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I have no interests or passions. What do I do?

darnsocksdarnsocks Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
Like I said, I've got no interest and no "passion". What am I supposed to do?
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Replies to: I have no interests or passions. What do I do?

  • getaclucygetaclucy Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    I obviously don't know you or your situation very well, but my suggestion would be to apply to smaller liberal arts colleges. This is because you'll have the opportunity to explore many interests, academic and otherwise, through their required curriculum. You will also be able to have closer relationships to your professors and advisors, who will likely be able to give you some guidance on what a good path for you might be.
    I find it hard to believe you have zero interests. I suggest you make a list of everything that you like doing (even if it seems small or irrelevant). Then, make a second list of everything you want to try, anywhere you want to visit, and anything you want to do. From there you should start trying new things and delving further into things that you already like doing.
    Because you've posted this on CC, my guess is that you're worried about not knowing what you want to major in and what you want to do with your life yet and that is completely okay. Most people don't know what they want to do or even what they want to study at 17 and 18. You don't have to be a prodigy or an expert in anything, especially not at this point in your life. When you start looking more into colleges to apply to, don't focus on a particular major. Instead, focus on places you might want to live and schools that you match well with academically.
  • darnsocksdarnsocks Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    I guess I'm more worried about admissions at this point. I don't think there's a perfect college out there, but there are several that seem like they'd be good places for me. The only trouble is that they're too hard for me to get into since I don't have any interests and am not interested in playing the admissions game. My grades are so-so (mostly A-) and I don't have many extracurriculars. I have really good standardized testscores (1500 PSAT) but people tell me that this isn't really as important nowadays as it was forty or fifty years ago, especially if your grades and activities suck so much that you seem like a boring lazy idiot.
  • getaclucygetaclucy Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    Honestly I think you might be able to spin the "no interest" thing in your favor. You can write your essay about your struggle to find a passion or something like that. But you're going to have to prove you've made some kind of effort. Again though, I am sure there is something out there that you at least like doing. If you really don't have any school clubs that you can bear to attend or somewhere you might want to volunteer, strongly consider getting a part time job. Colleges love when students are responsible enough to hold a job and it also will help you save up some money which is never a bad thing. Please take my suggestions on the lists because you might come to some surprising conclusions.
    If you don't mind me asking, what grade are you currently in, and what are some of the colleges you have an interest in?
  • darnsocksdarnsocks Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    I'm a junior, and I have several colleges in mind. I don't exactly have a solid list yet but three I think about a lot are College of William and Mary, Reed, and U of Rochester. I like the idea of a small liberal arts college but am sick of living in tiny groups--the largest school I've ever been in has 700 students--which is why a place like W&M appeals to me. Rochester I like because of the academic freedom and non-impossibility of getting in. Anyhow, I actually do some extracurricular stuff just not a lot. I've tried a lot of things and quit because I didn't enjoy them very much. Currently I coach the middle school math team, play in a few music groups, and tutor elementary schoolers an hour or two a week. All of those seem like they might stick for at least a little while. The main issue is that I don't really have any strong interests or talent. There are two types of kids who get into good colleges at my school (which is a well-funded one in a fairly wealthy Northeastern suburb): The kids who are grinds, play three sports or do theater or hold down a job AND get perfect grades while taking three or four APs, and there are the kids who get at least good grades, but don't have to worry about grinding because they're an excellent concert pianist or became fluent in Japanese through independent study or win a gazillion awards for their unarguably amazing writing (all of these students are actual students from my school). There are even some kids who have multiple deep accomplishments/interests or manage to be both types at once. In middle school, I was very close to the latter type--I loved math and music and science and writing and won all kinds of medals for it--but something slipped once high school started, and I'm no longer really interested in anything, let alone able or valuable in anything, and it's stressing me out because it seems to be the very thing everyone is demanding of me.
  • getaclucygetaclucy Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    It sounds like you're feeling discouraged because of the competitiveness and caliber of the people you are attending high school with. I know the feeling very well. I went to a ridiculously competitive high school but never felt adequate around the people I went to school with even though I was actually a very good applicant and student.

    These kids you are surrounded with are not an accurate representation of your applicant pool. They are outliers. It sounds like you do fairly well in school and with tests, and that you do have some meaningful extracurriculars. Trust me when I say you will be able to get into some really great schools. I recommend going to the big future section of the collegeboard website to find some schools that may be good matches for you academically, geographically, and financially. The schools you have already mentioned sound like a really great start.

    The best advice I can give you at this point is to continue to do well in school, take the actual SAT or ACT (not just the PSAT), and keep trying things out. I understand feeling discouraged because you're not this perfect, future ivy league student. I felt that way too, and even struggled to find things I felt really passionate about. I just found something that I liked doing enough to spend a fair amount of time on. As for everyone demanding things of you, try explaining how you're feeling if you haven't already. The only person you need to be pleasing at this point in your life is yourself. As long as you're making an effort to do well in school and life then you're doing fine.
  • Snowball CitySnowball City Registered User Posts: 500 Member
    When you were a little kid, what did you dream of doing?
    Firefighter? Join an explorer group.
    Singer? Grab friends and play rock band (is that even a thing anymore?) or sing karaoke.
    Ice skater? Take some lessons?

    Find you inner fun that gets drowned out by all the things you "ought" to be doing.
  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 2,185 Senior Member
    edited March 20
    Your passion is to be ordinary. You have spent years learning how to blend in. You excel in being forgettable. You research the most common colors, styles, hairdos, walking gaits, and even idioms trying not to deviate from the median. Your plan is to work in espionage, as a writer, poll taker, or possibly an accountant. That's why you must be admitted to university <insert name here>

    Write an essay like that and the Adcoms will love you.
  • darnsocksdarnsocks Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Haha, it would be easy if I were ordinary. But people think I'm a weirdo. Just not weird enough to be interesting. I wear pajama pants to school every day, sleep through class, go to bed early, have only one or two friends, one of whom is my ex-boyfriend, pretend to read big books to impress people, and curse in class when I know the teacher won't care too much (I have some nice teachers). It's like I'm trying to look odd just to get people to pay attention to me. An excellent candidate for college admissions, right?
  • rebeccarrebeccar Registered User Posts: 1,891 Senior Member
    You don't need to have passions but you do need to play the game. The game involves not sleeping through class, being responsible and respectful, and selling yourself, whether it's on the common app or at a job interview.
  • JAGmomJAGmom Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    @darnsocks You are not alone and it is not at all unusual to not have a passion or know what you want to do with your life. First I suggest you watch the TEDx talk "Throw out the check listed childhood" by Julie Lythcott-Haims. I had my D watch when she was beginning her college search and it was extremely helpful. In particular, she suggests 3 things - figure out what you are good at, figure out what you love, and figure out what your value. For my D - she is good at math and science, she loves art and music, and she values helping others. She used that as a jumping off point for what kind of college she wanted to attend where should could explore and find the intersection of those 3 things. Among a number of LACs and smaller universities with flexible curriculum she applied to, one of those places happens to be University of Rochester where she was just admitted with a Dean's Scholarship. I don't know yet that is where she will end up next year... so far she has a number of great options to choose from, none of which expect her to know what she is passionate about and what she wants to do, and all of which she will have the opportunity to figure that out. By the way, she goes to an extremely competitive high school and is in the top 10% of her class but her peers are not really aware of her success because she does not discuss her stats etc. She has had to tune out a lot of "noise" to follow her own path, and wants to attend a college where students are smart and collaborative, not cutthroat.
  • darnsocksdarnsocks Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    @rebeccar I consider selling myself dishonest. If playing the game is immoral, hypocritical, and selfish--in that any college I get into is a slot taken from someone else just as worthy of it, if not more so--why on earth should I play the game?
  • darnsocksdarnsocks Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    @JAGmom I wish I could be like your daughter. I used to be like her. I also was good at math and science, loved art and music, and valued helping others. But I lost all of that. I am now good at crying, love complaining, and value self-pity. When I search inside myself--I've been doing it for three years--those are the only answers I can find.
  • bodanglesbodangles Registered User Posts: 6,653 Senior Member
    edited March 22
    Okay, so don't go to college. Work retail. Problem solved.

    Edit: Or maybe it's also selfish to take a job away from someone else who needs it?

    Point is, that's silly.
  • darnsocksdarnsocks Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    @bodangles That's why I feel so trapped. The media, my parents, my friends, guidance counselors--everyone seems constantly to be sending me the message that I have three options: passion, grinding, or retail. Since I can't will myself to enjoy anything, I'm now stuck between grinding and retail, which is obviously its own kind of grinding. The colleges all say "we want students with genuine passion" which translates to "you must have genuine passion" which is ridiculous because if you will yourself to have "passion", it's not genuine.
  • getaclucygetaclucy Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    edited March 22
    It seems like you're rejecting much of the advice given to you without trying it out first. Perhaps don't be so quick to dismiss an idea that is actually really good. Also, don't just assume you're not going to get in anywhere when you haven't even sent out applications yet. The suggestion I have is less college related. I obviously know very little about you but based on what you've said about how you're feeling and how you're acting it might be beneficial to talk to a professional. It seems like you're having a lot of really negative feelings and despair about your current situation and it might be helpful to talk to somebody who can give you tools to handle those kinds of emotions. I know in the past I have done that and it has helped me feel exponentially better about the situations I have been in. I'm obviously not a proffessional but it seems like you may have some signs of depression which I know from experience makes it hard to enjoy doing anything.

    But if you're going to come on this website asking for advice, please don't reject it before giving it a chance. I've read all of the posts on this thread, and as someone who has gone through all of this application season nonsense and come out the other end perfectly fine with lots of acceptances very recently, I can tell you that it's all very good advice.

    As for why you play "the game," you play it because everybody does. College admissions are just a real life game and it's your job as an applicant to show them why you deserve a place at their school over someone else. It's not dishonest, and you don't lie. You use your college application to paint yourself in the best light.
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