Student, depressed, and searching for purpose

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    I’m a college junior who has recently transferred to a new university and will be starting this fall. But I have no idea what I want to do with my life or major in. I feel like this is my chance to start over.

    I realize this isn’t a career advice forum, but I really like Tinybudda and everyone seems very supportive! I am mostly wanting to know why I keep feeling so depressed and what to do now.

    It started this summer, and I began to reevaluate my life and try to figure out what interests me. I like writing… But I really don’t mind most things. But that’s just it. I ‘like’ a lot of things, but I’m not passionate about any of them. In fact, I can tolerate most subjects and just work hard period.

    But now I want to do something with purpose. And the more I try to figure out what I want, the more depressed I become. I seem to have just lost sight of who I am and what I want. And most of the time, I feel so down that don’t even care if I’m stuck in an office job for the rest of my life.

    My mom and dad suggests that I pick a major that can lead to career options. I’ve looked at computer science, economics, political science, and business… but I just don’t know. I’m getting to the point where I just want a career with job opportunities and financial prospects. I always tell myself, “maybe if I have money, I will have time to figure out what I want”. But there’s no telling how much time I’m going to have when I graduate.

    I just really want to do something that I can be passionate about. I’ve been seriously thinking of pursuing computer science. But I don’t really care about computers at all… I don’t think about “what new technology can be created?” but “what can I do to optimize my creativity”… I like the idea of becoming a problem solver and being able to creatively come up with solutions… But I might not be ‘wired’ to think in a computer-science-kinda-way. I’m the more spontaneous, creative, type (an ENFP, MBTI)… I just feel like if I’m not passionate I will be found out, won’t be able to compete with the competition, and feel like an impostor on the inside.

    My main motivator to do anything is always to discover a new insight, to be able to bounce around ideas, and to teach other people. I find myself having short spurts of passion, but after that I soon become bored and lose motivation (though I power through anyway). I wish I could find something that I loved. If not, I would really like a career where I can work in teams, have a supportive work-environment, be able to be creative, and have some freedom.

    I just feel like this is a new chance to really start over, but I just don’t know what to do. Has anyone been in a similar situation? What advice would you give me? What kinds of things did you do to find yourself and not feel like an impostor? Should I just settle for a lucrative major with job opportunities?

    The Ruminant

    Hello there!

    I started smiling a bit as I read your post as I realised that you were pretty much talking about me 🙂 I’m an ENFP, I feel like creative problem solving would be the most interesting thing to do and I’m sorry to say, but I still have no idea what would be my the most important passion in life. I’ve never had a clear vision of wanting to be a dentist or a lawyer or anything like that. I have studied computer science actually and I do like computers, but not enough to be truly passionate about them, like some people.

    First of all, I’d like to say that perhaps you are feeling depressed because you are trying to fit into some kind of idea of life that’s just not realistic? Attempting to live a life that’s not in sync with reality, or constantly wishing that things were something that they are not, will be very depressing and stressful. Not everyone will have a clear idea of what they would want to do for living for the rest of their lives, and comparing yourself to those who do is not helpful.

    Secondly, to be authentic does not mean that you have to choose a career that is like it was made for you. You can be authentic and make an honest living working in any field. There is more to life than work and there is more to work than just the field that you are in. You can be happy, and your authentic self, doing pretty much anything. People become stressed and unhappy at work when they constantly wish that they weren’t doing what they were doing, instead of accepting the reality and embracing what they have. Doing something and being part of the society is more important than some hipster idea that everyone should have some passion and a dream that they should follow 🙂

    Now, if you really dislike computers, mathematics or logic, then don’t choose computer science. Also, it really is about the science, so it’s not always that practical. You’d have to be interested in the academic approach. It’s already rather difficult, and if you’d have no interest in it, it would be even more difficult. Business, on the other hand, might be rather useful regardless of what career you’ll end up having. To understand how business works is needed in every field, even if you’d end up becoming a research scientist. But I don’t want to put too many ideas in your head, as it is ultimately your choice and what you feel comfortable with.

    We don’t know where the lucrative job opportunities will be in the future. There was a great writing by Osho somewhere, where he said that parents want their children to grow up in a way so that they would do well in this world, but since the world changes all the time, doing what the parents want might become obsolete. Also, everything that we learn in school will change in time, so there really aren’t any guarantees. I’m not saying that to make it even more difficult to choose, but that perhaps there is no need to put that much importance on what you’ll choose right now?


    Oh, this thing about recognizing the situation totally 🙂

    There are a lot of ways to earn money. Sometimes the work become your passion and will be the thing you want to do day out and day in for the rest of your life. To me, that wasn’t ideal at all. I love cooking so I attended a bachelor in gastronomy. I also love sailing and being offshore so before the gastronomy I attended a close-to-shore captain degree, which is still not completed. I simply lost the interest having to read all the technical details about the subject. It bored me out having to think that I’m not going to do anything else than this in my entire life hereafter! Which is, of course, a rather foolish assumption. You have the possibility of choosing what will occupy your days. If you’d like to switch carreer after a year or two, or perhaps have several careers running alongside each other, it’s really up to you.

    I get easily bored and need stimula to keep the passion up. Mostly, I also need people around me that are just as passionate as myself, or at least are willing to follow my passion and enjoy doing the same thing as I do. You give energy and inspiration to others by living your passion, but you also need energy input to keep the passion alive.

    Count the things you really like. Doesn’t matter if you believe you can earn any money in it or not. If the only thing you like is to try new things, meet new people or visit new places, take a look around and find new ways to do so! Perhaps you’ve never tried talking french, climb a mountain or live for a week with the Masaians of the African desert? Attend a course or event and meet others who want to do exactly the same thing as you. This is what you get the energy from, how you keep your passion alive: defining your dreams as they come, and live them out.

    Now, your degree will teach you loads of things for life and is a great character-building experience, but won’t necessarily be the exact thing that you will work with afterwards. Economy and business go hand in hand and will come in handy within anything you’d want to to in the future, so I’d say they’re great choices if you’ve actually got no idea what you want to do. If you’re politically active, politics is the thing for you. In computer science you’ll really need a flare for math and logic, and well, either if you want to work with it in the end or not you’ll have to choose something that you can actually stand to study intensively for 3-5 years, or more… This is especially important as you don’t feel that you’re that passionate about any of these subjects right now.

    Sometimes passion grow by itself when you specialize within a subject. Sometimes you feel that this wasn’t for you at all. There’s always the possibility to jump off the train and take another direction. Sometimes that’s even healthier than just following the same old path for habits’ and comfortabilitys’ sake.

    Remember that it’s you, and no one else, who decide how you want to live your life. You can be richer than you’d ever imagine with less money than you thought was possible to stay alive at. Some of the richest persons in the world have no time left for family, friends or interests. Time is also a currency. What is the most important thing to you – having a lot of money or having a lot of time? Perhaps both? 😉

    I’d like to recommend a book that opened my eyes on what power you have to shape your life exactly the way you want it. Where your profession is the least important thing in your life – it’s just the way you fund your projects – and the most important thing is how you spend your time. Invest your time and read it a couple of times. If you follow this path, it’ll completely change the conditions of your life and redefine your view of making a “carreer”.



    Hey GB,

    The Ruminant and Emma have given you such great insight and advice. I would suggest try volunteering at different agencies/events, you get a taste of the industry of that agency, and you’ll meet different people there who might be able to give you insight about the careers in that industry. In other words, go out there and try different things. Like Emma and the Ruminant said, you don’t have to stick with what you study in school. In fact, a lot of people finish school and don’t even work in the area they studied for. School prepares you for thinking critically, and you can take those skills anywhere.

    I think whatever you end up doing, you’ll be great! 🙂



    I am 27 and still don’t know my purpose.

    I been through it and am still going through it.

    Here is what am I doing about it: I am doing experiments in which anything I like doing or good at it, I will do it and after 6 months I will evaluate to see if I like what I am doing and then get an education in it and put all my best. Just to give more depth, quite few of my friends told me I should be a coach. I decide first to do the internship and I realize coaches are afraid of confidentiality matter and therefore they won’t go for it. So, I found this site and everyday I am posting my words into one or two forums. We see if after six months, I want to take this to other level.

    Warm Regards,


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