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    #247316 - 07/09/20 05:48 PM Re: Taking a Gap Year or Dropping Out? [Re: Anisotropic]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 52
    Loc: Australia
    It is a discouraging reality that education and the workforce are often highly competitive environments and uneven ‘playing fields’, where some will have advantages through contacts, socioeconomic advantage or simply being in the right place at the right time.

    I encourage you, however, to continue to apply determined efforts, not necessarily to compete with others, but to gain knowledge, skills and experience, to discover and realise your own potential. Improving oneself is seldom if ever a waste of effort.

    It has been my experience that it is very frustrating trying to control external factors, but highly rewarding to work and strive within my own personal capacity. This approach has brought the most success when opportunities arise.

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    #247318 - 07/09/20 05:55 PM Re: Taking a Gap Year or Dropping Out? [Re: Anisotropic]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4228
    Originally Posted By: Anisotropic
    College admissions turned out to be a disaster... I applied to a total of nine universities: Brown, Caltech, Harvey Mudd, NYU, UChicago, UW, MIT, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. I was accepted to only three: UW, NYU, and UCLA. ...This is just the latest installment in a dreadfully long personal history of failure.
    This is *NOT* a disaster! This is *NOT* a personal failure.
    You may have unrealistic expectations...?
    Originally Posted By: Anisotropic
    Caltech hurt the most. My fluid dynamics professor had gone there for his undergrad and master's degrees and strongly recommended the school to me. He wrote my recommendation. It seemed he was happy that it would be such a good fit. Then they didn't take me.
    *Most* applicants are not accepted. You are in good company. You still have the support of your professor, and his vote of confidence in writing your letter of recommendation. Please do *NOT* dismiss the strong positives... be grateful for demonstrated support and encouragement.
    Originally Posted By: Anisotropic
    Being chosen as a Semifinalist for US Presidential Scholar helped to boost my self-esteem temporarily but the inevitable elimination in the final round only reminded me that I'll never achieve anything worthwhile...
    Again, *most* are eliminated and do not earn the title. You are in good company.
    Originally Posted By: Anisotropic
    I don't want to go to college at 18. It's a sick joke.
    Being accepted at UW, NYU, and UCLA... and beginning as a matriculated student at age 18... are *NOT* negatives. You might want to consider re-evaluating the fine opportunities before you, and concentrate on how to optimize them and make them work. This will engage your intellect and will include owning past mistakes and learning from them, so you can make better decisions as you mature... rather than focusing on the past and languishing in regret. Consider the value of enjoying validation, affirmation, and challenge as they come, rather than needing a "win" to boost your self-esteem. For example, you mentioned volunteerism... you may find that type of service to your fellow man and your community is insightful and rewarding ("giving" of your time and talent/ability rather than "receiving" acknowledgement of your talent/ability). You might also enjoy challenging yourself to take note of something you appreciate, are happy about, or grateful for, every day. Photography, especially cell-phone photography, can be helpful: an inspiring sunrise, interesting cloud formation, delicious meal, beautiful flower, gentle firefly, shade of a tree on a hot day... myriad simple joys not to be overlooked.

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    #247322 - 07/10/20 01:04 AM Re: Taking a Gap Year or Dropping Out? [Re: Wren]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1628
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: Wren
    At your age I had a great doctor who told me that I needed a therapist who was at least smart enough that I couldn't lie to.


    Someone very dear to me said to me, many years ago, that he believed any therapist must be either smarter than you, or think so completely differently to you that you can't get past them. This has always stuck with me, and is very inline with the advice Wren has given and passed on to you. Perhaps "...or thinks completely differently to you" is a useful caveat for someone as gifted as yourself.

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    #247324 - 07/10/20 08:55 AM Re: Taking a Gap Year or Dropping Out? [Re: Anisotropic]
    pinewood1 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/25/19
    Posts: 34
    I have a lot more thoughts on this, which will probably not be that well organized.

    On finding a therapist: unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of luck with this. Most therapists aren't very good, and the more statistically unusual you are (and the more ways you are statistically unusual), the less likely you will be to find a therapist who is culturally competent, so to speak, to treat you.

    You're going to have to kiss a lot of frogs, unfortunately. Maybe the best you can find will be a frog with a crown who can sort of look like a prince if you squint at him right. I find it useful to keep in mind that a therapist is someone you're hiring as a consultant to help you figure out how to run your brain better, and their job is to eventually make themselves obsolete; the responsibility ultimately rests with you, and the more you learn and figure out on your own about your psychology, the easier the process will be.

    (Ahem, unless your therapist's ego is threatened by you learning about their field. Psychology/psychotherapy is one of my passions, and I've read a lot more books and articles about it than most therapists have. Most of them do not like that.)

    On "coming in 20000th place": if you're coming in 20000th place in the entire world, that's nothing to be ashamed of. Coming from the assumption that you can rank people linearly, the chance is 1 out of 7 billion+ that you're the best in the world at whatever you strive to do. Not very good odds.

    (And I think linear ranking is an oversimplification. Was Einstein the greatest physicist who ever lived? According to what scale? Who was the greatest artist that ever lived - is that even a meaningful question? Everyone is unique, and has their own unique contribution to make that no one else can make.)

    On challenge in classwork: unfortunately, as you've found, classwork likely isn't ever going to fall in your zone of proximal development and stay that way. That doesn't mean it's worthless; it just means you need to have realistic expectations of what it can be for you. Classwork is there to get you to master a set of skills or concepts; you will pretty much always be faster at that than the pace of the course.

    The value I think classwork has is as a social pressure to do exercises on material instead of putting it off, and as an exposure to the larger conversation about and terminology of a field, and as a way to get to know people who are interested in the field. Some classes also have assignments whose ceiling you can raise yourself (unfortunately, math problem sets are not usually in that category). If you approach a class as like... a garment that comes out of the box in a standardized shape and size, but that you can tailor, dye, embroider, etc., to get as much enjoyment out of it as possible, that's a much more realistic attitude to have than expecting that the class will be automatically tailored to you. It won't.

    On having to jump through a lot of meaningless hoops: yeah, that's how the world is. I think most autistic people resent this on some level for their entire lives, but eventually learn to come to terms with it. I think that's one of the developmental tasks of autistic young adulthood.

    I think some perspective-taking helps with this. You want to make a contribution - great! But every single person who has been recognized as making a contribution, whose work didn't end up moldering in an attic unappreciated, was able to communicate that contribution to others who did not think exactly like them (or else their contribution was discovered by the wider community after their death and they were only appreciated posthumously, which I don't think is what you want). It's like how Saussure said that no one person can change a language singlehandedly - because for a change to be part of the language as spoken by a community, it has to be adopted by the community.

    Learning to sell your contributions is a skillset you're going to need to learn. Even if you get a tenure-track job, you're going to have to apply for funding, write papers that reviewers will want to publish, and convince your peers of the value of your work. Not to mention teaching.

    Finally, the question that's been weighing on my mind above all others: where were your parents in all of this? Are they actually in your corner, or are they neglectful and apathetic, or overly pressuring, or opposed to your goals? Because I think that whether you take a gap year at home, or whether it's very important to try to push yourself out of the nest, depends on the answer to that question.

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    #247326 - 07/10/20 09:42 AM Re: Taking a Gap Year or Dropping Out? [Re: pinewood1]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1544
    Originally Posted By: pinewood1
    On finding a therapist: unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of luck with this. Most therapists aren't very good, and the more statistically unusual you are (and the more ways you are statistically unusual), the less likely you will be to find a therapist who is culturally competent, so to speak, to treat you.

    It's like how Saussure said that no one person can change a language singlehandedly - because for a change to be part of the language as spoken by a community, it has to be adopted by the community.

    Learning to sell your contributions is a skillset you're going to need to learn. Even if you get a tenure-track job, you're going to have to apply for funding, write papers that reviewers will want to publish, and convince your peers of the value of your work. Not to mention teaching.



    I was lucky, my doctor back then knew someone. He was tough with me. And bringing up the fiction of a movie, Good Will Hunting is not far off the mark. I don't know how you go about finding a good therapist. Too bad there wasn't a spreadsheet with IQs. Why don't you try a university, find a professor who works with highly gifted. Even if they don't, they may be able to refer you.

    Pinewood brings up the skill sets needed to survive. Better not to learn this the hard way. You will lose a lot of jobs, no matter how brilliant you are. Though kind of conflict of terms, brilliant, yet difficulty in learning...life skill sets. Not uncommon.

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    #247338 - 07/13/20 06:21 AM Re: Taking a Gap Year or Dropping Out? [Re: Anisotropic]
    Anisotropic Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 12/09/18
    Posts: 20
    I've decided that it should've been clear from the start that since I did poorly on the CogAT and on the nonverbal portion of the WISC (even considering the other NV score) and was never identified, the preponderance of evidence suggests that I'm simply not intelligent enough to make it. This is a reality check. Colleges recognized what I was too stupid and arrogant to see myself.
    Impostor syndrome can't apply if one has no real achievements to doubt. What I doubt is my ability to succeed, and real evidence for its existence is lacking.
    I confirmed that I also received an F in English. I needed that class to graduate. Though I was given a diploma, there was an expectation I'd pass it and send the transcript from the CC where I was taking it to my HS shortly thereafter. I've just sent that transcript.
    I'm not going to graduate this year. And I don't think it's worth it to try again. So I'll be dropping out. I'd like to say I've enjoyed my time in school but that would be a lie. I have always loved learning and hated school from the bottom of my heart.
    _________________________
    "The thing that doesn't fit is the most interesting."
    -Richard Feynman

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    #247339 - 07/13/20 07:57 AM Re: Taking a Gap Year or Dropping Out? [Re: Anisotropic]
    pinewood1 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/25/19
    Posts: 34
    Oh, love. I recognize your thought patterns well.

    We'll all be here if you need to talk more. My PMs are always open.

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    #247341 - 07/13/20 08:21 AM Re: Taking a Gap Year or Dropping Out? [Re: Anisotropic]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3638
    When it's hard to believe in yourself, please lean on those who do.

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    #247342 - 07/13/20 12:47 PM Re: Taking a Gap Year or Dropping Out? [Re: Eagle Mum]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4228
    Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
    It is a discouraging reality that education and the workforce are often highly competitive environments and uneven ‘playing fields’, where some will have advantages through contacts, socioeconomic advantage or simply being in the right place at the right time.

    I encourage you, however, to continue to apply determined efforts, not necessarily to compete with others, but to gain knowledge, skills and experience, to discover and realise your own potential. Improving oneself is seldom if ever a waste of effort.

    It has been my experience that it is very frustrating trying to control external factors, but highly rewarding to work and strive within my own personal capacity. This approach has brought the most success when opportunities arise.
    Excellent advice from Eagle Mum, and well worth reading again at this point in the conversation!

    Dear Anisotropic,
    You are in good company: There are MANY who love to learn and do not like school. The learning environment may not be a good "fit." Rather than bemoaning that you did not fit any particular school (and internalize this as a personal shortcoming), you might want to consider whether a particular school did not fit you ... and happily move on, wiser for the experience, and seeking learning environments and opportunities that are a better match.

    As you begin shopping for educational and career opportunities that are a good "fit", you may wish to take a look at the documentaries "Self-Taught" and "Class Dismissed."

    The Davidson database has information for parents, which is also great for high school students. For example, information on creating one's own transcripts... especially for Do-It-Yourselfers such as homeschoolers, unschoolers, and those whose lives may be impacted by poor "fit" with available learning environments, school refusal, etc:
    - https://www.davidsongifted.org/search-database/entry/a10874
    - https://www.davidsongifted.org/search-database/entry/a10631
    - https://www.davidsongifted.org/search-database/entry/r15884

    If there is something one needs to learn (or demonstrate their knowledge of) in a particular topic, such as English, one could cull ideas from these materials to create a curriculum and/or reading list and/or project(s) to achieve their goals.

    There are other free resources as well... guidebooks on Advocacy, Gap Year, 2e, and more.
    - https://www.davidsongifted.org/young-scholars/free-guidebooks

    It is possible that seeing yourself as a Do-It-Yourselfer, a motivated, out-of-the-box thinker, even a person with some auto-didactic tendencies... may help you keep moving forward in a positive manner.

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    #247343 - 07/13/20 04:11 PM Re: Taking a Gap Year or Dropping Out? [Re: Anisotropic]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 52
    Loc: Australia
    Reading carefully through the details of your academic history, you have certainly shown that you can perform at an extremely high level because you are gifted AND talented, but have some gaps in your CV. In competitive application processes for higher levels of academia and/or work, such gaps are relevant, no matter how brilliant a candidate might be - they may affect how well a candidate meets the essential criteria of a position or raise a flag that the candidate might cherry pick their workload and shirk the less appealing duties & responsibilities of their position. Selection panels obviously do look for talent, but in my experience, they often consider reliability as a greater virtue. You will find this to be the case in any job, even if you set up your own business, because clients will value the same things as employers. Therefore, I encourage you not to give up on your pursuit of an academic career, but rather to spend some time tending to the gaps which might be holding you back.


    Edited by Eagle Mum (07/14/20 12:52 AM)

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