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Lost in the gym 

After dropping out of college twice, this letter writer is struggling with a traineeship at a gym. 

You know what to do, says our elder: find something and stick to it.

 

Dear EWC

Hello 🙂 I’ve recently dropped out of two colleges in the UK due to not being able to fit in or interact with anyone and found a traineeship at a gym. I feel like I should be happy since I only have to go in 12 hours a week and can focus on getting fitter myself, but I’m just not happy. I have to ”observe” a lot which is super awkward and I feel like I’m the one being “observed” and judged by everyone there. I guess I feel kind of lost? I can see myself doing a career like this apart from the fact that I find it hard to talk to people, but I also feel like I’m not meant to do it – I’m not 100 percent passionate about it. I don’t really have any passions though and I don’t know where to go after this traineeship. I want to go back to college but I don’t know what to study or what to make of my life. I know everyone probably goes through this and is told to try out new things/hobbies or just stick with one option and see where it leads, but I feel like I don’t even have interests or even the confidence to do that. Thanks for any advice in advance 🙂

 

ConstanceF replies

You know, it seems you do know the answer to your own question. You state it in your second paragraph, second to last sentence. The key is just to choose something and stick with it.

Since you said you’ve dropped out of two colleges, I am going to assume that you are around the age of 20, or thereabouts. At your age, unless one is committed to becoming a doctor or something that requires mega schooling, there is nothing wrong with simply being a dilettante: checking out whatever interests you for as long as it interests you.

That being said, however, I will also tell you that time flies by in the big scheme of things and by failing to stick with anything until you become passionate about it, you will also fail to prepare yourself for a steady course. Meaning that things will happen around you and to you, and some of what happens will not be to your liking.

To clarify, let me tell you a bit about my career/school trajectory. I was on college track, but having graduated early from high school at age 17, I couldn’t find a job and was bored. I met a guy. We moved in together. My parents weren’t happy and would no longer help me with college. I tried to work and go to school, but it was too much. For the next 40 years I did admin work, hating every minute of it. I knew more about the business of over half the people I worked for, yet I was paid maybe 10 percent of what they earned. Why? Because I didn’t get my degree. Now in my 60s, I don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a good job with adequate wages. There’s more to the story, but it boils down to not going to college is one of the biggest errors in judgment I made. (I do have a degree now, but it’s only an Associate’s and still looked down upon).

My advice to you is to go back to college, complete all of your general education requirements and intersperse them with elective courses until you find something you enjoy. Put yourself out there and make some friends. My friend’s dad used to tell us that the main point of college isn’t the knowledge you gain, it’s the connections. Make some.

Same goes for if you decide to stay at the gym. Make some friends and really work at being the best gym rat you can be. And BTW, no one is going to get fitter working 12 hours a week at anything. When you’re working, you’re working. You need to work out if you want to change your body. And trust me, the gym job will be there now, during and after college. Get college done. You’ll thank yourself later.

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