more to what interests you today. Just keep moving forward and being satisfied that you are doing something that is good for your mental and physical health.

You may get interested in physical fitness and wind up choosing a career in it. You may get into volunteering and find that that can provide a very rewarding career – experiment in healthy things to clear your mind of that stress and failure mentality that has developed. As you do, you will see beyond the negatives, and new ideas and interests will arise. One will intrigue you enough that you may want to pursue it.

A lot of very successful people did, such as chef Julia Childs, McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, and actor Samuel Jackson didn’t hit on the career that made them famous until well past 40. They all did other things, some more successfully than others, prior to that. Don’t wait that long, but don’t be frustrated because you don’t know what that goal is yet.

Good luck.

Article #: 472486

Category: Self-Improvement

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