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Just a few thoughts

Posted by The Present Automaton , Nov 30 2012 · 186 views

Does anyone else ever get those times when they fear they've bet on the wrong horse, per se? I occasionally wonder whether I was right to put all my points into the arts. Its a wonderful subject and an excellent tool for studying the progression of human culture through time but then thats all literature and cinema really are, as well as, of course entertainment for the masses. Every now and then Ill consider the other options I could have taken in life and feel the occasional sting of regret. How different would things be if Id taken a science into my A Levels? Or maths? I guess theyre not things Ive always held close to my heart but Ive never been bad at them. Just not all that motivated. Would I have been able to stay interested all the way through the two years necessary to get a halfway decent qualification in them?

Its really just curiosity I guess. Maybe I should stop watching so many documentaries about the workings of our universe or reading so many novels that praise the power of mathematics (Curse you The Devotion of Suspect X for planting the seed of doubt). And theres nothing to keep  me from doing that. Theres no reason I cant pick up some books on the subjects I want to learn about next time Im in Waterstones, and then revise from them to the point where I can recite each one word for word until Im blue in the face, but then what would be the point? It gives me the power to say that I can do so but my knowledge will always be lacking. Compared to a student of Physics, itd be laughable to say that Im knowledgeable on the subject.
Of course, the reason for my wondering is that Im unsure if its too late to change the direction of my life. Im on my way to finishing my A2 levels and with any luck, next year Ill be well away to University wherever thatll be and my only option for any of those will be related to Literature, English Language or Film Studies. And theyre ultimately all rather similar. It would appear that unless I abandon ship and spend the rest of my life working in a shop then I am destined to have a job in either the media or the arts, both of which are tightropes underneath which is a net filled with likeminded people who thought they had a chance to make it. Im interested now in other subjects but at this stage its far too late. I may want to study Physics but Ive already thrown in my lot. I may want to fill my head with formulae and equations but in the end theres little to no point as any hypothetical degree I receive in University, should I make it, will always say English and thats what everyone will read.
But I guess this is just related to a problem of my own. My English Language teacher (Not the one I refer to as the ice queen, who informed me I have no chance) reported a similar concern once, though not for as overarching a subject. They said that I have a tendency to spread myself too thinly across too many subjects and there certainly is no way for me to deny this. Its the same tendency thats inspiring me to improve my drawing skills (which isnt going that great, thanks for asking), to learn how to play the piano and even to simply train my left hand for writing. The same tendency that makes me want to study politics, law and classical history. That makes me want to continue learning French, Spanish and Japanese until I finally understand how I'm meant to hold an entire second language in my head. I distract myself with aspirations and when I realise theyre fruitless goals I grow frustrated.
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In other news: Oh bugger, I think the depression symptoms of my medication are kicking in. 

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I've been feeling that way this semester. I had thought that Industrial Design was the ideal major for me, and transferred from another college to my current one because it seemed like the best school for me. But I've suffered from a constant stream of failures since then, and it'll be harder to transfer anywhere else since not many of my credits from my previous college transferred here, so I've lost a lot of my liberal arts credits. The way I see it, though, you can't lose what you've learned even if you have nothing left to show for it. My current plan is to see if another major at this school might fit me better.

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The Lord Of Wednesday
Nov 30 2012 02:10 PM

I know what you mean about college classes, I am lucky enough to have some breathing room in that I was going to get a Liberal Arts Degree and then switch to my main degree. However I am not sure what I want with my main degree.


As for you, I would suggest sticking with what you like more. Sounds obvious, but I am sure you know the consequences of going with what you are not interested in. Learning languages is cool, and is something I do on my free time, unless you want to have some sort of academic recognition for it or similar, then you may just want to do it on your free time. I personally use software that was only about 25 USD and it works fine, along with other free resources. Also I think there are tests you can take that prove you know the language in an official sense if you don't take it in a school, at least, I think this is true in America.

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Queen of Liars
Nov 30 2012 02:29 PM

I get that fairly often, especially having started university, doing a course that isn't what I really want to do. Not that I don't like Law, I think it's really interesting and I am enjoying the course, but what I really wanted to do was Sociology. However, as far as career paths go, Sociology is a dead end, so Law was the only viable option. But I don't really dwell on what could have been, instead I try to focus on what is and what can be.


I don't think it's too late to change where you want to go. Many universities offer foundation courses, and there are also conversion courses. If after three years of doing Literature you decide it's not for you, you can always convert to a Law degree. And be loathed by all the third year law students :P Although you probably wouldn't be able to go for the Physics or Maths end of the academic spectrum.


As far as learning about other things that you're interested in, why should not getting a degree in it (unless it's a career thing) or not being as good at it as those who sepcialise in it stop you? If you want to pick up a physics book and learn about quantum physics, go for it. What matters is that you're content with yourself on it.

I, for example, spent a lot of time learning sleight of hand and mentalism, reading books on them and practicing them. I'll never be able to apply sleight of hand as well as Ricky Jay, or mentalism as well as Derren Brown, but I'm content with understanding them and having fulfilled my interest in them. Or for a more relevant example, I did an AS in Physics purely because I was fascinated by the subject, despite having no plans on having a career in it or even academically studying it further. And while my classmates who stuck with it for A2 and university are way more knowledgeable in it, I'm still fulfilled with what I learned and could still have a good conversation about it with them.

I think that the knowledge and skills you actually have and pursue because you're interested in them are more important than a piece of paper which merely says that you do. Of course this is all in regards to personal fulfillment. As far as qualifications and careers go, it's unfortunately much more limited. But that shouldn't stop you from pursuing what you are interested in, alongside your career choice.


Sorry for the long and possibly incoherent comment :P

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False life of the automaton

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