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I have nothing besides school

A freshman has realised that school is not enough. How can she find new interests? 

Tumultuous feelings come with the territory at your age, says our elder. Be prepared and enjoy the ride.

 

Dear EWC

I am a high school freshman. Just recently, I’ve realized that I’ve lived my life judging my worth based on how well I do at school. The moment I forgot to turn in my homework on time, my mind blamed me for not being able to do such a simple task. I know deep inside that I’m not that worthless, but honestly speaking, I’ve never been able to take anything seriously or have any curiosity or interest in the things around me. I used to enjoy studying, but I’ve lost the joy of learning and it’s starting to wear me off. But I don’t have anything besides school, not much interests, hobbies or close relationships. If I lose my grades, I can’t imagine my future. I’ve made attempts to try finding some interests through the net, or trying to widen my social circles in hopes to find my happiness or renew my life, but it hasn’t been working. Now I’m wondering if I’m not trying hard enough or if I’m just not cut out for any of these. The more I think about it, the more scared and tired I am to find new interests. Now, I’m hoping good things will just come with time, but I’m desperate to find something that I love to do to help me pull through the academic years. This question seems very general but, I was wondering if there is any advice on where I could start? Any words of encouragement could also help me.

 

PJH replies

While I’m not surprised you’ve crossed the threshold from being happy enough pleasing adults by doing what they want to realizing it’s what you want that’s truly important. I’m glad you’ve written to the EWC for an elder’s perspective on your dilemma, because I’m confident in the long run you’ll find purpose, direction, and enthusiasm but presently the way ahead is murky. 

You write you lack interests, hobbies, and close relationships so there are neither skill-sets you can build on nor role models whose paths you might follow. You sound like a perfect candidate for interest and vocational testing, so I suggest you search online for “interest and vocational interest tests” and sample half a dozen of the free tests you find there. I think it’s likely some trends will emerge that narrow the field for you and maybe spark some unexpected topics you’ll want to explore more closely. It’s possible your school counselors have tests on file you can use, too.

Think, too, about any books you’ve chosen to read twice, or more. (I found my life-long interest in birds and birding from a book I read when I was fourteen).

But there’s much more to adolescence than picking a vocational direction. I’m sure it’s no secret to you that hormones are having powerful physical and emotional effects on you, and regardless of how close you are to parents and caregivers, or how distant they’ve become, your attitudes and expectations about them are changing almost daily. This brief letter can’t do justice to these events other than to urge you to take them seriously, and if you’re not being wisely oriented by teachers and other adults who care about you, go online and read about adolescent development until you’re thoroughly at home with who you are and what you value. Don’t assume any website has all the answers. Use your judgment in assessing what’s credible, but soak it all up so you can see where others may be coming from. 

Like all your classmates you need knowledge to deal with the five to ten tumultuous years ahead for you. Stay upright and sane by getting answers to every problem that presents itself. Enjoy as much of the ride as you can manage, but allow yourself to feel downcast at times. Mixed emotions go with the territory.

So, be prepared, and write again if you want to address something more specific. I’d be glad to hear from you.

Article #: 472104

Category: Self-Improvement

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