Or: In Which I Make Myself Entirely Unappealing in my First Post to This Forum.
I'm almost done with my first year of college. Overall, I hate it. So here are some of my thoughts. I'm not looking for advice so much as trying to explain why I feel the way I do, and see if anybody felt the same way. But if you think you have something wise to offer, say it, as long as it's not "Just try to have a more positive attitude," which I have now been told an absurd number of times.
So you know where I'm coming from, I went to a (by conventional standards) really good private high school, and am now going to a pretty good university. I stopped liking school in 4th grade, began hating in in 10th. Junior year I found out about unschooling, which I'm now forever bitter I didn't get to experience.
I began college in a special program in which you create your own major. I realized immediately that I hated it. I thought that that freedom would solve the things that I hated about high school, but it didn't—the problem is that it requires you to still idealize formal education. That's why I now think progressive education can be worse than traditional, because it expects you to have an emotional investment in school and tries to make you feel guilty if you don't. I decided I wanted something more mechanical that I could succeed in without believing in it, so I transferred to my large university's regular liberal arts program and am now majoring in art history.
I love art history, but the real reason I decided to major in it was because it's straightforward. Memorizing dates, I thought, would be easier than writing papers. The first art history test I had, I got 100%. Since then I haven't gotten above a B+ on a test, since I just can't get myself to study anymore. That happens to me sometimes: knowing I can do something makes it impossible. But that only works as an excuse for a few times; if knowing I can do something causes me to fail at it, presumably I shouldn't be so sure I can do things anymore, and therefore should no longer have that problem.
There is not a single paper I've written all year that I did not write entirely the night before. At 2 am, with 12 pages of my 12 page paper left to write, I can't think about the paper. Usually I spend that time trying to justify dropping out somehow; I've looked into professional certificates but that seems like a bad idea. By the next day, if the paper's finally done, I've usually decided dropping out is a bad idea, until the next time I have to write a paper, when I have another crisis.
I did, however, begin researching for my biggest paper far in advance. If I give myself the time, I do too much research, because I enjoy that. I just hate writing.
I've developed a pathological need to read on my own; that is, I do tons of unrequired reading but hate or just don't to the required reading. I love literature but hate taking literature classes, so I'll always read that on my own. But with nonfiction stuff—art history articles—I would enjoy reading it if I had chosen to read it on my own, but simply the fact that I'm being forced to do it makes me dislike it, which is definitely just a petty thing I do, but I still can't exactly accept that that pettiness is really a flaw.
Having come in with a year's worth of AP credits, I can easily graduate in 3 years. I'm planning on taking classes for 2 summers, which is equivalent to one semester. So, with the first year over, I have one and a half years left. I feel like I can't handle even that much more. As I get closer to the end of this year, the further I actually feel from the end, because I just think how short the summer will be and how soon I'll be back at school doing what I hate again.
I hate academic writing, which is reasonable, but I hate creative writing too, which doesn't make a lot of sense, because I want to write novels. I have stories in my head that I've been thinking about for years, always developing them. I think they're good enough that I want to write them down in order to share them, but I hate the actual writing process. I have such a clear idea in my head that the work of writing it down is just pure drudgery, like washing dishes.
One of my writing teachers (this was for the academic type of writing) who liked me a lot, when I told him I always hate writing classes, suggested it's because I'm too good a writer. I occasionally have teachers do this to me. Most don't, but every once in a while one of them really likes me a lot more than I deserve, for reasons I can't understand; sometimes their praise has seemed even obsequious to me.
The majority of my teachers, I think, see me as smart but unexceptional, or smart but lazy. I had more of a reputation for being one of the smart kinds in my small high school than in my large college, and to be honest, I'm starting to miss it, even though I hated those other smart kinds and didn't really want to be one of them.
I really liked math and science in high school. I thought calculus was fun. Now, since AP credit gets me out of it, I probably won't take and math or science classes in college. Sometimes I wonder if I should have majored in physics, but I really have no desire to be a scientist—it just would have made my life easier while I was still in school. I prefer math in school, but in real life I prefer art and literature.
For college advising in high school, I was supposed to say what 3 accomplishments I'm most proud of. I could not come up with anything. I certainly have traits and habits that I'm proud of, but nothing that could be called an accomplishment. I think I just don't believe in accomplishments.
I like having money, but I don't want to do anything that would make me money. So, unrealistic as it is, I just keep dreaming about magically acquiring enough money to live comfortably and never work. Sometimes I think I should try to just marry into it but I can't even be realistic about that—I want to marry a man I love who happens to be rich, not marry a man because he's rich. I really do want the idiotic fairy tale romance, except that the guy I have in mind is a lazy cynic who hates people as much as I do.
I absolutely cannot imagine finding a job that I enjoy. The best I believe I can hope for is one that I don't entirely hate. Specifics I can live with: working 9 to 5 in something that doesn't take a lot of brain power or require dealing with lots of people, something I can forget about as soon as I go home for the day, while making enough money to have a new (if small) apartment and be able to go shopping when I feel like it.
I feel like I'm still 16 because, despite moving across the country and no longer living with my parents, I don't feel like my life has changed at all since I was 16.
I've been told, or fell like people have been thinking, lately, that I want to have my cake and eat it too. Any time I complain to somebody about something, they tell me things like, "With circumstances XYZ, your options are A, B, or C," but I can't get beyond the fact that XYZ are wrong and I shouldn't have to accept them.
If I were to sum up why I hate my life right now, it's this: I feel like I have no control over my life and like I have never had any control over it. I feel like my life so far has been wasted for me by other people.