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I’m not mentally or financially prepared for a four-year. Any advice?

AsadFarooquiAsadFarooqui 59 replies94 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 153 Junior Member
Hey all. Yes, I am that guy who was struggling in curve sketching in AP Calculus. Before I get into this post, I just want to update you all saying that I figured it all out and we’re moving on to logarithm derivatives and integration. I’ve actually been starting this new semester on a better note than the last one; namely with a higher average. So thanks for all the advice!

Now, as the title says, I do not feel I am ready for a full 4-year college experience right out of the gate. I’ve never lived away from my family in my entire life and do not know how I am supposed to make money on my own. I’ve volunteered for over 300 hours but I’ve never had a paid job and don’t know where to start. And as I’m closer to the end of senior year, I’ve come to realize how little I know myself when it comes to choosing a major. On several standardized tests where it asks for what career path I plan to take, I remember bubbling “undecided” on multiple occasions. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but I realized that no matter how much I study for AP Biology, I always fail every major quiz and test, with labs keeping me afloat. And I am also a self-admitted introvert, so I don’t know how much of an effect that will have in a future doctor job. Maybe I don’t want to be a doctor? I should also add that I am taking AP Bio, AP Calculus AB, AP Gov, AP Macro, and AP Lit.

Bottom line is, what should I do? Where should I go from here? Any advice is helpful.
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Replies to: I’m not mentally or financially prepared for a four-year. Any advice?

  • shawnspencershawnspencer 3098 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,110 Senior Member
    You can take a gap year, attend community college for a year or two to figure something out, or attend some colleges near your home. Honestly though many students don't know where they are going to go career-wise out of the gate, there are way more options out there than just a doctor - and plenty of them are introverts, and many students are like you and haven't had a paid job/lived far away from home before. It is part of the experience and you learn and grow from it. Now if there are significant issues to consider, you may want to consider some of the options above, but academically at least you seem to be well prepared, taking a rigorous courseload and having many questions is normal, you just have to seek out people that can help you find those answers
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  • Studious99Studious99 888 replies23 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 911 Member
    It’s perfectly acceptable to be undecided. Why are you “financially unprepared” for a 4-year college? Also, do you have a plan for what to do instead of college? (military, trade school, gap year, etc)

    It’s okay that you’ve never had a job before. I never had a job during high school but I work now and it feels pretty normal. Minimum wage jobs are like volunteering, but you have to be more punctual.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29403 replies170 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 29,573 Senior Member
    I know plenty of kids who didn't want to leave home right after high school. Some got jobs and worked until they figured out their goals, some went to community college, some commuted to a local college or university. There is no schedule that you have to meet. Sit down with your family, and talk through the options that might work for you, and then come up with the plan that is best for your own life.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 83935 replies1004 discussionsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,939 Forum Champion
    What are your stats?? Where did you apply?

    Don’t start at a cc if your stats could get you huge merit as an incoming frosh.

    Doesn’t matter that you’re undecided. And most high school seniors have never lived away from home.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 83935 replies1004 discussionsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,939 Forum Champion
    <<<
    My dad has problems. He blows up over details that, even when I investigate them, turn out to be insignificant. He has screamed, smacked, been perpetually disappointed in me, even when I do exactly what he’s been saying. My mother has seen this in him for years; he’s upset when he doesn’t get what he wants
    >>>


    ????????? And you think you shouldn’t go away to college?????

    How much will your family contribute each year towards college
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41319 replies445 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 41,764 Senior Member
    This bears repeating: Don't start t a community college if you'd qualify for merit aid as attending a cc would mean forfeiting the merit scholarships.
    Where have you applied?

    Btw, your concerns are very normal and actually indicate you ARE ready.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 1934 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,936 Senior Member
    You have at least 3 semesters before you start thinking about your major. Don't sweat it. Just take your general education classes. Perhaps the physician passion is already there, and you just have to study harder for it. It could also be that you never got a chance to know.

    If you're an introvert, there are a multitude of career paths that you could be happy in. Computers is one, and you don't even need math to make a good living at it. You could major in Information Technology. You could do accounting. You could do statistical analysis. You seem to be good at math, you could do Computer Science or engineering.
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  • bodanglesbodangles 8628 replies557 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,185 Senior Member
    The thing about engineering is that you don't have forever to choose it -- there are so many classes, and they're so sequential, that switching into engineering late may result in extra semesters of college.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41319 replies445 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 41,764 Senior Member
    However, Statistics, Information Technology, accounting... can be started later on. :)
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  • Dancer14Dancer14 154 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    You absolutely have options in what you can do if you don't want to go to a 4 year. You could take a gap year and try and figure out what it is you want. You could go to community college for 2 years and figure out what you want there and a significantly less cost. You could try to get a job right out of high school. You could take a couple of courses at a local school and see if anything sparks an interest. There are many options for you.
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  • momof3boyzmomof3boyz 794 replies89 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 883 Member
    Many Community Colleges have a 2 + 2 program. The first two years are General Ed classes and you are automatically accepted to one of a handful of four year schools for your Bachelors degree.

    One of my sons had a full ride at a four year State University. He did not do well. He came home after one year. He went to Trade School for CNC Machining. This field still requires high math aptitude. There is a huge demand for All Trades. His Program was four nights a week. You take one class at a time and they offered "pay as you go". Their program met the same qualifications for Federal Financial Aid. He started in August of 2012. By December of 2012 an employer offered a co-op, working M-F 6am to 3pm, allowing him to get to school from 5pm to 9pm. By the end of his Certification (July 2013) he was working full time (plenty of overtime was available) and his employer reimbursed $2000 of his course fees.

    Five years later, he is earning more than many of his peers that have a four year degree and huge amounts of debt.

    See if you can shadow a few classes at a Trade School before you commit to a four year University.
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 979 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 997 Member
    @AsadFarooqui, Something to keep in mind for the future...not all physicians have a lot of patient contact...I think anesthesiologists and radiologists (for example) often work behind the scenes. Also, the deep concentration skills of some introverts can be useful in the detective work of diagnosing complex and rare conditions. Some MDs become medical researchers. You could also get a PhD in physiology, microbiology, pharmacology or a host of other fields related to medicine/medical research in which an introvert could thrive.

    I'm not suggesting that you pursue any of these, just saying that there's no need now to cut out possibilities early on. Explore your interests and aptittudes while keeping an open mind, work hard and persistently, seek mentoring from professors and work supervisors, and the appropriate path should open up as you go along. It can be hard to trust that process, but there are professional niches you'll be suited for that aren't easy to discern at this point. But getting the education as you follow the path will benefit you personally in more ways than job training.

    Taking a gap year isn't a bad idea either (as long as you don't get stuck in that gap year), but what you're saying doesn't make me feel as if you necessarily need one. I have a feeling that getting away from a difficult parent might be a very good experience for you, and actually remove some stress. But if you have a strong desire to work and gain life skills before entering college, that could be a good thing. But as some have said, I would caution you to not take a class or two at community college if you do this, as you would lose freshman status and the chance to earn scholarships if you decide in a year or so to go to a four-year university. CC could be OK later if you truly determine that a four-year school is not for you, or that you only want to complete the last two years after CC.
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  • vegetarianstressvegetarianstress 39 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    Look into local community colleges! I know my community college has a program that gets you directly into UCLA. Community college is valid!
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41319 replies445 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 41,764 Senior Member
    @vegetarianstress:
    you're lucky because you live in California. The California CC are exceptional. Unless we know that OP lives in CA, you can't project your local situation to the rest of the country.
    In addition, wile many California CC's have automatic transfer agreements (TAG), UCLA doesn't.
    Finally, this student may lose all access to scholarships if they register at CC - transfers get lousy aid and scholarships tend to be reserved to freshmen. California is, again, an exception, in that the state manages the scholarships and not the university, so that transfers and freshmen are treated the same for need based aid.
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  • AroundHereAroundHere 3580 replies22 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,602 Senior Member
    @MYOS1634 The main concern is losing access to freshman merit scholarships. There is still need-based aid. And this student has posted over and over again about GPA struggles, so is perhaps not a candidate for big merit at this time anyway.

    California does have a great community college system, but other states do, too. For a student who is a bit lost, it's easier to sample classes in multiple majors in CC, and the if drifting between majors adds an extra semester, it's at the lower CC tuition rate.
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