Author Topic: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??  (Read 1213 times)

zachfiles

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Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« on: October 12, 2017, 02:47:21 PM »
Hi fellow Mustachians!
I feel so lucky to have stumbled across this site before making any major life decisions and at such a young age, I'm absorbing all the advice like a sponge. But I need help!! In 8 short months I will be graduating high school and I don't really know what I'm going to do. I don't like the idea of committing time and money to a 4 year university without a good idea of where I am headed. I am interested in business, specifically in entrepreneurship, and not opposed to going into the trades. I dont like the idea of a desk job behind a computer all day and I enjoy working with my hands. I know there are numerous advantages and disadvantage in going to college or any of its alternatives but I still can't decide. Oh and I am an Eagle Scout, have good work ethic , get good grades, practical and optimistic, basically what Im trying to say is while I dont know much, I do understand some of what it takes to be successful and fulfilled.
So I ask if you would please answer a few questions to give me more things to consider :)
What did you do at this point in your life? What would you do the same and what would you do differently?
What would you recommend I do so as to not waste time and money? Any other advice is appreciated!
Thanks much , Zach

pbkmaine

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 03:00:48 PM »
Is there a college or university that will give you a full scholarship?

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 03:44:26 PM »
Don't get married, and don't get someone pregnant.

Do be smart with your body. Lift with your legs, drink lots of water, try not to drink or eat to excess.

Don't be obsessed with investment returns. Invest in yourself, get some real skills, then start making money, then save a bunch of it. You have plenty of time to research different types of investments and places to put your money.

Do work hard at work and at school.

Do get an internship in your desired field as soon as possible. This will be the best way to get a job in that field when you graduate.

Don't major in something stupid, unless you have a trust fund and have more money than you know what to do with. Don't pick sociology, psychology, a language, or an art. Computer science, accounting, nursing, engineering are good places to start looking.

Do go to class. You may be smart and college professors usually don't care if you show up, but remember what you're paying for.

Don't forget to have fun. I had fun, and made memories, and travelled, and made mistakes, all of which shaped me into who I am today. You're in the unique position of figuring out the "math" of retiring early, so just try to balance your version of fun with lifestyle inflation/peer pressure as you grow up. Don't let other people drive your behavior. Be yourself, find your niche and run with it. Good luck!

mozar

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 03:54:22 PM »
Consider aptitude testing. There are things that you will enjoy more than others. It may feel expensive up front (around 500), but it's worth avoiding years of misery in a field you are not suited for.
Embracing the absurd condition of human existence while also defiantly continuing to explore and search for meaning

Bicycle_B

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2017, 05:27:33 PM »
Consider being an electrician. 

You would get to:

-Use your hands
-Use your brain
-Learn enough trade skills to get an edge in real estate investing (maybe)
-Have a shot at good pay
-Have a shot at starting your own business

If you're interested in working with your hands, please be aware that that doesn't last forever.  Do save and invest your money, because your body will break down before you reach a traditional retirement age.  Consider trades that relate to contracting.  Learn enough business skills to be a contractor, so that when you are tired of banging your aching knees on hard floors, you can hire young people to do it while you train them and make business deals, applying your hard-won knowledge.

As much as you stand to do so, gain business education as well as trade skills, to prepare for those later roles as contractor or manager.  Perhaps you should work in trades or outdoor jobs while also getting a business degree.  If you really want to be outdoors, line operator for an electrical company is an achievable goal, but at least take community college business classes and if possible use them as a base for a business degree as well as your trade certification.

PS.  I propose electrician because it's more respected and less dirty than other trades, and you get paid for the danger of handling deadly electricity.  But plumbers have total independence if you like getting dirty. 

An alternate approach:  Watch 10 episodes of "Dirty Jobs" and find the people near you who do similar things.  Interview them, tag along for a day, learn by observation which jobs look fun.  Meet people and explore.  Learn!  And include those electricians on your list.  Plus some contractors.  Maybe interview your local solar installers, get a summer job with them while you take classes and look for a tradesman to work with/for.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 05:31:15 PM by Bicycle_B »

FIREySkyline

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 05:53:48 PM »
You probably still can't go wrong with an engineering degree (Electrical, Computer, etc.) or even Comp Sci. You can do a ton with those that won't necessitate sitting behind a desk working for someone else... BUT, you can gain way more skills just DOING those than you'll likely get with a college degree. You have to be motivated, though. Check out Coursera.org and see if you find anything that interests you and start learning something if you don't do college right away. Never stop learning and reading.

Evgenia

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 06:11:51 PM »
Congratulations! I'm envious. I sure do wish a substantial, informative Internet had been around when I was your age. ;)

It sounds like a possible approach might be to try a college (whether community college or traditional four year) that would allow you to structure a program in which you can explore different trades, and possibly also gather credits for subsequent academic study you might like to do.

If you're a curious person (as many Mustachians seem to be), it may be difficult to choose "one" way to make money because there's nothing that's not interesting, whether nursing, soil science, animal health, plumbing fixtures, philosophy, math, etc. That's a fact of life, I think. You'll probably always learn and try new things. I wish I'd realized this about myself sooner, somehow, because I would have been less afraid of making choices: making one choice for a while does not mean forever.

And, whatever people may say, just remember: There's always someone making a living at the very thing someone said you can't make a living at. I'm 40 now and MARVEL at all of the people I know who make a living on things our culture says you can't: commercial acting, wood carving, restoring old homes, making surfboards, fighting fires, being park rangers, being river guides, being hunting guides, cooking, writing, customizing motorcycles, doing ranch work. I never would have done or achieved most of the things I have if I'd listened to other people, and neither would they. Most grown-ups have no direct experience with the things they'll advise you against, so just ignore them and keep on. :)
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justchecking

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 06:34:41 PM »
I think the most important question here is where do you live?  At this point in my life I realized that I could travel, gain experience, and save money by being smart and calculated. I would suggest coming from a position of strength and at least coming up with a five year plan.  I also want to echo the advice on love and marriage.  Wait Wait and Wait.  It is so worth it to find yourself and then someone who shares what you want in life. PM if you want more specific advice.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2017, 06:47:33 PM »
Lots of good advice here and if your read the MMM articles, youíll get and believe all the FI stuff. Careers are really individual. Yes, you can be strategic but I think what you learn here is that you can have almost any career and be FI if you keep your expenses sensible, donít get into debt (or have a plan for it) and you make yourself as self-sufficient as possible.

Generally though, my advice to people your age is: use condoms (birth control),donít take up cigarettes and see the world. You could always spend a year or two working in different places throughout the world, there are lots of visas and programs for this. This will open your mind and expose you to more people and ideas. Youíll work in different environments, you might learn a language, youíll build resilience, which every entrepreneur needs. You will lose nothing.  Again, wear condoms please.

Check out: http://www.popupbusinessschool.co.uk/


Good luck!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 07:08:16 PM by MrThatsDifferent »

FIREySkyline

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2017, 06:58:38 PM »
Lots of talk about condoms. You could also take the less selfish road and try abstinence. Everyone acts like sex is just good fun that you'll regret not having. It's not. Casual sex is like licking the icing off someone else's cake. It's not good for anyone. The idea that you "can" do what you want while you're young and single is just selfishness, there's no sense or moral ground behind it. Think about it like a true mustachian (and no, not necessarily Pete's view on the subject), does it actually make my life better, or do I just want it?

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2017, 07:06:21 PM »
Lots of talk about condoms. You could also take the less selfish road and try abstinence. Everyone acts like sex is just good fun that you'll regret not having. It's not. Casual sex is like licking the icing off someone else's cake. It's not good for anyone. The idea that you "can" do what you want while you're young and single is just selfishness, there's no sense or moral ground behind it. Think about it like a true mustachian (and no, not necessarily Pete's view on the subject), does it actually make my life better, or do I just want it?

Abstinence is always an option. So is masturbating, but Iím sure youíre already really accomplished with that.

FIREySkyline

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2017, 07:34:23 PM »
Lots of talk about condoms. You could also take the less selfish road and try abstinence. Everyone acts like sex is just good fun that you'll regret not having. It's not. Casual sex is like licking the icing off someone else's cake. It's not good for anyone. The idea that you "can" do what you want while you're young and single is just selfishness, there's no sense or moral ground behind it. Think about it like a true mustachian (and no, not necessarily Pete's view on the subject), does it actually make my life better, or do I just want it?

Abstinence is always an option. So is masturbating, but Iím sure youíre already really accomplished with that.
Here's is the kind of comment that concedes its position has no moral high ground so it delves directly to insulting the opposing viewpoint. Completely counterproductive, unhelpful, and preventing productive discourse and good will between parties. The opposite of classy, but, given the viewpoint represented, that was a given.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2017, 07:40:21 PM »
Just read your questions again and realized that I ignored half of them.  Sorry!

Re experience: 

I tried working in restaurants.  It's good to spend some time, even if just summer time, working in a job... even if you find out it's not a job you like.

The first chance I got, I tried several different jobs - lab tech, computer person, sales rep, office clerk/accounting tech, camp kitchen worker.  All added to my experience.  When there was a chance to something that was chaotic and vague (in my case helping over the weekend at an overworked little restaurant, and working in a construction company where half the office got fired) I worked really hard and was rewarded by being promoted.  Thus I doubled my income.

When I had business ideas, I didn't follow up on them.  Follow up on them.

You sound focused but possibly panicked.  Focus is fine, panic not a good permanent state, but at least turn it into action.  Proceed as calmly and enjoyably as possible.  Re focus, remember to develop people skills.  Every job and business will involve other people, so learn as much about them and how to handle them as you can.

To that end - if you can stand to do it, keep a diary of:

your successes;
your problems, and how you solved them, including where you found ideas advice - note the steps as well as the solutions;
ways that people treated other people well, or things that people liked;
ways that you treated people well;
things that other people did well;
systems that someone put in place that worked well.

Mostly this diary will sharpen your eye for important things that you would otherwise miss.  However, it will also help you with your people skills, both as employee and future manager/entrepreneur.  This is all part of what I wish I did better.  I did have a friend who kept a diary of work solutions.  He gradually learned to double the productivity of a work team, and was well compensated for doing so.  Plus your stories of problem solving and accomplishment will make you sound very good in interviews. Later you will be ready to gain the trust of clients by your competence.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 08:42:23 PM by Bicycle_B »

Johnez

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2017, 10:34:46 PM »

So I ask if you would please answer a few questions to give me more things to consider :)
What did you do at this point in your life? What would you do the same and what would you do differently?
What would you recommend I do so as to not waste time and money? Any other advice is appreciated!
Thanks much , Zach

You sound like you've a good head on your shoulders.

At this point in my life I was exactly in your situation. Almost a decade later-I've made almost zero progress. Learn from me.

DON'T feel you have to rush into "making money." I went out and got a job. I went to school too. Without any sort of direction, I got bored-dropped the school and kept the job. A big mistake. What I should have done is taken my father up on his offer to stay home rent free and find a major or some direction and plow my energies into that. All the money I made was pissed away. The time wasted I can't get back.

So, you don't know what you want to do? Make it your job to find the direction. Talk to people who know you well, teachers, relatives, older friends of your family and explain your situation. Your situation is EXACTLY the kind that older adults love to lend a hand in. These are the kind of people who notice your character traits and can provide a starting point.

Say you've got a good well mannered demeanor and can explain things well-your uncle just might know of a sales position at the local furniture store. An opportunity opens up. I know I said not to rush into money making, but being exposed to opportunity without the "need" to make money right away will let you consider if that kind of career suits you.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2017, 01:59:16 AM »
Lots of talk about condoms. You could also take the less selfish road and try abstinence. Everyone acts like sex is just good fun that you'll regret not having. It's not. Casual sex is like licking the icing off someone else's cake. It's not good for anyone. The idea that you "can" do what you want while you're young and single is just selfishness, there's no sense or moral ground behind it. Think about it like a true mustachian (and no, not necessarily Pete's view on the subject), does it actually make my life better, or do I just want it?

Abstinence is always an option. So is masturbating, but Iím sure youíre already really accomplished with that.
Here's is the kind of comment that concedes its position has no moral high ground so it delves directly to insulting the opposing viewpoint. Completely counterproductive, unhelpful, and preventing productive discourse and good will between parties. The opposite of classy, but, given the viewpoint represented, that was a given.

WTF are you talking about? I didnít insult your view. He has options, we all do: have sex, donít or masturbate. There is nothing shameful about sex or masturbation or abstenience. Most who abstain as adults do it for religious reasons, which we have no indication of here.  If he wants to have sex who whomever, however many times, there is nothing wrong with that. If so, be safe and donít make babies you donít want. Or jerk off. Or do nothing. Heís an adult, all options are on the table.

marty998

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2017, 02:10:05 AM »
At your point in life I wanted to do either medicine or actuarial. I didn't get into medicine, started actuarial but switched to accounting and finance after 1 year in. I then also switched to part time study and worked full time in industry. I am lucky in that I've been happy to be an accountant ever since, so no expensive re-training required.

Would I do it differently? Yes - I would have taken more time to enjoy uni/college. There's no need to get a full time job before you finish studying - the extra income I earned was all lost in the 2008 market crash anyway :)

I spent most of the time either at work, or studying or travelling to and from those things. I had very little social/leisure time, and consequently had very few friends by the end of it.

Optimising your time and money will only work if you pick a specialist degree in a field you will then go on to get employment in. It's very difficult at your age to know exactly what you want, because as you say you haven't experienced the world out there.

Have you thought about construction or civil engineering?

Lots of talk about condoms. You could also take the less selfish road and try abstinence. Everyone acts like sex is just good fun that you'll regret not having. It's not. Casual sex is like licking the icing off someone else's cake. It's not good for anyone. The idea that you "can" do what you want while you're young and single is just selfishness, there's no sense or moral ground behind it. Think about it like a true mustachian (and no, not necessarily Pete's view on the subject), does it actually make my life better, or do I just want it?

Abstinence is always an option. So is masturbating, but Iím sure youíre already really accomplished with that.
Here's is the kind of comment that concedes its position has no moral high ground so it delves directly to insulting the opposing viewpoint. Completely counterproductive, unhelpful, and preventing productive discourse and good will between parties. The opposite of classy, but, given the viewpoint represented, that was a given.

WTF are you talking about? I didnít insult your view. He has options, we all do: have sex, donít or masturbate. There is nothing shameful about sex or masturbation or abstenience. Most who abstain as adults do it for religious reasons, which we have no indication of here.  If he wants to have sex who whomever, however many times, there is nothing wrong with that. If so, be safe and donít make babies you donít want. Or jerk off. Or do nothing. Heís an adult, all options are on the table.

Ahhh yeah... you did throw an insult in there. See bolded bit, the meaning of that is pretty obvious. I don't agree with the viewpoint that casual sex is selfish or not good for anyone, but there are ways of disagreeing with that viewpoint without calling someone a wanker.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2017, 04:01:31 AM »
Huh? I wasnít calling FirebySkyline a wanker, I was talking to the kid. I was saying, yes, abstinence is an option. But so is jerking off, but Iím sure youíre already good at jerking off, cause, you know, thatís what teen boys do. Anyways, none of this goes to the OPís post.

former player

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2017, 04:19:10 AM »
To answer your questions, your age, I went straight to college.  It worked out well for me, and I would do the same again.

The circumstances?  I grew up poor.  And I had a weekend/holiday job that was long hours, physical outside work and poor pay.  I saw a revolving cast of slightly older people doing that work full time and saw their poor living conditions and lack of prospects.  I had the brains and impetus to go to college and qualify for a professional job and did it.

Would I do anything differently?  I regret a bit that I missed out on some of the experiences other people have when young: travelling, concerts, festivals, and so on.  But given my circumstances they mostly weren't realistic at that time, and I've done a fair bit of making up since.

As to recommending what you should do, you are maybe suffering from having too much choice?  Which is not a bad thing.  And really, you probably can't make any really bad choices at this point: you have youth, health, education and I'm assuming a US passport: the world is your oyster.

The mustachian would say: if you can put some money into tax free index funds in the years before you get to 21, then it does not need to be much in order to be very valuable to you at a later age: if you could put just a few thousand into tax free index funds then by your early 20s you could have a modest old age pension already funded.  You are actually in a better position to start saving for a pension now than you may be later because you haven't had time to run up any debt that you need to pay off first.

If you are interested in travel, there are working holiday options in places like Australia and New Zealand which are on visas limited to people under the age of 26 or so.  You get to travel and work, and find out a lot about yourself and the world.
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

chasesfish

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2017, 05:27:32 AM »
The best advice I got at 18:

- Work hard
- Spend less than you make (and invest the different)
- Eat reasonably healthy food
- Exercise

You'll be better off than 90%+ of the entire population.  Success will find you
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FLBiker

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2017, 07:36:32 AM »
While I agree with folks that it probably isn't worth it to go into debt for an impractical degree, I majored in English lit (school was free because dad worked there, and folks paid room and board).  I used that degree to get a teaching job in Taiwan (5 years) then I went to grad school for teaching English as a second language and got a job in China (1 year).  Now I work in admin at a US University.  While it's tightened up a bit, I feel like the job market in ESL / EFL is still pretty good.  That said, I think engineering / the trades are great options.

I also agree with the general life advice -- eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep.  For years (my 20s) I thought that didn't apply to me.  While I didn't suffer any major health consequences, I've certainly learned that those things are common sense for a reason. :)

Dicey

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2017, 08:31:32 AM »
Amidst the superfluous chatter there's some excellent advice being offered here. I second the advice to attend Junior College. Take anything that interests you. Do some fun stuff. Save some money. Invest it in low-cost index funds. Save some more money. Invest it in yourself. Travel a bit, if you can. You'll be fine. I never did figure out exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I set and achieved goals all along the way. I got to FIRE and realized that's what I really wanted. Okay, I actually knew I wanted to be FIRE all along, but wasn't sure it was possible. Life is great now, and nobody cares if I have an AA, a BS, an MBA, or any other advanced degree, least of all me.

P.S. Avoid every kind of sukka consumer debt. And go devour JLCollinsnh's Stock Series asap. It's life-changing.
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FIREySkyline

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2017, 09:02:11 AM »
Huh? I wasnít calling FirebySkyline a wanker, I was talking to the kid. I was saying, yes, abstinence is an option. But so is jerking off, but Iím sure youíre already good at jerking off, cause, you know, thatís what teen boys do. Anyways, none of this goes to the OPís post.
Completely misunderstood how that was directed. My apologies. Sorry for the tangent, OP, this is a good thread.

dcozad999

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2017, 01:07:05 PM »
Huh? I wasnít calling FirebySkyline a wanker, I was talking to the kid. I was saying, yes, abstinence is an option. But so is jerking off, but Iím sure youíre already good at jerking off, cause, you know, thatís what teen boys do. Anyways, none of this goes to the OPís post.
Completely misunderstood how that was directed. My apologies. Sorry for the tangent, OP, this is a good thread.

Lol. I think most of us took it the way FIREySkyline did. Good to know it was just a misunderstanding.

While I'm not a fan of the judgmental attitudes that seemingly pervade this site, the community does a really good job of avoiding the insults and personal attacks that infect many forums.

dollabillz

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2017, 01:33:30 PM »
OP, as an early 30's something I find that the older I get the more I realize that there are millions of ways to accomplish what you want to do in life...its a matter of really thinking about what you want and figuring out ways to accomplish that.  Then taking concrete steps to get there with the help of your network of peers/family/friends and the wonderful world of the internet.  I think that this forum is proof of that.  The thing that I will stress is that you need to be a "do"er and be proactive about things in your own life.  And realize that if you "follow the herd" you will most likely just be part of the herd.  I love the suggestion above about reaching out and doing job shadows.  It might seem awkward to blindly reach out to random people but trust me those are the small things that will separate you from the rest who just expect something to come their way.  Follow your passions, work hard, save what you can and with some luck the rest will work out in your favor.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lady SA

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2017, 02:35:10 PM »
I'm just a few years out of university, and less than 10 years ahead of you age wise.

Quote
What did you do at this point in your life? What would you do the same and what would you do differently?

I knew I wanted to go to college, but wasn't sure for what, exactly. But I knew I wasn't cut out for the trades or labor. My dad was an engineer, and I liked solving problems, so I eventually decided to give that a try (I changed halfway through to a peripheral, non-engineering degree). When I was a senior, I took all the AP classes I could to get college credit. Then did a bit of research and looked for colleges that had my intended major, a good reputation and good placement rates (ie how many graduates have a job in their field of study 6 mos after graduation). I had a list of only 5 or 6 colleges that met my criteria and I was confident I would get into. I applied early to them, and many offered me partial scholarships.
I decided to go to an out-of-state college that had a 96% placement rate and which offered me a significant scholarship. Those were the best 4 years of my life. My parents were able to chip in a little bit, but I still ended up with loans. My husband attended the same college, and he also had loans.
If you are confident in the industry you are going into and your ability to finish/like it, don't be too afraid of student loans. My husband and I graduated with a combined student loan debt of over $150k (yikes!!), but we both graduated with multiple job offers in our field, and within a year we were making $130k combined, and this year we make $190k combined. This debt load is entirely manageable because we both chose majors with a very high return on investment. $150k of debt for engineers is a LOT different than $150k for a history major. Obviously, you should be smarter than we were and actively do whatever you can to reduce the amount of debt you have to take on, but don't write it off altogether. If you use university how it's supposed to be used, as a gateway/training for an industry where you can command a much higher salary than you could without the degree, then paying for a degree makes sense. Just do some basic cost-benefit analysis.

I am personally glad that I focused solely on school for 4 years, but I also know some people who worked to offset costs and took a smaller course load - they graduated between 6-8 years. That could also potentially be an option, or even working for a year and entering college a year later. There are zillions of options between "don't go to college" and "go to college for 4 years and only work after you graduate". Most people don't think critically about it and only see those two options.

Quote
What would you recommend I do so as to not waste time and money? Any other advice is appreciated!

Once you settle on an industry you want to break into, you need to come up with a game plan of HOW to break into it. You can research job postings and see the requirements. Some industries require a bachelors degree, some require apprenticeship, some want to see internships, etc. Just do some poking around to see what you'd need to do to get in. Then make a game plan for how to achieve those qualifications.

A LOT of life is about networking and who you know. Don't brush off the importance of building up your network and building social skills and Emotional Intelligence to get ahead. Talk to people you know about what you want to do, and try to build relationships with them where they want to help you. They can help build connections to your desired industry. I'll give you an example. My non-engineering degree typically only pays around $45k, generally. But I was roommates with an engineer who had an internship with a major corporation. The next year, he pulled some strings with the recruiters and got me an internship, too, even though they typically didn't look for people with my major. That internship resulted in a job offer, and then out of the gate after graduating, I was making $60k, well above many of my peers. Now, just a few years later, I'm making $80k. That internship would never have happened without my friend putting in a good word for me. So actively look for and surround yourself with motivated, responsible, supportive people who can also give you a boost if you need it.

It's not inspirational, but I think some of the best advice I've gotten was you DON'T have to LOVE your job. Your job doesn't have to be 100% amazing and fulfilling and what you are passionate about. You already depend on it for paying the bills, adding in that your job has to also personally fulfill your passions is just too much pressure for a single job. It's silly if you think about it, not to mention unreasonable to expect this. So if you accept that a job can just be generally satisfactory, you're competent at it, and you are getting a fair wage, then use the money to pursue your passions OUTSIDE of work.
So right now, I have a corporate job. I can't say shipping code and facilitating team development is my passion, I could really care less. BUT, this job enables me to pursue my passions in the evenings and weekends with plenty left over, enough for me to retire early and pursue them full-time (with no pressure to monetize) in just a few short years. The key is that while I may not be in love with my job, I am responsible and competent at my tasks. What I am actually passionate about is writing, but I am content to do it in the evenings and weekends. But I don't have to put pressure on that passion to make me enough money to live on because I've separated those two realms of my life (passion and money). It is much less stressful, this way, in my opinion.

Also, your 20's will be the most flexible, cheapest decade of your life. Take advantage of the fact that you don't have many responsibilities or obligations (in the form of children, a house, spouse, etc) and live as cheaply as possible. The older you get, the more you typically have to add to your plate, which means $$. Try to put off those choices for as long as possible. Another example, my husband and I are renting in our below-market rate apartment for as long as possible (watching many of our friends and peers buying houses and all the costs associated with that), delaying upgrading our crappy, single car (a 2001 chevy prism) for at least another 2 years, we don't have pets (and I desperately want a corgi lol), and we are delaying having children. Not because we don't WANT any of those things, but we are simply planning for them and delaying that gratification until we can properly afford it, and because keeping those things off our plates now allows us to focus on saving our way to freedom and keep our living expenses much lower than many of our friends.
We actually recently helped our friend and his fiancee put together a budget. They have a house, 2 huge dogs, 2 new cars, and want to have kids in the next few years. Just by adding in those few things, they are easily spending twice what we spend in a month, on half the salary that we have. This means that they will have to work for a long time, whereas my husband and I will be free within a decade.
https://www.earnest.com/invite/lillian2 --> Use this referral to refinance your student loans with Earnest and get a $200 bonus!

Evgenia

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2017, 03:45:57 PM »
Lots of great advice here. +1 to trying business ideas you have. I flirted with self-employment a few times, it went well, it got slow, I got scared, I ran back to jobs. I shouldn't have done that. I probably could have had my own successful business sooner if I hadn't.

As someone who, to be frank, lost her virginity without an iota of regret at 15 (and is not going to gloss over her own history now that she's an "adult"), I want to address this comment from another angle:

Lots of talk about condoms. You could also take the less selfish road and try abstinence. Everyone acts like sex is just good fun that you'll regret not having. It's not. Casual sex is like licking the icing off someone else's cake. It's not good for anyone. The idea that you "can" do what you want while you're young and single is just selfishness, there's no sense or moral ground behind it. Think about it like a true mustachian (and no, not necessarily Pete's view on the subject), does it actually make my life better, or do I just want it?

In my own, personal experience (no more, no less, just mine), there need not be *anything* selfish about consensual, protected, informed sex. Sex can absolutely be good fun! As a teenager and later, I had some casual sex (as a single person) and some committed relationship sex. I never cheated on anyone. It most matters that you're honest, and being truly honest with others requires being deeply honest with yourself, and that means in terms of desire and motives, too. I was honest and communicative with other people, most were honest with me, and everything was fine. Indeed, I'm still acquainted with most of these acquaintances and, 20+ years down the road, KNOW that there are no hard feelings in either direction.

I look back on these aspects of my younger life with absolutely no regret, fond recollection, and genuine gratitude, and I wouldn't hope to begrudge any younger person these experiences, however culturally unpopular it may be to say so.

Yes: condoms. Use them. Believe me, it's been nice to reach age 40 with no STDs and/or unintended pregnancies or children, especially after going through some clinic visits with friends who were not so careful.
FIRE since June 2015. Chronicling the post-FIRE transition at: https://evgeniagotfi.wordpress.com/

zinnie

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2017, 12:20:05 PM »
So I ask if you would please answer a few questions to give me more things to consider :)
What did you do at this point in your life? What would you do the same and what would you do differently?
What would you recommend I do so as to not waste time and money? Any other advice is appreciated!

I went straight into college, didn't know what I wanted to major in but just studied what interested me. I'm really glad I did it that way--I learned so much in college and going away to school really got me out of my area/comfort zone. Before you've moved to a new place with new people it's really hard to figure out what you want to do, in my experience, because your life is limited to where you grew up. And the college environment is really great for this kind of personal growth because they throw you into living with a bunch of people from all over the country and world.

I worked while in college for spending money, experience, and savings for when I graduated. I'm also glad I did this. I had my college paid for and it helped me out a lot on my journey to FIRE, so look for scholarships!

It's going to take you some time to figure out exactly what you want to do, and that's ok. Part of the fun of life is screwing up a few times and learning from it, in my opinion! But everything you've described about yourself makes it clear you have what it takes to me successful, so just keep pursuing what you find appealing, save hard and work hard, always live within your means, and network and get to know the kinds of people who can help you on your journey (college is also awesome for this).

Good luck! You are at one of the most exciting parts of a person's life in that you get to try a lot of stuff out and broaden your horizons, and you don't have a lot of commitments yet. So my last piece of advice is to not take it too seriously or to focus too much on money, because you really should be enjoying it :)


mozar

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2017, 05:33:18 PM »
I'm going to go against the grain here and recommend that if you are marriage oriented, look for a spouse in college. Never again will you find so many like minded single people in one place.
Embracing the absurd condition of human existence while also defiantly continuing to explore and search for meaning

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2017, 06:18:34 PM »
I'm going to go against the grain here and recommend that if you are marriage oriented, look for a spouse in college. Never again will you find so many like minded single people in one place.

Yeah, cause life long decisions made in the early 20s are always the best decisions.

dang1

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2017, 06:33:32 PM »
if you're into entrepreneurship, try out different sales jobs. You'll hopefully get better in sizing up people - always a good life skill

rubybeth

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #30 on: October 14, 2017, 06:41:12 PM »
So I ask if you would please answer a few questions to give me more things to consider :)
What did you do at this point in your life? What would you do the same and what would you do differently?
What would you recommend I do so as to not waste time and money? Any other advice is appreciated!
Thanks much , Zach

At 17, nearly 18, I had a low level job at the local library, mostly shelving books. It was a really good, low-key job for me that didn't involve food service and used my brain and body. It also left me time to think about school projects, since I could mostly go on auto-pilot and consider other things. I worked at that job all through my undergraduate degree, and eventually went on to get a Master of Library and Information Science. I'm now a library administrator, so that little job at age 17 led me up the career ladder to a job where I have a lot of autonomy, which is something I really appreciate. I also have a great boss.

For you, I think getting a job now, or some kind of job shadowing, would be helpful, if you aren't already doing that. Also, saving as much as you can at whatever job you do--I have a friend whose parents required her to save half of what she made from age 16 until she went to college, and she worked her way through college, too. By the time she graduated and completed a master's degree, she had a fat down payment for a house for her and her husband.

Have you considered doing something like your state's transfer curriculum at a community college? In my state, you can get an AA at a community/technical college, and then later decide on a BA and just do the major coursework at a college/university in the state system or a private college. The idea of a BA or an AA of just general education is to try out a lot of different subjects to see what you are interested in--I took classes in geology, earth science, music, writing, communications, history, etc. and that has made me a well-rounded person, and especially a well-rounded librarian so I have context for nearly any reference question someone throws my way.

And since lots of people are focusing on relationships--there's lots of evidence that people who get married at age 25 and later make much sounder decisions regarding their choice of spouse. The rate of divorce amongst those who get married prior to age 25 are pretty high, and those who wait until after age 25 are lower. It has to do with brain development, as well as maturity. People tend to change a lot prior to age 25. It's fine if you meet the love of your life at age 20--just wait to tie the knot and sign the paperwork until you're 25 and your odds are much better. (For what it's worth, I met my husband when I was 17 and he was 16. We didn't date in high school and went to colleges in different cities. We started dating when I was 24 and he was 23, and got married when I was 27 and he was 26.)
My financial blog: http://rubybeth.wordpress.com

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mozar

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #31 on: October 14, 2017, 07:20:12 PM »
The research also shows that most people who are marriage oriented meet in their teens or early twenties, and get married in their mid or late 20's, precisely like the person above wrote. I have no comment on people's decision making skills, I'm talking availability of single people.
Embracing the absurd condition of human existence while also defiantly continuing to explore and search for meaning

brellis1vt

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #32 on: October 14, 2017, 07:46:58 PM »
if you are not sure what you want to do, I would recommend that you stay at home, go to a community college, and get a job.  Going to college has been crucial for my career.  I think it's very important to  keep going after high school because it's easy to "push it off" and then life gets in the way.  It is understandable if you decide to quit later.  If you want to be an entrepreneur find someone that has been successful and do whatever it takes to internship for them.  If you are looking for a decent paying job I would look at construction (since your are good with your hands.). Right now every pipeline contractor I know if begging for workers and the only requirements i are passing a drug test and working hard.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #33 on: October 14, 2017, 08:58:31 PM »

What did you do at this point in your life? What would you do the same and what would you do differently?
What would you recommend I do so as to not waste time and money? Any other advice is appreciated!


I was a straight-A student with a full-ride scholarship. I was gung-ho to go to a four year university and would not have even considered any other option. As a result, I changed my major several times. And dropped out. And ran off to another country to get married.

Started in Environmental Science. Switched to International Development. Switched to Economics. Two years in, I was feeling lonely and bored, because my university wasn't a good fit, so naturally dropping out to get married to an American and move away from Canada seemed like a great idea.

Now, I did stay married and did finish my Economics degree, so it wasn't a huge mistake!

But then, guess what? I never worked a day in that field in my life. My husband had a business, so I worked there.

About five years after graduating I went back and got a Master's Degree in Accounting and became a CPA. Which I like. What is this? Major #4? And this from a dedicated, academically-oriented person.

I taught accounting for a bit. I saw a lot of students who were getting Business degrees "just because." Because their parents wanted them to. Because they weren't sure what else to do. Because they wanted a good job. A lot of them sucked at university as a result. There was no particular drive or interest to make them successful.

Most people would be better going to trade school or entering the workforce for a couple of years or exploring interests via community college, rather than heading straight to university without a real idea what to do. University will keep. You never lose your chance to go. There really is no rush. It can feel that way when all your friends are going, or when your parents really want you to go to university - but the truth is that 2 or 4 or 10 years down the road, it's still going to be an option if you want it.

There are plenty of books about entrepreneurship. There are free online courses about business. MMM has written about Treehouse. My local library has full free subscriptions to intensive coursework. Maybe you'll find you don't need more formal school.

Mrbeardedbigbucks

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2017, 07:03:10 AM »
The best advice I got at 18:

- Work hard
- Spend less than you make (and invest the different)
- Eat reasonably healthy food
- Exercise

You'll be better off than 90%+ of the entire population.  Success will find you

I second this but would also add travel to that list. If you have an interest in seeing the world, maybe hold off on  diving right into college or a career. I backpacked a few continents in my 20's and it opened my eyes to so much. You might find out what you really want to do with your life when you get out there. You'll have plenty of time to work hard and save money. Once you retire early, you can do it all again.

This is just my situation but traveling can also look good in the eyes of future employers. I was hired at one of the previous companies that I worked for because I indicated "extended travel" on my resume (I had to explain why I was unemployed for almost a year). I thought this would be an eye sore on my resume and a weakness in my interview but it turned out to be my greatest strength. Much of the interview ended up being questions about where I went and what I learned. I had a meeting with my hiring manager shortly after and he said they hired me because they liked the fact that I just didn't go to college and then directly to work. I had other interests beyond just getting into a career.

Traveling does require money but not as much as you think. I once backpacked through Central America for 5 months on about $15 a day and had the time of my life. My nephew just recently traveled through Southeast Asia for a few months on a similar budget. He then moved on to Europe. Now he's a merchant marine and is getting paid to see the world.

What ever you decide, I would say you're off to a really good start by asking questions and keeping an open mind. Good luck Zach.



cheesecat

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #35 on: October 15, 2017, 08:32:01 AM »
Just thought I'd chime in on the 'get a degree' side:

I got a scholarship for most of my costs, so graduated without debt - I think that's one of the best gifts you can give yourself, to graduate without debt. It gave me a ton of freedom later since I wasn't making decisions based on whether I could still pay my monthly loan minimum. I got a degree in engineering, because I was good at math and people told me I should, and my parents were engineers (they never pushed me towards it, but they liked their own jobs, so in lieu of another direction I took that one). Thing was, I hated engineering. Not necessarily the classes--I'd always done well at school and did well in college because I am good at studying and like getting A's--but eventually I discovered the field just isn't for me. (Now my mom thinks I just didn't have fun internships and that if I'd looked a little harder I would have been sure to find an engineering job I liked, which may be true. But back to my point!)

I wound up going in other directions after my first engineering job, and now I don't use my degree anymore and likely never will again for a 'job' - I'm a writer and entrepreneur. But I don't regret the engineering degree, because it taught me something valuable: that I could learn difficult things. Especially as an entrepreneur, where you have to pick up concepts/software on the fly and wear many hats, that confidence has been crucial!

I'd also mention that I've seen friends who decided to bypass the degree and go straight into jobs struggle after the first couple years, because their peers with degrees, doing the same jobs, were getting paid and promoted more. It might not seem fair, but having a degree, ANY degree, is better than not having one. It's a piece of paper that just checks a box for you. And it will never be easier / more convenient to get that degree than now. I know there are differing opinions on this, but that's my view. Probably instilled my my mother :)

So that's my advice: get a degree, even if you're not "sure" you know what it should be in. And get it in a field where you can't pick up that information on your own. (I mean like engineering, biology, architecture vs philosophy or English - sure, you can self-teach engineering, but no one will hire you unless you have a degree, and no one will let you into medical school without a qualifying undergrad degree. As for a business degree, I'm torn ... if you're an entrepreneur you don't need it, and most you can pick up through self-study. I hear it's useful for business contacts though?) Also, if you want to try entrepreneurship, there's a ton you can do on the side even while in college - try things out! I wish I'd started earlier :) Check out the side hustle website (http://www.sidehustlenation.com) for ideas if you need some, but a lot of it is just paying attention - opportunities or gaps in the market will pop up if you've got your mindset right and your eyes open. Don't go into debt for it.

Good luck! Also: yes, travel! I always wished I'd studied abroad in college. I did do a bit of backpacking through Europe though, on school breaks, which I highly recommend.

Oh, and I have lots of friends who have government jobs and are dedicated civil servants (and love their jobs and serving their country in this way. Several have the option of travel, deployment or even posting to cool countries for a few years), so I'd add: don't do anything in college that would kill your background check! Seriously. I know some people don't even think about government jobs but in certain fields you can do some extremely cool things that you can't do anywhere else in the world, but not if you screw up (too much) in college. So be smart. And if you're not sure what else to do: engineering degree :)

cheesecat

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #36 on: October 15, 2017, 03:04:30 PM »
Rereading my reply, it kind of sounded like I was pushing engineering/sciences, and while they are great fields, if another subject (like history or psychology) is super interesting to you, don't hesitate to major in that just because it's not considered ultra-marketable. There are plenty of fantastic jobs for liberal arts degrees, if you have passion and drive.

If you like a lot of things, it might be really hard to pick a direction. Something I'd suggest is to read a bunch of self-help books geared towards helping people figure out their paths in life. Do all the exercises, even if they seem silly (and they will), because you may realize things about your values and desires you hadn't known. And read books that explore lots of careers, because I am constantly coming across people with cool jobs and wondering how the heck they ever got into that, and why I'd never considered it when I was younger :)

Hit up your library and see what they have; read as many as you can get your hands on. Because the best thing for finding a direction is to figure out what your values are and what sort of mark you want to leave on the world, and what you want your life to look like in 5, 10, 20, and 50 years down the line. That can help you craft a plan, though as the saying goes, "Man plans, and God laughs." Even if your life takes you places you never dreamed of (and it will, hopefully in the best way), having an eye on what you want to accomplish long-term can help guide those short-term decisions. One note: figuring this out will take time, and your answers may change months/years later. That's normal :)

Okay I've written too much again! You're ahead of the game in that you're considering all this now instead of waiting until you have a mid-life (or quarter-life) crisis. Have fun :)

Sibley

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Re: Graduating High School In 8 Months But Dont Know What to Do??
« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2017, 11:53:21 AM »
OP, there's a guy I know (and darn it, he's married, cause he's cute!) has had this general career path:

1. Military. maybe army? (he regrets that I think, but he was a kid and it was the easiest way to get out of the house)
2. Licensed electrician
3. licensed plumber
4. General contracting
5. (current) Property maintenance, with side jobs for people he likes.

End result: one person who can fix or do just about anything around a house. Not sure how he is with cars, but he earns a very good living with those skills.

There is a shortage of qualified, GOOD plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc. The people who are good at that stuff tend to be in high demand. (you may need to relocate to an area that is short, some areas are ok) If that sort of thing interests you, check it out.

If you want to go to college, you absolutely can. Just know that you don't need to if you don't want.