So many ways to go about life, unsure how to proceed

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    William Shen

    Hey yall

    I recently turned 20, and I feel as if I’m at a bit of a crossroads in life, I’m not quite sure what to do.

    I’m a second-year computer science student and I’m not that passionate about the field, to be honest, I chose this degree since there’s a lot of money to be made in the area. Because of this, my GPA is not ideal, but it isn’t bad either.

    I’m also in the military reserves and it’s one of the few things I’ve done in my life that I genuinely enjoy, but I don’t see it being a full-time career, as it would take over my entire life if I went down that road.

    I’m doing well as a student and working on some projects with a potential job for the summer, but I can’t seem to be super passionate about the subject. I was thinking of doing a master’s or Ph.D. in AI since the field is booming, but I feel as if I’d be digging myself a deeper hole if I were to do so.

    I’m really hoping that I am able to find a passion in the field or find a passion in something that would be able to generate a good income for myself and my future family.

    Any advice on how to navigate such a time?


    “Passion makes most psychiatrists nervous” – Joseph Cmpbell

    Hi William

    My suspension is that like Joy, Passion isn’t something one seeks as if it can be grasped but a experience that one might be surprised by in the moment.

    The metaphor of the crossroads suggests the duality of choice of either or and that one path would be better then the other. If only we could know which one. (leading to anxiety and fear)  Such measuring suggestive of the future moment when you will look back on the past and wonder if only or what might have been if I turned left instead of right, or maybe turned 180 or some other degree of a turn? It is in this moment that we imagine the future moment where we think back on the past moment where we pondered the notion of the crossroads through the eyes of a possible regret that we chose wrong.

    The crossroads, I think implies a assumption that if we could just figure out all the angles and control them, bend them to our will (ego) as we imagine things could be ‘if only’ we make all the right choices… and then just maybe they will lead to this thing call passion. The crossroads were the past is always gone, the present never stays and the future never comes –   We are undone before we begin when what we are looking for is something we already have/are but do not see.

    I like what Joseph Campbell had to say when you talked about Bliss (satcitananda) – “if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

    Something I have learned over time is that whatever choices you make, nothing you learn is waisted and will most likely lead you down paths you never imagined. Follow your heart, your ‘satcitananda’ with passion as best you can and enjoy the ride. You are the answer to your question.  Dance

    The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown.” Alan Watts


    JOSEPH CAMPBELL: And the moral is that the realization of your bliss, your true being, comes when you have put aside the, what might be called passing moment, with its terror and with its temptations and its statement of requirements of life, that you should live this way.

    BILL MOYERS: What is that story about and I forget where it comes from about the camel and then the lion, and along the way you lose the burden of youth?

    JOSEPH CAMPBELL: The three transformations of the spirit. That’s Nietzsche. That’s the prologue to Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

    BILL MOYERS: Tell me that story.

    JOSEPH CAMPBELL: When you are a child, when you are young and a young person, you are a camel. The camel gets down on its knees and says, “Put a load on me.” This is obedience. This is receiving the instruction, information that your society knows you must have in order to live a competent life. When the camel is well loaded, he gets up on his feet, struggles to his feet, and runs out into the desert, where he becomes transformed into a lion. The heavier the load, the more powerful the lion. The function of the lion is to kill a dragon, and the name of the dragon is “Thou Shalt.” And on every scale of the dragon there is a “Thou Shalt” imprinted. Some of it comes from 2,000 years, 4,000 years ago. Some of it comes from yesterday morning’s newspaper headline. When the dragon is killed, the lion is transformed into a child, an innocent child living out of its own dynamic. And Nietzsche uses the term, ein aus sich rollendes Rad, a wheel rolling out of its own center. That’s what you become. That is the mature individual.

    The “Thou Shalt” is the civilizing force, it turns a human animal into a civilized human being. But the one who has thrown off the “Thou Shalts” is still a civilized human being. Do you see? He has been humanized, you might say, by the “Thou Shalt” system, so his performance now as a child is not simply childlike at all. He has assimilated the culture and thrown it off as a “Thou Shalt.” But this is the way in any art work. You go to work and study an art. You study the techniques, you study all the rules, and the rules are put upon you by a teacher. Then there comes a time of using the rules, not being used by them. Do you understand what I’m saying? And one way is to follow…and I always tell my students, follow your bliss. (satcitananda – reality consciousness bliss – you are IT and not that)


    Hi William,

    You are a 2nd year full-time computer science college student with a GPA that “isn’t bad”. My advice is to stick it out and finish the degree in spite of your lack of passion for the field. You’re right, the money is good but also there are a lot of jobs. Get the degree and your options will  open up. What you’re learning in school may be very different from what you potentially would be doing in the workforce. You haven’t yet been exposed to all that’s out there in this field. In other words, you don’t know what you don’t know! As you make your way through school start thinking about an industry that excites you. Good computer scientists are needed in just about every industry. Look for interesting companies with good benefits and with managers who nurture their employees’ growth and want them to be happy. So many opportunities can surface from within any organization. The computer science degree will get you inside the door at a great starting salary, and once inside, search for your passion. Maybe you’ll decide that computer science isn’t it (or maybe you’ll decide that it is), but once you’re inside a good company, get around, meet people, make friends, find out what inspires you, and go for it!



    Hi William

    Can you say what bits of being in the  military reserves do you enjoy. Ie the friendship. the physical exercise, learning new things like map reading etc. This may be able to pinpoint where one possible source of joy ( passion) and open up to how that aspect to be brought to your course and career choices.

    It has to be noted that one of the biggest regrets people have at the end of their lives is that they did not get to spend enough quality time with family and friends. No one  has said ” I wish I had spent more time at the office”

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