College and occupation problems: What do I do?

To be clear on what I mean by the title:

I'm an art student, attending one of the most reputable schools in the USA. It's well known for putting out some very skilled artists and many who graduate go on to have very successful and fulfilling careers. But the classes are very rigorous and while it has a fairly high acceptance rate... the graduation rate is really only 30% or so of people who get in.

I'm wondering if I may be part of that 70%. You see I've been attending for about a year and a half. And starting last semester I've been having trouble dealing. I generally get the work done, yeah I've had the odd late assignment but it's not common for me. I've gotten Cs in all of my art classes, so I'm not failing either. But... I just can't seem but feel I've gone no where since starting. I keep feeling like everyone is just leagues ahead of me and guaranteed jobs in the future. While I... I'm destined to struggle and fight and be refused at every turn.

I don't even want to be famous, I just want to get a steady paying job doing what I love. But that is the other problem... I just feel miserable whenever I work now. It's not that I don't like the work... My head just gets filled with all these thoughts of how inadequate I am as an artist and every time I get an awful critique I break into tears. I mean... I'm 20 years old! I shouldn't be breaking into tears like that, but every critique that goes south I feel awful and I keep thinking it's a sign that no matter how bad I want this and no matter how bad I want to create art for a living that I'm just not going to be able to.

I've started considering leaving and going for another job, I've considered going for a bachelor's degree in History, English, with a minor in art and then going for a masters in library science. I have a plan for that if I do decide in the end. But... I feel like if I give up I'm going to be miserable. Like if I can't do this then why should I bother with anything else? I'm even proving right those who tried to turn me away. And what about the regret of giving up something I want? And then there are my friends... I admit... When it comes to friends I have issues with abandonment and rejection especially bad after some personal problems last semester. I've made friends with three absolutely wonderful people but... Every time I'm away from friends of any sort I... I wind up stopping existing to them. It happens every time and why wouldn't it happen this time? I never get any messages, no phone calls... I'm just isolated and alone and flat out miserable. And I have problems talking to people so I don't know about making new friends... And on top of it all I just feel like I won't be able to handle anything. I'm 20 and I still haven't worked this shit out... Which is pathetic by all accounts.

I feel like a scared little kid. Nervous and unsure of what to do. I've tried talking to my friends and family but all I get is a song and dance about how I have improved and that I am meant to be there. Which rings a little false when I keep hearing about people who they all are 'amazed even got in'.

For what it's worth I'm seeing a counselor, I won't be able to see him for a while but... Still I am seeing one. I have until the end of this semester to decide so... I got a little while to decide this.

I don't even know what I'm asking for in terms of advice... Just something to help me feel better.

First of all, it's normal to feel like a failure at 20. You crawl out of high school, thinking you know everything, but then the real world kicks you in the nuts. Almost everyone feels completely powerless and that they have no future. Hell, I'm 22, dropped out of school, now I have no job, and I think I won't even get to finish University once I get in again, thanks to my financial situation.

So my word of advice: CALM THE FUCK DOWN!
Things won't happen over night, and being stressed out about your future certainly won't help.

Get a few hobbies and make a few friends is the best advice you can receive now (I understand you have barely any, please correct me if it's not true). Getting jobs is all about knowing people, and quite frankly, you will have to make friends at one point in life or the other. Stop looking for buddy, best friends for life "friends", but try to gain friends to whom you can be valuable to and vice versa. Go for quantity over quality and weed out the weak.

People come and go, don't be too hard on yourself for not being a career artist at 20. I'll be happy if I can help support my family in the coming months.

Protip: If your school has high dropout rates, get mentally ready for the possibility that you might not make it. It will definitely help.

 

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