Back at square one

Home→Forums→Tough Times→Back at square one

New Reply
Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
  • #63254

    Sorry to bother this amazing forum with a “tough time” story, but I feel like I really need help. I’m new to TinyBuddha, and the way I found it is by asking Google “what to do when you messed up your life?”. I know, sounds desperate, mostly because it is, in my head at least.

    I’m 25 years old and you’d think that I’ve reached some point in my life, but I have not. I’m back to square one. Here’s the story. My parents are dentists, as well as both my grandfathers. It seemed like I had a choice to find my passion but I really didn’t. I was determined not to become a dentist, but the times were not great for following my passion. So I went to a dental school. It’s not like I regret it. I’ve met my wife whom I love very much. But the thought of me being a dentist for the rest of my life terrifies me. And there’s another challenge, me and my wife moved to another country, and have to make accreditation to be able to work as dentists, which takes more that 3 years. So I need to spent another 3 years of my life and tons of effort just to be able to do what I don’t even like.

    On the other hand, I’ve found my passion. It’s computer science, developing web and mobile apps, among other things. I learned all that myself, and even started a project just to prove that I’m really good at it. I put lots of time and efforts into this project. Even though I haven’t had much hopes for this project, and I promised myself I wouldn’t get frustrated if it fails, it did crush me when it failed. I also tried to find a job in that field, but it seems impossible without a computer science degree, even though I know pretty much all I need to do it. And to get a degree, I’d have to spent another 4 years of full time study, which I can’t really afford when I have a family now.

    So there it is, my life at glance. I know two completely different fields, but can’t work in either of it, unless I decide and make it through. I’m really stuck with my life, and have no idea what to do.

    If anyone has any ideas what should I do and how do I make a solid decision, please help.

    Thank you!

    The Ruminant

    Thank you for your post, Terry, as it gave me a nudge in an unsuspected way. But that’s another story, so back to yours…

    The flaw in your thinking is that if you graduate from something, you are going to have to do that for the rest of your life. As if your faith would be sealed. It’s not. You don’t have to be a dentist for the rest of your life and abandon all else. Who is to say that you wouldn’t create a hugely popular dentistry app in the future? Gathering knowledge is great and it’s never wasted. Also, you’ll better start preparing yourself for the fact that you can’t optimize life 😉 Stuff is going to happen that will completely change your plans anyway.

    Also, is working for someone else one of the dreams that you have? Who’s stopping you from pursuing the life of an entrepreneur or freelancer? You will need a formal education to have a private practice in dentistry, but absolutely nobody is going to ask for a computer science degree in web or app design. Those are new technologies and require practical knowledge. Computer science is mostly about the theoretical science. Web technologies weren’t even part of our curriculum when I studied computer science, let alone something like Objective-C. I’m not saying that you wouldn’t learn anything in CS, but it’s just not one of the most practical degrees.

    If I were you, I’d continue with the dentistry and have a degree that I could always fall back on, and continue studying programming related things on my spare time, and see if I could combine those two. But that’s just me and I’m not you 🙂

    The Ruminant

    Argh. Fate, not faith 🙂 Can’t edit anymore. Perhaps I should just learn how to let go of obsessing over misspelled words!


    Thank you for the advice. I guess you’re right, abandoning either dentistry or programming might lead to regrets in future. And there’s nothing stopping me from combining those two. I really needed that advice. Now I can stop whining “what do I do?” and start working in both directions, living life with no regrets. Thanks again!

    Big blue

    Hi Terry,

    You are very smart, dedicated and motivated. We need you in both fields.

    You might feel like you have one foot on the dock and one in the canoe. With some reframing as The Ruminant advises: Put one bare foot on each dolphin’s back and enjoy the ride! 🙂

    Big blue


    Terry thanks for bringing this up.

    I am completely lost right now, about to be 25 in a few months, never finished college, and am looking hard to find something I can enjoy doing and even make a living with. As Ruminant said, working for someone was never appealing, and being a freelancer is, and I have always loved computers and new technology and was curious to work on web design/programming. I personally DO believe that you don’t need an education for that, you just need the skill. But I have such a tough time trying to start it because I am afraid of investing time and failing at it. Reading of course that you felt crushed when a project failed scares me, as that is my fear, but at the same time, at least you went through with it and attempted!

    I guess what I’m getting at, is if I should follow through and even if I crash and burn and take somewhat long to even get the hang of it well, should I pursue it? Take a class somewhere, or since I have a lot of free time just being at home right now, even self-study works?


    If I was Terry i will be working as a dentist for a time until i find a job to replace this.
    Having a family requires money and job obviously,so, i will have worked as a dentist to be ok with my obligations.
    Stop working as a dentist if this doesn’t make you happy,but find another job also.
    Furthermore,don’t give up on your dreams and hobbies ,it’s never to late to study if you want a degree for your dreamy job.
    Do the best to touch your goals your dreams and your life.You don’t want to regret in the future for actions you didn’t try.
    It seems you have passion,and that passion you should turn into actions.Do the best and forget about everything.
    Eventually,save some money (from the job you’re doing now) to spend it for the degree, you’re future job.
    I don’t think it’s illusion, i think that you have to fight for your dreams even if it’s hard.
    Good luck!


    Greg, I feel like I need to explain a little about how I started my project and how I got involved with programming. I was asking the same questions. First I was just fooling around, getting to know how developing works, what languages there are. Then I discovered that learning programming language is not as hard as I thought it would be. I found some courses on-line (I recommend Coursera for start) and started a little project. The project actually was meant to help me study dentistry (or anything else). It’s web-application for studying, like on-line flashcards, only the way I wanted it to be. Then I decided to make this project public (which it is now) and make mobile applications. All that I did in one programming language (Python), well maybe 90% of it.

    The reason I said that the project failed is because one can’t be driven only by passion alone for a long time. I haven’t received any return since this project was born, 10 months ago. And I’m not talking about money, I’m talking about user’s support, positive feedback, or someone say “hey, I like what you did, keep it up”. I started Kickstarter campaign to know how much support the app (and the idea) has. And I got none. That’s why I was so frustrated (still am). But I don’t think I’m ready to abandon it. First, because it actually very useful app for me, and second, it’s my baby, you don’t give up that easily. It just needs more work and time.

    So, was it worth the time and efforts to learn and create something? Absolutely, 100%. Even though the project is not successful yet, I learned a lot (or even more), experienced every aspect of web development myself from scratch, and most importantly, I enjoyed every moment working on it. I think it gives me a solid ground to pursue it even deeper, whether it’s this project, or maybe a new one someday.

    The bottom line is, if it feels right – do it. Investing your time into learning always pays off. And don’t be afraid to fail. Failures will happen (although I wish you never had any), but it’s not a reason to stop and leave, it’s just a pit-stop to think it through one more time and do it again. That’s what I’m doing now, rethinking it again.

    If you can go for full time study, good, if not, give it a shot yourself. If you need some suggestions, don’t hesitate to ask. Good luck!


    Thanks everyone for the support and advice! It really means a lot to me right now. 🙂


    I really appreciate your input Terry. That’s really cool of you. I guess I forget the number one thing, to simply enjoy myself through the process and stop worrying about failing all the time. I can always take it slow I guess so it doesn’t feel overwhelming, and programming language not being all that hard? You got me interested 🙂

    Thanks again.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.