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Madigan

Having trouble figuring out this whole "life" thing

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Hey, guys

I'm 19 years old, I joined the sky family in the summer of 2018, and I'm a freshman at the University of Illinois in Champaign. Life this fall has been... rough. I just don't have any confidence in anything. I don't know what I'm doing, why I'm doing it where I'm headed, any of it. I though at the end of this semester I'd feel like things were happening for me. I thought I'd feel like I had some dirrection. I thought I'd feel good about my life. I don't. I've been shaken to my core. I feel that I peaked in high school. Each day, I feel myself slipping further into the oblivion of mediocrity with every passing second. 

I used to feel like someone my family could be proud of. I just don't see anymore how anyone could be proud of what I am. I'm just sitting here taking my parents' money so I can go to class, to pick up homework, and pretend to be doing something

I don't know, I just don't see what the point is sometimes. Get a job, earn a living, buy a house, or whatever it might be. None of it makes any sense. I honestly don't know if I have what it takes to make it, or to be happy with what my life is. It feels like I'm just scraping by. 

Man, this first semester of college has just been rough. Everything is confusing. Nothing is clear, nothing makes sense right now. My destiny seems inevitable, inevitably bleak. I just don't know. 

This post actually ended up feeling a lot darker than I intended. The point I meant to get accross was that I just got to college and I'm really confused and lost now, and I wondered if anyone could relate. I don't know 

Blue Skies 

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damn.

I remember feeling some of those feelings back when I was in college. I so worried I wasn't going to be able to find a good job, and just get stuck doing something that I wouldn't like or wouldn't be good at, and spend life kinda miserable. So you are not alone in those worries.

But that didn't happen to me. I did get a good job, and I'm not miserable. 

As for what is the point of life, I still ask myself that question, but the answer I use is the point of life is to have fun and try to leave the world better than you found it.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, SethInMI said:

damn.

I remember feeling some of those feelings back when I was in college. I so worried I wasn't going to be able to find a good job, and just get stuck doing something that I wouldn't like or wouldn't be good at, and spend life kinda miserable. So you are not alone in those worries.

But that didn't happen to me. I did get a good job, and I'm not miserable. 

As for what is the point of life, I still ask myself that question, but the answer I use is the point of life is to have fun and try to leave the world better than you found it.

 

 

Thank you Seth. It feels really great just to hear from you. Means a lot to know that people are with me. 

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YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

 

You've taken a big step towards 'being an adult'. You are in an alien environment, one where you are a lot more on your own than you ever have been. Ever.


You are being forced to make long term decisions with significant consequences, perhaps not understanding what your goals are. 

And I'm going to guess that it sure seems like everyone else around you has all their shit together (helpful hint: They don't).

Toss in the fact that winter is almost here, the days are the shortest that the get (Seasonal Affective Disorder is very real) and add on the fact that you haven't jumped in a while and won't be able to for even longer, and depression (situational, not clinical) is a real possibility. 

 

Don't worry about that 'oblivion of mediocrity'. Even if you end up 'average', you'd still be better than half the people out there, right? 
Lots of people can find real joy in a humble life. 
Lots of things can make your family proud of you that don't involve 'commercial' success, big salaries, fancy houses & cars, ect. 
Find people you enjoy being with, things you enjoy doing, places you enjoy being. Try to avoid 'artificial joy', alcohol or drugs. They help for a bit, but not really. They are a poor substitute for real happiness. 
Not that you can't enjoy a beer or two under the right circumstances, but try not to use them to be happy by themselves.

Maybe get some real help. I'd bet there's some sort of basic counselling available for students either free or cheap for a couple sessions. Don't be afraid or ashamed of asking for help (you did it here). Even the strongest of us need help from time to time.

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In high school you were a bigger fish in a pretty small pond. All of a sudden there are a whole lot more people around, and it seems as though they're judging you. They're all looking at you, thinking you have your shit together and they don't.

College is to find out what you're interested in for your life; you can take classes to prepare for work, too, (and it's a good idea), but to me, it's really for you to explore ideas and things. You can't always work in what interests you, but you should be able to incorporate it into your life.

Few of us have a passion (just look at all the people who "discover their new passion of skydiving" on this website); I sure don't. But I have a lot of interests. My degree is in sociology, with a languages minor, and I ended up programming. My brother has two degrees -- one in music (with a year-long detour selling tires), and another in engineering. None of us settled on a career until we were 30 or so, but we're all successful now, and happy (I'm even retired).

Don't be in a hurry to be perfect. Fuck up in college some like I did xD, it's what it's for. 

And after your first job, no one cares where you went to undergrad or how you did except for the alumni committee.

Wendy P.

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brother, it is all about perspective.  the only one that counts is YOURS.  as was said, you have lots of reasons to feel great, not least of which is you are still alive.  as long as you keep that one true, you can work on everything else.  don't fall victim to the whims of society and try to live up to a picture you never wanted and can't sustain.  if you think college is tough, wait 'til the first dead end job that you can't pass up because you like to eat AND have electricity.  as long as nobody is bleeding out and there is no incoming fire, you have time to work on it.  we are all insignificant in the grand scheme of things from one perspective (universe scale), but we are also vital and irreplaceable when the perspective is changed (household scale).  you've already learned the second most important lesson also, don't give up.  applies to skydiving, as well as everything else, but especially in life.  it sounds like you need a few jumps, and i am headed up to michigan next week.  if you are up to it, i can stop in and jump with ya a few times and we can have a beer and talk a bit afterwards.  depression is a gnarly beast to face alone.

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14 hours ago, Madigan said:

I wondered if anyone could relate. I don't know 

I'm in my 40s, and I relate right now, lol.

I think it's really normal to get to college, where we thought as a kid everything would be amazing, and then feel, "shit. Is this it?"

I also think there's an expectation that you are supposed to have your life's path figured out at age 18, and progress linearly toward your Life's Purpose. That's pretty unfair. Your brain isn't even finished developing until your mid 20's. You will change your mind about... EVERYTHING hundreds of times over the course of your life, and that is completely normal.

Change your major. Take a year off to travel or work. Study something you love, AND something mundane that can earn you a living. Graduate (or don't!), then go back to school for something completely different, or learn a trade and work with your hands.

We're all just guessing, really, and that's the thing we have in common. Nobody (really) has it figured out, and it's a shame so many people pretend that they do. Because if we were all a little more honest, you might not feel so alone.

If you jump at Skydive Chicago, maybe I'll see you there next season. I'd be happy to chat with you about what it's like to reinvent many times in one lifetime, and still be like, "oh... it's like this now?" Lol. It's just a process. We are all here to help.

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College definitely isn't for everyone. Have you considered trade school or an apprentice program? Or how about the military? After 3 or 4 years in the service you will have learned a helluva lot about yourself and have a much clearer idea about what you want to do. In the meantime, whatever you are doing at the moment, give it your full attention and do the best job you can, whether it is class work or a part time job flipping burgers. If you focus on what you are doing NOW you will worry less about what you will do LATER. 

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Madigan... 

     I'm over 50... and one of the things that makes me most nervous is listening to someone tell me how they have it all figured out.  Do you know what you can teach someone who's got it all figured out...?  Not a damn thing. Where as someone who is teachable, never has to stop learning. If I thought there was a trick to all this, I'd say the trick was to learn to love learning. 

      I had to put booze down about the time I was 24. It was a problem for me. At 24, I wasn't a grownup and I wasn't a man. Not by any definition of those terms that I was able to articulate. I'm past that now and that particular story is perhaps long and boring to anyone not in a similar situation.  The point of THAT... is I believe I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I believe that today.

     I also believe that I'm gonna be fine. As long as I remember a few things. What those things are might vary a little from person to person.  What they are for you, I don't wanna speculate,  since we don't know each other. But I don't think you can't go too far wrong if you start with these 3 things;  1-try to remain teachable. If you have an interest in skydiving, I'd say that's a good start. Not because skydiving is great... tho I think it's pretty great myself and I'm pretty new to it.  But because I THINK there's a LOT to learn about it.   2- find the willingness to ask questions. There is nothing wrong with the answer "I don't know", and it's not a bad way to find out what you don't know.   3- happiness is an inside job. If I can't find a way to be happy on my own, no person and no thing is gonna do the job either.

 

     Last thing I'd like to say. I'm not sure about other families, but in my family I'd guess that what they find irreplaceable about me isn't any THING I'm outstanding at... except for maybe being me. No one else could do it nearly as well.

 

Blue skies sir. Hope to meet you up there sometime.

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You can't change what's happening, you can change how you think about it. Trite but true. Step back and think what you absolutely must do. Then think about what you enjoy (or have enjoyed) doing. Draw up a program that gives time for both. Follow the program and concentrate on the bit you're doing at the time. Use a timer and try not to be diverted till it rings. Then move to the next item on the program - it's valid to have 'go for a coffee / beer' as a program item. Aim is to focus on what you're doing, not on how you compare to others, or what others think. Won't work all the time but will create some impetus in life which will increase over time. Nearly everyone copes to a greater or lesser extent, you're very unlikely to be the exception. Also useful to access counselling services - just vocalising what you feel to another person often helps improve the perspective. (Speaking as someone battling a trauma-induced autoimmune disease which totally sucks out my energy and concentration, but determined that at some point I'm going to get back to real life. The above are the techniques I use to cope at the most basic level and to try and keep moving back to normality.)

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You're having a bout of Nihilism and it's no big deal, something that passes and comes and goes and comes back again and goes again.  It's part of passing through the years and trying to figure out why the fuck you're busting your ass just to uphold the premise of a normal life in which you're supposed to make money and do this and do that and then blink out of existence at a higher probability as a function of your age.  Hobbies, spontaneity and internet porn help.

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On 12/9/2019 at 4:45 PM, DJL said:

 Hobbies, spontaneity and internet porn help.

I'm no life coach, but having been a part of the "sky family" since the late 90's , If I could do it all over again, I'd live at the DZ packing chutes and work my way through until I achieved ALL the ratings.  This community is like no other. Mostly VERY supportive and willing to help whenever we can. 

Now about college, Spend that money elsewhere! ;)  Find what truly makes you happy and do it ALL the time! After breaking up with the Army after our 8+ year relationship I found two passions, skydiving and disc golf. After my separation I had NO skydiving gear and no really close DZ's to visit. However, I did have an amazing selection of disc golf courses to choose from AND many mentors and the drive to play (a lot) and become great at it. After just a couple/few years I was competing with the big dogs and really found my place in the universe. 

And then after a ten year hiatus from skydiving my interest got renewed with watching wingsuiters. I now find myself married with children, have a nice home, still jump, still play DG and found my career in the fire service from which I hope to retire from in a couple years.   

FIND YOUR PASSION!  Also, try to forget about everyone else and there perception of you and what THEY expect. It's YOUR life, live it the way YOU want.  

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On 12/14/2019 at 8:52 PM, timski said:

Now about college, Spend that money elsewhere!

I disagree.  There's no other time like when you just got done with high school to continue academics.  That's not to say to get a degree in some bullshit, if you're doing well in school then do the college thing.  It's money in the bank and never in your life will you be able to pursue the quality of college undergrad degree that you can straight out of high school.  If you're not doing well in school then join the military and get that GI bill for something useful when you get out, there's not greater opportunity to get a good education AND you'll be a little older and wiser about hitting the books.  Any other path has you doing twice the work and needing double the luck.  Yes, I know there are allegories out there about people who don't need none of that college boy bullshit.

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2 hours ago, DJL said:

There's no other time like when you just got done with high school to continue academics

just want to say... I went to college straight out of high school and was a pretty terrible student even in subjects I understood well and enjoyed (I did still finish). I went BACK to school in my 30's studying something completely different and was a far better student having learned through experience to persevere at difficult, unpleasant tasks. Being a non-traditional student was an extraordinarily rewarding experience for me.

And my mom got her bachelor's degree at age 60! Maybe it runs in the family.... :)

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First, I want to say that there are probably so many Freshmen around the world who have the exact same feelings that you do. That first year in college is tough, but it's a good life lesson in perseverance. You're going to need that coping skill your entire life, so now is a good time to learn it.

I've never heard a person say, "I wish I wasn't so darn educated". Since you have the opportunity to get educated at someone else's expense, do it! Also, give your mom and dad a big hug and tell them you love them for giving you that opportunity! Now, if you really feel guilty about "wasting" their money, you can look for ways to save. Is there a good Community College near you that you can transfer to? That could save them a lot of money, especially if  you moved back home and got a part time job or internship at a workplace that interests you. Those first two years of college are basically the same classes everywhere. You can earn an AA or AS degree and then transfer to an university to finish your degree. 

Also, take the opportunity to take new classes to try to find what interests you. There are free counselors at your school to help you find your way. Adulting is hard, you have a pass for four years to not have to full-time adult yet. In the very least, stick it out for another semester, and see if you feel the same way in May.

Enjoy your Christmas break!

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I think what you are going thru is something most if not all of us go thru.

I can still remember my first week of college, I hated it. I didn't know anyone, none of my friends went to college right after graduating so I found myself "alone" even with all the support my family was giving me. I ended up ditching after my first semester, budget travelled for 5 months across Europe. That gave me some life experience and thought me about being comfortable alone and in a unfamiliar (sometimes dangerous) setting.

I ended up going back to school, having SOME life experience and most importantly being comfortable being uncomfortable.

The best advice I can give you is to focus on you and stop having this picture in your head of where you should be in life, comparing to others. Some will get there way before us and some will get there way after us. The main part is that you are enjoying the process.

Just like skydiving, some get skills right off the bat, some work hard(er), some give up, some persevere until they reach their goals, its all about the journey. Sometimes I look back and think "how the f**k did I make it this far with my life ?!" I remember it like yesterday and it was 14 years ago. 

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On 12/20/2019 at 12:03 PM, Nabz said:

I think what you are going thru is something most if not all of us go thru.

I can still remember my first week of college, I hated it. I didn't know anyone, none of my friends went to college right after graduating so I found myself "alone" even with all the support my family was giving me. I ended up ditching after my first semester, budget travelled for 5 months across Europe. That gave me some life experience and thought me about being comfortable alone and in a unfamiliar (sometimes dangerous) setting.

I ended up going back to school, having SOME life experience and most importantly being comfortable being uncomfortable.

The best advice I can give you is to focus on you and stop having this picture in your head of where you should be in life, comparing to others. Some will get there way before us and some will get there way after us. The main part is that you are enjoying the process.

Just like skydiving, some get skills right off the bat, some work hard(er), some give up, some persevere until they reach their goals, its all about the journey. Sometimes I look back and think "how the f**k did I make it this far with my life ?!" I remember it like yesterday and it was 14 years ago. 

Excellent response. 

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