Hardships in life come in many forms, but we sometimes forget the people closest to us are the ones with the most to share.
When I was 18, I enrolled at university. Marine engineering. I didn’t have a reason to study shipbuilding, but at the time, it seemed like something I could enjoy.
The first year passed and I failed everything. Every course I had, even the easiest ones that everybody passed. There was an incredibly easy course on basic computer software. We learned about Microsoft Software (Word and Excel) and Mathcad and Matlab. I failed it by not coming to classes.
I just didn't show up, I didn’t care. I was lazy. I was in the wrong place.
But the year passed, I accepted my failure rather easily, and I went to work for the summer season. I enjoyed the summer, worked a lot, made some money, and a time came to choose something else.
Another academic year was almost starting, and I could choose something closer to my interests, I loved programming at the time, maybe I could have walked that road.
But I stayed in the same boat, and I repeated the whole year.
I thought: “this time it will be different”. I provided a misguided reason to change, to never give up. I realized that the reason I failed is my lack of discipline, motivation, and a general sense of direction.
And that was all true. But there was more I couldn’t see. So I took the same path, I paid for the whole year (studying in Croatia is usually free, unless you fail everything) and the result was almost the same.
Out of 12 courses, I passed 2. It was horrible. The year went in a haze, I didn’t have enough money to support myself, so I had to work. I probably wouldn't do better only studying, but while working? And 100 hours every month? For me, at that time, impossible.
So I failed again. And as the year was ending, I decided to take a different path, I would pick another study, programming, that was right for me.
Do you know through which doors I walked when the next September started? Yeah, shipbuilding. I couldn't give up, and I couldn't see why. I couldn’t see anything.
The craziest thing is, I did the same thing for another two years.
I spent five full years studying something I didn't want, working a job I didn’t like only to pay for studies that were leading me nowhere.
I constantly thought the problem was my discipline, if only I could wake up every morning at six, then I could study. If only I could stay up two nights in a row, then I could pass.
Discipline was my problem, but it was so much deeper than that. I wasn't ready to even work on myself.
How My Self-Administered Torture Finally Ended
My last year at the uni was my last chance. I had a plan as I did every September for four years before that one. And as the first semester was coming to an end I realized I had failed, again.
Unlike all the other years, this was a true fail. At our uni, there was a maximum number of years you could study. For a three year programme, I had to finish it in a maximum of six years. I was in my fifth and I was not even close.
I went to talk with the student advisor and she said there is no point for me to continue next year or even that year. I had to choose another programme or give up on studying.
I came home completely broken. Even though I didn’t act like it, I was devastated. For a brief moment, that lasted maybe a day, I had no idea what to do with my life.
The next day, I had a solution, but not a good one or a realistic one. I wanted to study computer science in the Netherlands. It was like you put my head in a tube and directed it towards a university degree.
That was all I could see, not realizing that it is ok not to study, it is ok to do something else with yout life.
That was it, my inner-self said enough and I got sick. Some inflammation of a thing inside my body. I was sick for six months, unable to work, unable to go to the Netherlands.
My plan failed again.
When You Sink So Deep, Ask For Help
Actually, ask for help sooner.
It is important to mention, all this time, I had a decent relationship with my parents. In my teens, we weren’t going on so well, but in my early twenties, we were fine. At least on the outside
I would never consider asking them for advice. How could I? In my eyes, they did everything wrong. They were the reason why I turned the way I did. How could they give advice applicable to my life?
But I remember exactly the moment. I was sitting on my bed and I called my mom, who I would never even dream of asking anything. And I just said that I have no idea what to do next. And she just said:
Son, just get a job, any job. And it will become clear
And I did, and the world opened. Suddenly things made sense, I had a path and every decision I made from that point has been a good one.
I am being honest here, not exaggerating. I made a lot of decisions since then. I changed jobs frequently, but I grew immensely. Today, I am not undisciplined, I have clear goals and plans on how to reach them. I can wake up at six if I have to, but I can also sleep longer and be happy about it.
I can enjoy my free time and my grind time. My inner progress is immeasurable because I got a job. Any job.
Don’t get me wrong. It took a few working years to feel this way, but there was immense relief already at the start. Even at the decision. Because I finally knew what to do.
Your Parents Want to Help You, But YOU Have to Ask
I am not a parent, but I believe it is difficult to see your kid suffer, and you cannot do anything. Not because you don’t know what to do, but because they won’t listen.
My mother knew, long before I asked her, what is best for me. I just couldn’t see her as someone with wisdom. I was watching motivational videos, looking for advice all over the internet, but I would never ask my parents.
And that is simply wrong.
Yes, the reason for that mostly comes out of our bad past relationship. But I can imagine other people also, as they grow older and more confident, start to see their parents as anything but authority figures.
But imagine the wisdom they have. They already went through all that. In a different time, in a different way, but they were also 23, they also studied or tried to study, and they also failed at something.
How Does My Story Help You
Your parents are usually the only people in the world who would truly help you, because of you. Use that, ask them for advice. You might be surprised about what you hear.
I really don’t know if you will find yourself in this article.
I guess there are people who get along with their parents and ask them for advice always. But there, most certainly, are people who think they have it figured out and are just sinking deeper and deeper.
If you are one of those people. Just go to your parents (if you have a relationship with them), give them a hug, tell them you love them, and ask for their help. Aks for their wisdom. Ask for their life experience.