32 votes

How to start being an adult? I feel like I am falling downhill without any branch to catch me.

I hope this is the right place to post my question.
About me: I am 23, currently studying computer science in a university and failing it hard. I have finished school with pretty good grades, found school easy and didn't really put any effort into learning. After getting my fancy sheet of paper with my grades I applied to compsci studies. Fast forward to now, I am in my last semester with only 30% of credits I need to graduate. It is really hard, I have zero friends to work with at unversity, I make plans and detailed lists of work I have to do but always fail to follow them. I feel like I cannot control myself, one week I will do my work, next week I will struggle to get out of bed and do anything, I can spend whole day laying in bed and doing nothing. My personal life did not progress upwards too, I do not feel any joy in reading, communicating with people or doing basically anything. Everything feels like one big boring game of get a degree, work, make kids and die. My parents are disappointed, since I am failing uni, got fat and basically became a complete opposite of who I was at school. If I dont have anything to do I will just sit at home and stare at my computer, I dont even play games or watch movies, just mindlesly browse reddit or some forum without posting or commenting.

Maybe someone out here has faced a similar situation and give me a hint/tip to start with, I feel hopeless and useless. This situation seems like an endless void to me, maybe there is a way out that I cannot see?

11 comments

  1. [2]
    koan Link
    Maybe you're not supposed to study computer science or go into that field. Maybe you're not supposed to get a degree, go to work, make kids, and die (well, death is inevitable). Maybe you don't...

    Maybe you're not supposed to study computer science or go into that field. Maybe you're not supposed to get a degree, go to work, make kids, and die (well, death is inevitable). Maybe you don't have to live your life in a way prescribed by other people.

    Do you feel like you're in this position because you're trying to make other people happy? Or live up to some expectation? Or worse, you had no choice in the matter and this was the course that was forced upon you? Well, if that's the case, I'm just a friendly voice out here in the void telling you that you can live this life in any way you choose. Finding your true path and your calling can be a difficult proposition, but that's part of the joy of living.

    You might be depressed. Maybe. But perhaps you're just demoralized. Our world is kind of a mess. It's hard to see a worthwhile future sometimes. It feels like a lot of social things are getting worse. And our environmental crisis doesn't help. Do you relate with what Sheldon Solomon says in this video? Maybe you've been put through the proverbial psychic wringer, trying to be forced into a mold that you don't fit in.

    Base level, you need to financially support yourself. But there are so many ways to do that and thrive. Beyond that, you can live how you see fit. So if you're struggling to make sense of this life you've found yourself in, know that it doesn't have to be this way if you don't want it to. You make your own choices, and you live with the consequences, for better or for worse. I'd highly recommend staying out of debt and not procreating. Minimize your responsibilities as you figure out what your path is. That'll make it far easier on you.

    Ultimately, if you don't choose your path, someone else will be happy to choose it for you. So... what do you desire?

    16 votes
    1. Hidegger Link Parent
      I mostly agree with what @koan is saying. It sounds like you haven't picked a career that's suitable for you. You aren't grasping the courses you are currently taking so that's a big waste of...

      I mostly agree with what @koan is saying. It sounds like you haven't picked a career that's suitable for you. You aren't grasping the courses you are currently taking so that's a big waste of money if you aren't into it anymore. Find something you can handle doing day-to-day and that will pay a decent wage starting as well as having good advancement plan. It doesn't have to be a struggle to find a vocation that is sustainable for you.
      Earning money is the first step to doing the things you want to do in life. Just don't bite off more than you can chew. Once you start having money then I think you will know how to use it and not be so bored of everyday life outside of the eat, sleep, work cycle.

      If for some reason you can't find a job you want to do where you are or that has sustainable pay vs. bills ratio, consider moving. You could live outside of a city and find cheaper living expenses for nearly the same paying jobs. I just put an AC unit of a house the owner was trying to rent for $400/month, add electric, internet, phone and food and you could walk to a minimum wage job in the town and make $600 profit a month. I know people living in the city that make more money but still come out with less profit. If moving makes sense, do it.

      5 votes
  2. [2]
    kevbot Link
    Hi Zoink. First, I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling in the transition to adulthood. What you are experiencing isn't uncommon, and I have a similar story from when I went to college (I almost...

    Hi Zoink. First, I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling in the transition to adulthood. What you are experiencing isn't uncommon, and I have a similar story from when I went to college (I almost failed out as well due to lack of motivation).

    What you're describing sounds generally like depression, and I encourage you to speak to a counselor/therapist who can help, either by processing through why you feel the way you do or even prescribing antidepressants. Many universities offer resources for those struggling with mental health, please take advantage of them if available to you. If you take care of yourself it does get better, I promise.

    23 votes
    1. NaraVara Link Parent
      I think this bears repeating with more force than just a vote can give: This! I've been there myself. The transition to college was tough for me because I never really learned how to study, manage...

      I think this bears repeating with more force than just a vote can give:

      What you're describing sounds generally like depression, and I encourage you to speak to a counselor/therapist who can help

      This! I've been there myself. The transition to college was tough for me because I never really learned how to study, manage my time, or apply myself in high school. Once I started being actually challenged it hit my self-esteem hard. This led to a failure cascade and made it harder for me to develop and maintain friendships or take on any new activities. Very few people are able to just get over that hump themselves because you can't flip a switch or a have an epiphany that will make you start developing better habits or healthier ways to talk to/criticize yourself. It takes practice and coaching, which is what a counselor is trained to provide.

      14 votes
  3. Pilgrim Link
    Sleep. Exercise. Therapy/counseling. Start doing those three things immediately. Set a bed time. Set an alarm to wake up by a certain time. Get moving. Take a walk. A run. Do something to get your...

    Sleep. Exercise. Therapy/counseling.

    Start doing those three things immediately. Set a bed time. Set an alarm to wake up by a certain time. Get moving. Take a walk. A run. Do something to get your blood going. If you can't do that easily, you may be depressed. Either way, set an appointment with your school's counselor/therapists. Be open with your family about what's going on. I hope they're good people and support you. If not, find someone who does.

    Some one, some where, is living the life you want to lead. You can be that person, but you have to be that person. No one else can do that for you.

    10 votes
  4. mat Link
    In addition to what kevbot said about mental health (and they are absolutely right about that, please do try and find some help if you can).. It doesn't have to be that. You don't have to do those...

    In addition to what kevbot said about mental health (and they are absolutely right about that, please do try and find some help if you can)..

    Everything feels like one big boring game of get a degree, work, make kids and die.

    It doesn't have to be that. You don't have to do those things. I mean you do need some kind of income but it doesn't have to be one from a 9-5 job in an office doing something you don't enjoy. You don't have to have kids. You don't have to live anything like the life anyone else expects you do. You may still have to die, but I'll get back to you on that in (hopefully) quite a long time.

    Before I left uni I felt a lot like you did. Although I was taking a great deal of recreational chemicals as well, so that didn't help. I get nocturnal easily and often went days, even weeks, without seeing daylight, which was awful for my mental and physical health. Leaving uni (six months before graduating) changed everything for me. I can still, nearly 20 years later, recall the intense feeling of relief after I walked out of the Dean's office having fucked it all off. The walk down university drive and off campus as a student for the last time was a joy I hadn't felt for years. After that things got better and better. Sure, there were bad times here and there and I had some hella shitty jobs along the way and even now I don't make as much money as many of my friends and I'll certainly never be rich - but I'm mostly pretty happy and that's all that matters.

    It does get better. You don't have to do the things you think everyone else expects you to. It sounds like you're not doing the things you need to be doing right now. You can always go back to uni later, when you're in a better place. You can always get that programming job later.

    8 votes
  5. Akir Link
    The first thing you should do is talk to a counselor. You have pretty much described every symptom of depression. That being said, I do have some advice. You seem to be very concerned about trying...

    The first thing you should do is talk to a counselor. You have pretty much described every symptom of depression.

    That being said, I do have some advice. You seem to be very concerned about trying to become an ideal. That's bad juju. You talk about how to become an adult, but the fact of the matter is that you already are an adult by just about every definition. It sounds like your parents may be giving you a hard time, but they don't define you; you define you. And the only labels you should worry about are the ones you give yourself.

    Finding your own direction in life is extremely different when you are dealing with depression. That is why you need to deal with that first. A person lives their life according to their values, but how can one choose those values if nothing seems to matter? I'm sure you'll find this out yourself, but learning how you live your life might actually be what makes your depression go away.

    Finally, as others have said, a lot of people go into a CS degree and find that it's not for them. It's not a big deal; in my second semester programming class alone, more than half of the class had dropped it after the first two weeks. Of course, I'm not saying you need to give up that goal; instead, you should question weather or not you find the topic worthwhile.

    Actually I do have one other piece of advice relating to depression specifically. It never feels like it, but talking to other people really really helps. Join a club that meets regularly and force yourself to socialize. One of these days you might find that one of those people will be the one to pull you out of your funk.

    6 votes
  6. Catt Link
    I had a hard time adjusting to university when I first moved away and what you've written echos my experience, and I've seen this happen to quite of my friends too at various stages of life -...

    I had a hard time adjusting to university when I first moved away and what you've written echos my experience, and I've seen this happen to quite of my friends too at various stages of life - going to university, during school, after graduating, looking for work, after being laid off, and so on. My point is this happens pretty commonly, so don't beat yourself up with it. Don't be too disappointed when you don't feel productive.

    What I think works:

    • Put on pants everyday! At least once a day, go outside, even if it's literally open your front door and walk ten steps out. Go get the mail or take a walk or get gas, whatever.
    • Deal with your to do lists. For me, I broken every task into tiny tiny pieces, so that I could check off lots of things. I thought this was helping, but it turned out to be overwhelming as I was always looking at a super long list. You're your own expert, so play around with a system that works for you.
    • Drink water - not kidding. When you catch yourself doing nothing, go get a glass of water and take a couple drinks.
    • Stretch - working out can sometimes feel like a lot. You sound like you're in front of a computer a lot, so shoulder, back, hip and hand stretches will probably feel good for you. Google a few (or chat with your doctor) and do them whenever you feel like it, feel stiff or feel like you're doing nothing.

    I hope the best for you. Good luck!

    5 votes
  7. Loire Link
    When I came out of high school I went into computer science because I didn't know what else to do. Turns out I hated it. By year two I was struggling along, 2.1 GPA, risking expulsion, no...

    When I came out of high school I went into computer science because I didn't know what else to do.

    Turns out I hated it.

    By year two I was struggling along, 2.1 GPA, risking expulsion, no motivation to go to class, depressed sitting at home gaming, or just watching bullshit television, drinking a lot. Similarly no friends, just a girlfriend.

    In the end I dropped out for six months, and came back the next fall in the geology program and literally everything changed. I still love geology, work in a geological related field, made friends that I still have nearly a decade later, my current longterm girlfriend who is likely the one, I met through geological associations. GPA ended at a 3.8. Got a master's degree in the field.

    You need a change. Conputer Sciences aren't for you. I'm not saying go into geology, but I would suggest maybe dropping into general sciences and trying a bunch of different 100-levels until you find something that speaks to you. See if you can fit in some business courses as well. Don't be afraid of starting over and finding something you are at least a little bit passionate for.

    5 votes
  8. Staross (edited ) Link
    Isn't anything you like to do ? If you're fat you must like eating at least, try to learn how to cook, that's a skill you can improve your whole life and never gets old. Eating shit also makes you...

    Isn't anything you like to do ? If you're fat you must like eating at least, try to learn how to cook, that's a skill you can improve your whole life and never gets old. Eating shit also makes you feel bad.

    About the adult part, I don't know. For me it's more of a gradual thing, I don't feel much more an adult than when I was 16, more like I'm old.

    Having effort/reward cycles might also help, for example do something that you don't really like and take an effort, like studying or going out for a walk, and then do something you kind of enjoy as a reward (like mindlesly browse reddit for a while). That way you feel like you earned a reward through your efforts instead of feeling guilty about doing nothing.

    2 votes
  9. Silbern Link
    I'm only 20 years old myself, and I'm afraid I don't have any advice, but I can at least somewhat empathize. I'm in a bit of a similar situation, in university studying Computer Science, and have...

    I'm only 20 years old myself, and I'm afraid I don't have any advice, but I can at least somewhat empathize. I'm in a bit of a similar situation, in university studying Computer Science, and have failed 1 class every single semester since I started, which is currently 2 and my summer class (so 3 total). It's very demoralizing and I've been struggling with feeling like a disappointment to my parents as well, especially after having always done very well in high school, and that they're paying my tuition. It sucks and I'm not sure how we'll get through it, but we'll find a way in the end (and perhaps that path is through a different major or something other than university). My older brother was also in a similar situation, where he started law, didn't like it, switched to Physics, failed out, and eventually found a third way through software development, which he's currently doing. He still doesn't have a degree either and he's 24, although he was recently offered (and got!) a job, with some extra training included. I hope it might bring you some comfort to know you're not the only one in this difficult situation, and that it's not your fault.

    2 votes