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Libby416
Mar. 18, 2012, 11:37 AM
I am a college student, entering my junior year, and I have yet to figure out what I want to pursue career wise. I feel so lost, and when I look at all my friends, who seem to have figured their lives out already, I just feel so frustrated. School has never been easy for me, not because I couldn't make the grades but because I am not motivated at all to do the work, and it hasn't gotten better since starting college.

I obviously know I need to do something that can support my riding, which is at a stand still now, but trying to find a job not horse related that I'd actually like to do has been really tough. I always figured I'd be riding, which was extremely naive of me I know.

I guess what I'm getting at is, for those of you who feel horses are a major factor in your life, how did you decide on a career that didn't involve them? How did you motivate yourself to pursue that career?

sketcher
Mar. 18, 2012, 11:44 AM
The reality of it is that you will graduate and then start searching for jobs and as you look at what to apply for based on your skills you will eventually find something. And that something may lead you to something else. You don't need to know what you want to do. You don;t need to know right now what that 'something' is. You just need to get out of college with a degree that help you to be employable and be willing to work. As you start perusing the 'help wanted' ads you figure out which ones catch you interest and which ones don't. And someday you might find something that really rings your bell.

BlueEyedSorrel
Mar. 18, 2012, 11:53 AM
While you are still a student, go to the career counseling office. They are there to help YOU figure out what skills/interests you have, and how those fit with different careers. On most campuses, these services are either free or very cheap. Your tuition dollars pay for them, so might as well use it while you can! I guarantee that you will not be the first student they've seen who has problems figuring out what to do with their life.

You also might try the Student Health Center. It's hard to tell from your post, but it's possible that the lack of motivation is a symptom of depression or ADHD. Again, free or cheap counseling is generally available.

Good luck!
BES

Bluey
Mar. 18, 2012, 11:57 AM
That is what internships are for.
Whatever you are studying, there should be some requirements for so many hours working on approved internships.
That time in those will show you more of what is out there and who knows, for those that are not sure what they want, some of that will just fit.

I know several students that landed some interesting internships and were surprised, they would never have thought about that and just love that kind of work.

Do talk to your school's counselors about what you brought up here, that is what they are there for.:yes:

Blugal
Mar. 18, 2012, 12:16 PM
Definitely talk to a counselor. Ask about the motivation thing - I wish I had done that earlier. Try to keep riding anyway - it will help keep you motivated.

Definitely try an internship or a co-op work term.

If you absolutely hate what you are doing, consider a change. In hindsight, I wish I had changed earlier, but everyone kept saying, "Oh, a business degree is great, you will always be able to find work with that." They were wrong, an undergrad business degree did not open doors - they were thinking of an MBA probably.

I am sorry to report that I am 30, and I still don't know what I want to do with my life. I am a practicing lawyer and 2 years in! All I know is that I still want to ride and compete, and at least this pays for it. But I still struggle with being motivated to do my work - this has translated from undergrad to law school to work (I was actually hugely motivated in high school, what happened???). Between undergrad and law school I spent 2 years doing various jobs, some menial and some related to my degree. I also tried riding full time and realized that wasn't for me either.

Don't feel bad that your friends seem to know what they want. Out of my friends who 'knew', some seem happy, several weren't and changed their career paths, some definitely aren't happy. Probably the same for those who didn't know.

Libby416
Mar. 18, 2012, 03:07 PM
Thanks everyone for the replies! I actually have been to a career counselor here, but unfortunately, when I told her everything about my interests, and how I'd need to be able to support riding, the most she could come up with was being a teacher... And since I want to live in Fl for the rest of my life, I just don't see how that could possibly support my riding, and I don't know if I could deal with being around immature teens my whole life.

This motivation problem is nothing new, and there was never really a time I can remember that I was motivated to do my work. I even remember being in elementary school, going to the nurse to try to get to go home. I just have never liked being made to study. I understand that I won't get the job I need without the degree, but for some reason that doesn't connect in my head when I need to actually do work.

And unfortunately, I am not able to ride now, which I know could be contributing to the lack of motivation. I had a horse on trial that I liked that couldn't stay sound, so we returned him, and now my parents want to take a break from it. They decided to give me a puppy, to be a replacement. They don't really understand the whole horse thing, and they never have. They always give me strange looks when I try to explain that not riding makes me unhappy. Which is why I need to work to support my own horse.

I guess I'll just have to keep trudging on. It just feels so wasteful to be in school and not know what I'm doing. I feel as though I'm wasting money just jumping from major to major, still without success.

Blugal
Mar. 18, 2012, 03:12 PM
Have you considered taking a break from school, getting a job, and making money while you're deciding what you should do?

I'm serious, why pay tuition and give up a paying job if it is not leading towards a concrete goal?

And don't forget, owning a horse is not always what it's cracked up to be. If you want to keep riding, you could try part-leasing or even riding others' for exercise. You are not stuck with all the bills, the purchase price, or even a lame horse.

Libby416
Mar. 18, 2012, 03:33 PM
Have you considered taking a break from school, getting a job, and making money while you're deciding what you should do?

I'm serious, why pay tuition and give up a paying job if it is not leading towards a concrete goal?

And don't forget, owning a horse is not always what it's cracked up to be. If you want to keep riding, you could try part-leasing or even riding others' for exercise. You are not stuck with all the bills, the purchase price, or even a lame horse.

I wish I could take a year off, just to sort myself out a bit, but my parents will not go for that. I hinted at it in an earlier conversation with them, and it escalated into an argument.

I would like to do something with horses now, be it lessons, or leasing, but thats a no go for my parents. They want me to take a BREAK break. As in nothing it seems. Plus there really aren't that many opportunities out here anyways. Even though we are so close to Ocala here in Gainesville, there aren't that many options lesson wise.

ellebeaux
Mar. 18, 2012, 03:36 PM
Does anything make you excited and happy right now?

Guilherme
Mar. 18, 2012, 03:39 PM
Do you look good in Blue? (Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine, or Coast Guard? :) )

Take a break from college. Get paid well. Pay back society for all the freedom you have. Learn a real skill (and build the discipline to learn and practice it well). The GI Bill will help a bunch with college. If you do a tour in the Sand Box you may be elligible for a $30,000/annum Combat Veteran Scholarship (renewable at least once).

You will also have the time to mature and consider other life choices.

The downside: riding may well be limited (unless you go Special Forces in Afghanistan).

I have seen several dozen young people over the last almost 20 years take this route with great success. I've see three failures. One of these successes was my son. ;)

There are other roads, but this one is pretty smooth and well traveled. :)

G.

HelloAgain
Mar. 18, 2012, 03:41 PM
I think its a bit of a shame that so many younger people today have bought the idea that a job must be "awesomely fulfilling" and "express who you are". That's nice and all but it's also a trap for the unwary. A job doesn't need to make you happy, it just has to not-suck enough that you can live with it, and pay enough that you can live on it.

Let's face it, you've already shown you can't push yourself. So unless you plan on changing your attitude in a damn jiffy, and making yourself into the kind of person who can push themselves for what seems like no good reason, don't look for a job where you're going to have to push yourself or be expected to have a ton of competitive spirit. Be realistic. You're not an achiever and you're not the best of the best. Maybe that sounds mean but by your own description, it is a fact. Maybe everyone has told you that you can do "anything" but that's a ridiculous lie. First off, the reason doing unusual things is so impressive is because it is damn difficult to make a go of unusual things. Second, no one can do "anything." We all have strengths and weaknesses. Yours is that you're lazy. That's fine. I'm lazy too. Laziness can be a strength, then we call it "efficiency."

I'm an attorney working for municipal government. I could make triple what I make working for a private firm, but I don't want to play their I-work-all-the-time-and-luv-it reindeer games. I go in, I do my work, and I leave. I don't take my work home, I DON'T stay after 5 pm and I never leave my vacation time on the table. Lazy? maybe... but it sure works for me. Hell it was my laziness that make me decide on law school -- I was sick of working so much for so little money in my previous "awesome, fulfilling" career (I worked for a now-defunct national bookseller writing marketing copy).

I would think about things that are basically easy and boring and pay ok, like federal government jobs ie the Post Office, the DMV, etc.. The pay's pretty crappy to start but over time you can build up to quite a comfortable income. Similarly municipal/state government, court system, etc. If you have an affinity for certain subjects private tutoring is something to consider... writing and SAT tutors are always in demand. Medical careers that are narrowly defined are also good, technicians of various types... my friend's an ultrasound technician -- no gore and definitely a "leave it at the office" type job - I don't know exactly what she makes but she just got back from a trip to India so she must be doing ok.

Anyway those are some of my thoughts. Remember the prevailing wisdom is not always so wise, or, even if its wise in general it might not be wise for YOU.

bdj
Mar. 18, 2012, 03:45 PM
Stick it out and get the degree - find something that you enjoy, coursework-wise, and use that to help motivate you to get through school. (Seriously - I graduated with a BA in Peace, War & Defense because I really enjoyed studying military history, not because it offered amazing job prospects.) If you're doing liberal arts, I (personally) think that the degree itself is more important than the major you got it in - liberal arts majors generally are pretty good at communication and conveying ideas, because we spent most of our undergrad time writing papers to support arguments. This goes out the window if you think you might want to go to vet school or something down the road - then you really need to have those hard sciences under your belt.

And this is going to sound disappointing, I know, but you might end up biting the bullet and taking a job that isn't what you love, and doesn't pay enough to let you do all the fun stuff that you really want to do. It sucks, but the world needs bank tellers and receptionists and waitresses and legal assistants, and those jobs pay. Those kinds of jobs might not be fun, but they'll keep your head above water (financially speaking) so that you have time to think about what you really do want to do when you "grow up". I speak from experience - I did all of those jobs I just listed before I figured out what I wanted to do - it took me several years after graduation, but after working at all of those jobs, I realized that I actually wanted to be a public librarian. It's not glamorous, and the pay isn't going to put Bill Gates to shame, but I like my job, it's interesting, I keep learning new stuff, and I can afford to have my own place - with my 4 dogs and my elderly horse.

And all that time when I couldn't afford to ride? I got really into dog sports - very much like horse sports, but much cheaper and way more portable!

Blugal
Mar. 18, 2012, 04:01 PM
I completely agree with the above two posters.

Between undergrad and law school, at various times I was a waitress, I mucked stalls, I worked for a start-up, and I trained horses. There was also a period of time where I lived off the money I got for selling a horse.

Looking back on everything I've done, I'd say "motivation" is not necessarily what will get you anywhere. When I was dirt poor and couldn't afford groceries, I was motivated to spend hours stripping horse show stalls at $5/stall, but it wasn't a life path I wanted to stay on.

I find that when I'm super busy, I am more "motivated" - doesn't even matter why I'm super busy. So I have a lot on my plate, and it sort of forces me to get the work done because there is only so much time in a day.

The worst thing in school was spending 8 hours at the library and accomplishing nothing, then going home and trying to get something done in the remaining 4 hours. It was always better to go to the library until 4, then run off to the barn to ride, then cram in a bit more work before going to bed.

If you don't currently have riding as an option, what about taking a part-time job? You could use the money to take a lesson once in a while, or even treat yourself to something else. The additional structure in your schedule might help to "motivate" you, or at least force you to get stuff done when you need to.

redkat
Mar. 18, 2012, 04:36 PM
I think its a bit of a shame that so many younger people today have bought the idea that a job must be "awesomely fulfilling" and "express who you are". That's nice and all but it's also a trap for the unwary. A job doesn't need to make you happy, it just has to not-suck enough that you can live with it, and pay enough that you can live on it.


HelloAgain, this is so true. Thank you for saying this! You don't have to love what you do. No one wants to live to work. If you can get out of bed in the morning without a sense of dread, you're waaaaay ahead of a lot of people.

OP - Life is all about compromise. One of the most important lessons I've learned is that you have to think about what you want, not just what you want right now. And right now, you might not be wanting to push yourself towards a more lucrative career and are not finding it easy to stick with school, but later you might be angry at your 20ish-year old self for not taking the opportunity when you had it.

Stick it out and get your degree. Choose something with broad career possibilities, like business or English, and experiment using your elective classes or internships. Your first job doesn't have to be your forever job, but it will teach you what you do and do not want, and will help you narrow it down from there.

I sort of wandered through college at first as I've always had broad interests, but changed my major upon attending an elective class. Now I'm working in a field that directly relates to my degree and am actually very happy with my career. I'm not rolling in dough and chose to have my own place over riding, but I'm having a blast exploring other hobbies such as cycling. Life's a journey. My horse will come.

linquest
Mar. 18, 2012, 04:50 PM
I wish I could take a year off, just to sort myself out a bit, but my parents will not go for that. I hinted at it in an earlier conversation with them, and it escalated into an argument.

I would like to do something with horses now, be it lessons, or leasing, but thats a no go for my parents. They want me to take a BREAK break.

You're an adult now. Time to woman up and take ownership of your life. Your plan makes sense--why waste tuition money if you have no clue what you're supposed to be learning? There is no need to finish college all in one shot. Take a year off and "find yourself." I know it sucks not having your parents' support but they'll come around eventually. Trust me...my dad "disowned" me and my brother for a while when we went against his wishes in college, so I know what that's like.

Some good suggestions here for "lightweight jobs" that will earn you some money but give you time off to figure things out. If you're truly depressed not being involved with horses, why not be a working student for a while? Free lessons, hopefully free room and board.

mg
Mar. 18, 2012, 05:17 PM
That is what internships are for.

I totally agree with this! I had an internship the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years in college and ended up returning there to work after graduation. I never would have considered this field (and wouldn't have even known this kind of job existed!), but that immersion showed me that there are opportunities to advance to areas that really intrigue me.


I find that when I'm super busy, I am more "motivated" - doesn't even matter why I'm super busy. So I have a lot on my plate, and it sort of forces me to get the work done because there is only so much time in a day.

This rings true for me as well. When I was in school, I was able to maintain really good grades, but MAN I hated getting work done. It was like physical pain to study and write papers. I put off everything until the absolute last minute. It's amazing I did so well by just scraping by like that.

Now that I'm out of school, I'm very busy between my full-time job, caring for three horses, and riding. Stuff has to get done because I don't have the time to let it sit around and NOT get done. At work I'm overloaded and ridiculously busy, but that situation forces me to be incredibly productive. I don't have time to stay late and/or bring the work home to do on the weekends because I have other responsibilities.

I've also found that "real life" work is far easier for me to justify than schoolwork ever was. If I didn't get schoolwork done, I only suffered through a grade. However, if I do not complete my tasks at work or if I do them poorly, I ruin my chances for a raise or promotion and run the risk of being fired. The consequences are much greater with a real life job and therefore I'm never lazy like I was in school.

I would stop pressuring yourself to figure out what you want to be. I would venture a guess that the vast majority of people out there are not working in a field doing what they "wanted to be when they grew up."

Marengo
Mar. 18, 2012, 06:08 PM
You're an adult now. Time to woman up and take ownership of your life. Your plan makes sense--why waste tuition money if you have no clue what you're supposed to be learning? There is no need to finish college all in one shot. Take a year off and "find yourself." I know it sucks not having your parents' support but they'll come around eventually. Trust me...my dad "disowned" me and my brother for a while when we went against his wishes in college, so I know what that's like.

Some good suggestions here for "lightweight jobs" that will earn you some money but give you time off to figure things out. If you're truly depressed not being involved with horses, why not be a working student for a while? Free lessons, hopefully free room and board.

Hey OP, I totally thought the same as linquest when I read your post. You say you want to take a break from school and you want to ride, your parents say 'no' and in the next breath you say you're feeling unmotivated. That makes sense to me, who wants to live their life according to someone else's plan? Your parents probably have your best interests at heart, most people buy into the idea that staying in school=success automatically.

I don't think school is useless but I don't think it opens as many doors as people say, especially if you're not motivated to excel at whatever your focus is. If I were you I'd take a break but get some sort of job to fill your time and pay for a bit of riding, part lease, lessons or whatever. I actually loved the university/college experience but I found having a degree didn't help me in the real world. At best I think its a piece of paper to get your foot in the door but there are more ways than one to get a career going. My SO is quite successful and only has a high school degree, he was accepted into some good college programs but he kept putting it off as he had work opportunities at the time which led to what he's doing now.

Chin up OP, don't do something you're not into if there isn't some long term goal you're working towards.

Ainsley688
Mar. 18, 2012, 06:13 PM
There is nothing more motivating then having to work to pay the bills, lol! Go find a job you think you might be good at. Like talking to people? Go work as a counter person in a cafe or sandwich shop. Like to work hard and be outside? Go get a landscaping/gardening job. Like kids? Babysit.

You never know what kind of work you might like, and working one job will open many doors! Like other people have said, maybe try out a working student type of job, to see if you like working for no money, haha.

It's almost summer, so you would have that off, right? Maybe instead of taking a whole year off, take off the fall/winter semester, so you can keep working. There is no point in wasting your parents hard earned money, when you aren't sure what you want to do with it.

For me, working many jobs has opened my eyes to what I might like to do. I like gardening, and I love seeing a lawn mowed with perfectly straight lines when I'm done with it. I love chatting with people, so working in a cafe was awesome. I learned I love baking, so I could always try to find a job doing that.

Good luck, I hope you can figure things out!

Opus1
Mar. 18, 2012, 09:48 PM
I guess I'll just have to keep trudging on. It just feels so wasteful to be in school and not know what I'm doing. I feel as though I'm wasting money just jumping from major to major, still without success.

I would stay in school, major in something like business or economics or English, get your degree and get out. Explore other subjects via electives (and internships) while you're in college. And then know/realize you'll be doing even more exploring when you get out.

Because I walked away from college to 'figure things out' 13 years ago. I kept thinking and talking about going back, but life kept getting in the way. I got a real job, making decent money, got skin cancer, had to pay off the bills from that, etc.

And I *still* don't know exactly what I want to do with my life. But I now know several things I don't want to do now, so that's a start. I guess.

So, I'm at the point where I'm just going to say screw it, go back to college and get a Business-Economics-etc. degree and get on with it. Which is what I should have done 13 years ago. Because not only am I now burned out/not satisfied with my current job, but I can't just up and leave and find a similar-paying job since I don't have a degree.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have stuck it out and got the degree. Because really, a degree doesn't give you a job, it doesn't even give you an idea of what you should be doing, but it does give you options to better explore what you want to do. If that makes sense.

o0hawaiigirl0o
Mar. 20, 2012, 01:11 AM
Here's my two cents. I'm around your age and am on a non-traditional route in my life.
At this point in my life, I am young, am unattached to animals and people (only have my horse, who is currently in a stable leasing situation and my dog who lives with my family at home). The world is mine for the exploring and that is exactly what I am doing.

It just so happens that I am trying out this horse training thing first through an internship. I love it and I throw myself wholeheartedly into the work whether it is mucking a stall, fixing fence, sweeping, horse showing, or riding a Grand Prix dressage stallion.

I cannot make myself go to school and study things that I do not have passion for. Maybe that will change and maybe in a few years time you will find me in college. But right now, I do not want to spend my time doing things that I do not care for when I have the opportunity to go anywhere I wish and do things that I love doing.

I know the "smart" thing to do is get a career in some sort of business or health care thing and use that job to support my horse obsession. But that is not a sacrifice I am willing to make. I will not do something entirely unsuited to me (like nursing, for example), I will not hate my job in order to afford horses.

Again, my mind might change in the future. I have time for that. I have time for many things. Call me what you may, but I want to try them all.