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Ask HN: In a bad spot right now in life, need advice
20 points by SpanishConf 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 58 comments
I am in a pretty bad spot right now, and I do not know simply what do with my life. I am from Spain, 19, and M. I graduated from HS 1 year ago and went to a what is considered a 2nd-tier Uni here in Spain to study CS, because my grades in HS and the SAT were bad.

I had never actually “coded” or had done anything remotely CS related before I went to Uni.

I chose CS mainly because I’ve always been interested in tech but just let’s just say in the “consumer-oriented” aspect of it, never really having acquired a useful skill throughout all the years I’ve spent in front of a PC being an introvert in HS, other than I guess ENG. And so, during my 1st semester I failed all of my finals.

I also don’t know how to study or actually learn things by the way.

I failed all of my finals because of a combination of reasons, but I’d say the biggest one by far is my own laziness and lack of will to actually work, and also me not being “smart” when it comes down to math and such, with which I’ve struggled all my life, which makes you think “oh, why did you go into CS, then”.

Now, after dropping outta Uni this last June, I’m staying at my parents’ home for a year, getting my driver’s license and such and preparing for Vocational School next year, which I couldn’t get into this year because in my region of Spain you could only apply during the Month of May and I fucked up. I am planning to choose “Web Development”, but I haven’t done anything throughout this last summer and up until now. During all my years in HS I also lied to other people about who I was. I even told them I made trailers for DICE and made money online, so now I have no friends I can speak in town where my parents live because other than the fact that they’re all in university I am ashamed of all of those lies I told and the false persona I created to justify my introversion. I’m depressed, in a way. I’m scheduled to see psychologist in 2-wa, so we’ll see.

Anyways, if you’ve made it this far, thanks in advance




I'm 26, male. I sort relate to your situation when I was 19.

Interested in CS since spent a lot of time in front of a PC as well. You would consider me "average" at UNI. Studied CS at the top UNI of México (not an IVY league), but good enough to catch attention of FAANG's. Never stellar in comparison to my other classmates who had been programming since they were 12. Spent a lot of time with videogames since HS and UNI, and fooled around classes a lot. Felt like a bum when graduated (compared to what my classmates were achieving at those times).

Two tips:

1. Ditch videogames, porn, binge-watching series/movies/random videos, gambling, drinking, etc. Anything that is taking 3-4 hours of chunk of your time per day. You need this time for tip number 2.

2. Show up everyday. Start picking books, tutorials, courses, articles on Web Programming, Python, Algorithms, Security, Business, etc. On a daily basis, 2 hours per day. After 2 or 3 years it will be drilled in your head, you will feel competent and grow confidence. It is extremely important that you do this everyday, even on weekends, double it down on weekends.

I feel so much better right now after 4-5 years. My employers consider me a top performer and handle me responsibilities (and compensation) way beyond someone my age.

Vamos hombre!


A ver, primero de todo me gustaría decirte que me parece, y con todo el debido respeto, un poco hipócrita decir que eras un estudiante medio considerando que fuistes a la mejor universidad de tu país (no sé, en España si te vas a estudiar a las mejores unis del estado eres considerado listo ya solo de promedio, así que bueno, entiendes lo que te quiero decir, no,en fin).

Gracias por tus consejos, y los intentaré seguir. Me ha sorprendido un poco lo del porno xD. Por suerte no bebo y tal, así que al menos eso a mí no me supone un problema.

Para terminar, me alegro de que ahora mismo estés en una situación laboral buena y que seas uno de los mejores trabajadores en tu empresa. Me gustaría felicitarte por ello ;)


No es ser hipocrita. Es muy fácil sentirte "promedio" cuando tienes al lado gente que lleva programando 5-6 años antes que tú. Personas que hicieron su primer app a los 13, un compilador a los 15, un ERP a los 17. Te llevan años de ventaja.

Un estudiante "promedio" va la escuela pasa sus materias; las sufre un poco y se gradua. No destaca, no hace un extra. No importa si estudies en Stanford, Harvard o la Universidad Técnica #116 de tu país. Ser de 'x' o 'y' lugar no hace diferencia.

Una computadora de 200 euros con conexión a internet y disciplina es lo único que necesitas para armarte un futuro.


>No es ser hipocrita. Es muy fácil sentirte "promedio" cuando tienes al lado gente que lleva programando 5-6 años antes que tú. Personas que hicieron su primer app a los 13, un compilador a los 15, un ERP a los 17. Te llevan años de ventaja. Un estudiante "promedio" va la escuela pasa sus materias; las sufre un poco y se gradua. No destaca, no hace un extra. No importa si estudies en Stanford, Harvard o la Universidad Técnica #116 de tu país. Ser de 'x' o 'y' lugar no hace diferencia.

Me refería a la capacidad intelectual, no a la experiencia. Y que obviamente, los dos factores importan.


Do you play a lot of video games? If so, I would recommend dropping them completely. At lest until your life is where you want it. I spent all HS playing video games and regret loosing so much time of my life. What’s more, they are highly addictive and have severely stunted the progress of many people I know closely. It will probably be hard but you’ll be amazed the difference it makes in your ability to work hard and stay motivated.


Firstly, I fully support anyone striving to better themselves, even if that means deciding that they're too weak to handle things like video games. (and I use the term "weak" in a none-judgmental manner, fwiw)

But, with that said.. if someone feels the need to cut something from their life entirely, I recommend looking closely at why that thing is such a problem. Be it drinking, recreational drugs, video games, etc. Even something as "harmless" as procrastination, reddit, facebook, etc.

I say this because I feel the root cause is likely to haunt you no matter what you ignore. If there is a gap in your life such that something mildly addictive can take over than there is likely a larger problem at play. In my own life, I've tried to do the same with procrastination - ie, Reddit/etc. I've found that while I can ban Reddit, I'm not inherently stopping the feedback loop, I'm just changing changing what causes that loop.

My 2c? Look at the inputs to your life and cut out any you don't think are useful. Video games may help you relax, they may be useful! Of course, you can choose to use something else for relaxation. The key however, is to use everything your life in proper moderation. Sit down and think about what percentages of your life these components should take and make an effort to balance life, work, sleep and play. Balance is insanely difficult, especially in the face if unhealthy inputs. If work is too hard you may feel the need to drown your sorrows. It's not easy to change careers or jobs, but I simply ask that you identify the root issues in your life, and adjust as best you can.

Your balance will be different than mine, only you can figure that out. Best wishes friend(s), take care of yourself :)


They even killed a young man I know. He dropped out, moved into a friend's basement, played video games and drank only beer. Only beer, for months. Liver damage, death.


videogames damaged a man's liver and KILLED him? nah, i don't think so.


Don't be deliberately dense. It was the addiction that killed him, made him ignore his health and diet, ignore his friends and family


Fuck


Yeah, I kinda do sometimes, but not that much. My biggest distraction by far atm (and always) is Youtube though :/


LeechBlock does wonders to me. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/leechblock-ng...

Or try to switch to some CS/programming tutorial videos.


How well did stopping gaming go for you?


as another spaniard almost 20 years older than you that went through a similar thing:

- get a service job (supermarket, fast food, warehouse hand, whatever) so you can pay for your driving license (and other stuff) yourself. if you're feeling down, a semblance of self sufficiency will do wonders for you. try to keep that job when you resume your studies.

- it seems that you're born to immigrant parents. THIS is a competitive advantage if you frame it like so: you know how hard it is for immigrant people to thrive and adapt. maybe easing this difficulties for newcomers is a worthy pursuit?. volunteer while you find a job.

- stop faking, for other people and mostly for yourself. you seem to know a lot about economy and the job market. you don't. IT in spain doesn't pay that well (moreso if you are inexperienced), and is highly volatile. 'stable' jobs don't exist anymore.

good luck, and be patient. most people around here will treat you as a child until you're at least 7-8 years older. it's okay and normal to feel lost and disheartened.


How you figure he was born to immigrant parents?


because I read what he posted before I post myself:

  > My parents are also from Ukraine, and in my part of Spain the language commonly spoken "on the streets" is Catalan, so within the timespan of a day I always have to changee between and speak 5 different languages (Outside- > Catalan and Spanish, Computer-> English & Spanish, Family-> Ukrainian and Russian)


Wow, that is a skill that should be marketable in itself!


Surprisingly less so in Europe.


Te hablo en castellano porque se puede :)

>- get a service job (supermarket, fast food, warehouse hand, whatever) so you can pay for your driving license (and other stuff) yourself. if you're feeling down, a semblance of self sufficiency will do wonders for you. try to keep that job when you resume your studies.

A ver,no ser si lo he explicado antes pero lo que me ha pasado es que cuando me decidí dejar la uni pues entonces ya era junio y aquí en la C. Valenciana solo te puedes registrar para el FP duranre el mes de mayo. Por eso me "quedo" este año en casa de mis padres, y son ellos mismos los que no quieren que trabaje por ahora en un trabajo manual, porque ellos trabajan en trabajos manuales (inmigración de la época de Aznar, eh) y prefieren que "estudie" por ahora. Tú qué piensas sobre esto? ¿Debería intentar encontrar algo igualmente?

>- it seems that you're born to immigrant parents. THIS is a competitive advantage if you frame it like so: you know how hard it is for immigrant people to thrive and adapt. maybe easing this difficulties for newcomers is a worthy pursuit?. volunteer while you find a job.

Perdón pero aquí no te entiendo. Sí, mis padres son inmigrantes, pero yo soy y me comporto como un español valenciano, no sé a qué te refieres en concreto con lo de que me

>you know how hard it is for immigrant people to thrive and adapt. maybe easing this difficulties for newcomers is a worthy pursuit?.

Qué quieres decir con "worthy pursuit?

Y además, vivo a día de hoy en un pueblo de 2500 habitantes, así que no sé dónde y en qué podría trabajar de voluntario, francamente.

>- stop faking, for other people and mostly for yourself. you seem to know a lot about economy and the job market. you don't. IT in spain doesn't pay that well (moreso if you are inexperienced), and is highly volatile. 'stable' jobs don't exist anymore.

A ver, con lo de stable me refería en verdad a que según todo lo que he leído, me han explicado, etc... hay trabajo en el sector y no es como si te graduaras en -inserir grado sin mucha salida profesional-. Entiendo perfectamente que el sector TIC en España en relación a saliarios es una mierda y que uno al empezar tiene que trabajar en una cárnica de mierda, pero a ver, es estable porque hay trabajo en el sector.

Sí, tengo que parar de mentir. Pero cuesta, más que nada por el hecho de que he mentido tanto que eso ha subido mucho mi ego y eso cuesta de bajar :/

>good luck, and be patient. most people around here will treat you as a child until you're at least 7-8 years older. it's okay and normal to feel lost and disheartened.

Gracias a ti por contestar al thread y por tus consejos ;)!


Lo de los padres inmigrantes no era ningún tipo de crítica malintencionada ni nada por el estilo. Me refiero a que seguramente existan dificultades a las que se haya tenido que enfrentar tu familia en cuanto a trámites administrativos, discriminación, no lo sé... y que eso es un conocimiento valioso que puedes tratar de explotar de algún modo (worthy pursuit = un objetivo digno de perseguir). Como mínimo hablas un montón de idiomas, cosa que la mayoría de la gente de tu entorno seguramente no hace. ¡Eso es una _gran_ ventaja!

Articular este conocimiento de forma útil (la manera depende de tus circunstancias: voluntariado, hacer de intérprete para algún recién llegado, hacer una web con información, un canal de youtube en ukraniano explicando como es la vida en españa...) o buscar un trabajo que te dé un poco de autonomía era un comentario un poco más orientado a mejorar tu situación y tu autoestima mientras pasas este momento de confusión vital hasta mayo del año que viene, no como una opción de carrera para el resto de tu vida. Pasar por distintos trabajos en distintos sectores también te dará perspectiva, pero no te ates a ninguno.

Suerte y al toro! (topicazo español que nunca pensé que escribiría en hackernews ;)


> I chose CS mainly because I’ve always been interested in tech but just let’s just say in the “consumer-oriented” aspect of it, never really having acquired a useful skill throughout all the years I’ve spent in front of a PC

So let's assume you gained some power user skills. Can you help people with tech? Can you tweak Windows or slow Android tablet, recover some deleted files with point and click program? Start helping people around, get a job in some tech repair shop. Understand how and why things work. Learn, learn, learn. Once you will see issues and inefficiencies around you, do on-line Python course and start automating things.

There is no rush, give yourself a time to discover your path.


I'm reading a book now which I recommend, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F^ck", and which has been mentioned on HN before. You may find it helpful or at least interesting.

You communicate naturally, so I encourage you to find a job where you can talk with a lot of different people every day. That will also help expose you to more and different things.

Don't beat yourself up for not fitting into one of the molds that the educational system defines. Read the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson and you will realize just how much of a misfit he was.


> I'm reading a book now which I recommend, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F^ck", and which has been mentioned on HN before. You may find it helpful or at least interesting.

Great, I'll read it.

> You communicate naturally, so I encourage you to find a job where you can talk with a lot of different people every day. That will also help expose you to more and different things.

I'm sorry, but such as? Tech Support?

> Don't beat yourself up for not fitting into one of the molds that the educational system defines. Read the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson and you will realize just how much of a misfit he was.

I'll try to read that too! Yeah, I'm definitely a misfit for sure.

Thanks for your response :)


> You communicate naturally, so I encourage you to find a job where you can talk with a lot of different people every day. That will also help expose you to more and different things.

I guess product-related (PO, PM), UX-related or business-developer/sales jobs, maybe for tech companies


I guess I have to ask how does one get started with that?


You'll need some kind of degree to get a first job in such area. CS degrees are the best for it, but it should be possible to pull it off with a business degree that has some tech focus.


Not tech support but more like sales, relationship management, tour guide, anything where you can have extended conversations with people. A tech support role that is in person (as opposed to over the phone) would be okay.


Alright, I'll look into it, thanks!

Problem is, as always, actually getting started with something, though :/


> but I’d say the biggest one by far is my own laziness and lack of will to actually work...

How do you feel about military service?

In the US; voluntary military service is seen as a path to gain discipline, experience, and academic scholarships. España may have similar benefits > http://www.reclutamiento.defensa.gob.es/como-ingresar/reserv...


I feel too old for service now, but out of curiosity - where can people serve if they don't agree with the political/military climate? Ie, I always wanted to serve but I didn't want to go kill largely innocent people in other countries.

Eventually I realized that the police force was far more up my alley. Yet, even that is difficult due to the militarization of the police force and the general unrest between civilians and police.

Is there an area that feels largely.. good? A mostly positive force for humanity? To serve the betterment of others, not so much war?

NOTE: I hope you (readers) can take my question at face value, and not argue my opinions regarding police and/or military. No judgement intended, but my question is all I am hoping to discuss :)


> where can people serve if they don't agree with the political/military climate?

Start looking at Humanitarian and Civil Service organizations.

A few with Global Reach -

> http://www.caritasmadrid.org/voluntariado

> https://www.unv.org/

> https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/org997668.jsp


Your post could have been made by me in 1995. I barely graduated high school and had lied a lot, mostly to my parents. I joined the US Air Force and some time in there, I just decided that lying was more trouble than it is worth. Now, I never lie. Ever. Period. It is very freeing. Now, as for your career. I wouldn't be so down about not knowing what to do. My career track was Air Force->College->Electrical Engineer->Technical Sales->Embedded Engineer->Software Developer

Not necessarily the model of climbing the ladder, but I've learned something at every stop along the way. It's amazing the things that seem trivial at the time, but 20 years later still provide value.

It sounds like you may need to spend some time on what kind of person you want to be. Don't put too much of your identity into what you do for money. Maybe spend some time trying to help others. Helping others can put your own struggles into perspective.

Good luck. I'll be praying for you.


Interesting to see people having different life paths. Thanks for sharing your personal story :)


> I also don’t know how to study or actually learn things by the way.

I just posted this in a different thread, but it's very relevant here:

For the idea of building and improving the analytical part of your brain, I highly recommend the Coursera course Learning How to Learn by Dr. Barbara Oakley. [0] An excerpt from her Wikipedia page[1]:

After her Army duties ended, Oakley decided to challenge herself and see if her brain, more used to the study of languages, could be 'retooled' to study mathematical subjects. She chose to study engineering, in order to better understand the communications equipment she had been working with in the Army.

[0]: https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn [1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Oakley


Interesting, I'll check this out indeed.


-> I chose CS mainly because I’ve always been interested in tech but just let’s just say in the “consumer-oriented” aspect of it, never really having acquired a useful skill throughout all the years I’ve spent in front of a PC being an introvert in HS, other than I guess ENG. And so, during my 1st semester I failed all of my finals.

Have you ever thought of something else for your job? If you haven't got any motivation in this, you might consider looking elsewhere.


Hey try reading this article by Tim Urban https://waitbutwhy.com/2018/04/picking-career.html


Wow, really interesting and informative. I'll try to read the link carefully and actually get to understand what the author is trying to convey.

Thanks a lot!


I do not mean this to be mean, it is something that made me feel less stupid and worthless when I was younger. Smart doesn't often succeed all by itself, but hard work usually does.

You gotta put in the work if you want the result. Luckily, you can choose your own challenges.

Maybe you're not a book learner. Try getting a job shadowing someone with some skills you want and learning on the job. Maybe try online development classes instead of school. Hell, start hacking around with unity3d or something fun if you want to feel like you're not wasting your time while learning.


> 19

19 year old Spanish guy. Hear me clearly: YOU HAVE SO MUCH TIME!

One of the big down sides to being a millennial (maybe you're Generation Z?) is that we've grown up in an era that makes us believe that if we aren't Zuckerbot by the time we're 22 then we've failed and are slacking.

Simply not true.

Plenty of other commenters will give you advice related to other things, but let me just say again, for emphasis: MAN, YOU HAVE SO MUCH TIME TO DO EVERYTHING AND ACHIEVE EVERYTHING. In no way have you "f@ck3d your life permanently". You have so much time. Make the most, out of the rest of it :)

Cheers


Hahaha, thanks for your advice. But I understand that to "make it" one has to start young, for better or worse.


there is a series of books by this woman named Barbara Oakley, she studied languages while she did military service because all throughout her schooling she felt bad at math and science, now she has a PHd in Engineering, you might get something out of reading them, the first one (or at least the more influential one) is called "A Mind for Numbers"

there are also other books you might get something out of, thinking about pursuing a career in web development, which is related to computer science and programming, too many to list, but a couple I've read recently and think are really worth reading are "How to Solve it" by G. Polya, and "Think Like a Programmer" by V. Anton Spraul

also, don't feel to down for flunking, or get the idea that vocational school is less worthwhile than University (short them, maybe, but if you're good, it doesn't matter if you didn't get a University Degree, I myself have a job as a Software Developer and haven't gotten a degree)

do be honest from now on, and stay disciplined, there was this guy (can't remember the name right now) who said that we aren't truly free unless we are disciplined, for we are slaves to our bodily urges, and to our laziness, or something to that effect

asking for help is a start, stay motivated!


Already started reading one of those books, thanks, stay motivated in life you too ;)


Do you really want to do CS? If not, that is OK! There is no One True Path (TM) to geek bliss.

Is there anything else you'd like to do? Maybe something that's more of a technician role, where you use tech rather than designing it? Say, like an auto mechanic or IT administration, where you'll be using your hands and "doing" rather than cranking out lines of code.

Also, good on ya for going to talk to a professional. I was in a similar jam a while back and it made all the difference.


> Do you really want to do CS? If not, that is OK! There is no One True Path (TM) to geek bliss.

I hope, but here in Spain, may I reiterate, it's a stable job so you get an idea why I like CS further than just liking because of whatever other reason, and all the other paths other than software development are weird and very not stable. I like CS, but I am lazy and again, not very smart (which I am not ashamed I am not very smart and so on, it's just a matter of fact, call it IQ call it whatever, I don't have a talent for logic).

> Is there anything else you'd like to do? Maybe something that's more of a technician role, where you use tech rather than designing it? Say, like an auto mechanic or IT administration, where you'll be using your hands and "doing" rather than cranking out lines of code.

I don't like cars so auto-mechanic is sadly a no-no for me, IDK about IT Administration, afaik, most people get to be managers and such at IT Companies after being for some years proficient coders and software developers, which I guess would not be the best path for me. But indeed, I should investigate!

> Also, good on ya for going to talk to a professional. I was in a similar jam a while back and it made all the difference.

Great for you :)! After going to the doctor here a lot recently because of many reasons, she finally decided to send me to one, so we'll see how it goes!

Thank you for your response :)


In my case, I felt that I desperately wanted to work hard, but getting into a state of flow was rare, and as deadlines approached I often felt like I was pushing an unstable boulder uphill, like Sisyphus. This caused, and sometimes still causes, some terrible procrastination issues. I felt so guilty when I turned in mediocre efforts when I could have done so much more. In my case, it turned out to be anxiety issues (though everyone is different). Now that I recognize what was going awry, I can face it head on, and I am getting better every day.

It sounds like you're doing all that you can, friend. By the way, I think you're selling yourself short; you're a great communicator, especially for someone writing in a non-native language. That is absolutely NOT the mark of a lazy or unclever person.

Best of luck in your future endevours! :)


>In my case, I felt that I desperately wanted to work hard, but getting into a state of flow was rare, and as deadlines approached I often felt like I was pushing an unstable boulder uphill, like Sisyphus. I felt so guilty, even though I love my field. In my case, it turned out to be anxiety issues (though everyone is different!)

Interesting, I think I too share this "state of mind", so to speak. Sometimes I think more about how I should be working instead of doing whatever that when I actually get to do "work" I don't do it "properly" or "adequately" because I am simply "anxious" and the only thing I can think about is simply not fucking up instead of doing what should be done, just working. Hopefully that's your "similar" problem, however couple that with depression and laziness and you've got a recipe for failure like me ;)

But it's great that going to the psychologist helped you out.

I'm gonna assume you're American because the rule of thumb is to assume everyone is American on the English Internet by default because statistically it's more likely to be true and say that going to the psychologist is probably like more accepted there than here? Like here in Spain it took a little bit of convincing or "thinking" for my "public healthcare" doctor to assign me to a psychologist so IDK. Either way, great!

>It sounds like you're testing several avenues, friend. By the way, I think you're selling yourself short; you're a great communicator, especially for someone writing in a non-native language.

_Makes random mistake while writing, gets over-anxious about it as a consequence of being praised for (etc..)_ :)

Hahaha, thanks. That's what you get as a reward for years and years of Introversion spending lots of time alone reading and commenting on reddit and more recently (over the last year or so) on HN and watching YouTube content in English everyday hahaha :)

My parents are also from Ukraine, and in my part of Spain the language commonly spoken "on the streets" is Catalan, so within the timespan of a day I always have to changee between and speak 5 different languages (Outside- > Catalan and Spanish, Computer-> English & Spanish, Family-> Ukrainian and Russian), sometimes even within a time frame of a minute, so I'm just used to "different languages" in general (sometimes I even wonder how do I not mix all of those 5 languages up and I've found that I tend to do that more at the spoken irl level, actually). But seriously, I am bad at math and that sucks for me :P

>Best of luck in your future endevours! :)

You too!


> Outside- > Catalan and Spanish, Computer-> English & Spanish, Family-> Ukrainian and Russian

Wow, your language skills look decent. Join it with some IT curiosity and make some help website/forum/services for Ukrainian and Russian people in Spain, you would be surprised how much demand it may bring you. You can try get Certified Translator title too both in Spain and Ukraine to boost credibility. I know Central European immigrant who did it in Spain -- constant flow of customers.


Do not overwhelm yourself with all that happened. Write down all the things you want to do in your life. You are only 19 and you can achieve a lot. Start by doing little of whatever you want to learn, like coding. Give yourself some time to accomplish what you want. But the key is keep learning little by little everyday. In next few years you can still get good in computer science and also become a good web developer. Good luck.


I can relate with some parts of this story. Used to be a "throwaway" kid with no future, dropped out of high school, etc.

The best advice I can give you is to not care about education (it's a waste of time for the most part) and learn to solve real problems. Every second of your free "work" time (don't forget to also take time off to go out and enjoy yourself) should be invested into your skills so you get a return on that investment later. When you're doing something, ask yourself how is this relevant to your goal of earning money and whether it will give you a skill/experience you can reuse later. If it can't, then stop and do something else.

Learn a web framework (I recommend Django); web development is easy and doesn't require advanced theoretical knowledge (where a CS degree might actually be useful), pays well and will stay relevant even in the "apps" era as those still need a backend server to talk to. This will also give you the ability to build projects end-to-end which is extremely valuable when you're trying to launch your own startup and don't necessarily have the funding to pay someone just to make you an MVP.

Once you do this, build a few projects, open-source them (just so you have a portfolio to show off) and then move out to London or similar non-shit town where people are valued by their experience and skills instead of meaningless pieces of paper (I am from France and this was the situation there, and I assume Spain is sadly similar although there might be a startup scene in Barcelona so maybe try there?).

Good luck!


> I can relate with some parts of this story. Used to be a "throwaway" kid with no future, dropped out of high school, etc.

> The best advice I can give you is to not care about education (it's a waste of time for the most part) and learn to solve real problems. Every second of your free "work" time (don't forget to also take time off to go out and enjoy yourself) should be invested into your skills so you get a return on that investment later. When you're doing something, ask yourself how is this relevant to your goal of earning money and whether it will give you a skill/experience you can reuse later. If it can't, then stop and do something else.

Capitalism at work :), but yes. I also find it hard to self-asses if what I am doing sometimes is "lucrative" or not.

> Learn a web framework (I recommend Django); web development is easy and doesn't require advanced theoretical knowledge (where a CS degree might actually be useful), pays well and will stay relevant even in the "apps" era as those still need a backend server to talk to. This will also give you the ability to build projects end-to-end which is extremely valuable when you're trying to launch your own startup and don't necessarily have the funding to pay someone just to make you an MVP.

Okay, I could get started on that. Thanks for making a specific recommendation, I'll look into it for sure.

> Once you do this, build a few projects, open-source them (just so you have a portfolio to show off) and then move out to London or similar non-shit town where people are valued by their experience and skills instead of meaningless pieces of paper (I am from France and this was the situation there, and I assume Spain is sadly similar although there might be a startup scene in Barcelona so maybe try there?).

Hahaha, I can't move out of Spain atm because of family reasons sadly so London is a big no-no for me and sadly Barcelona is expensive "af^99" compared to literally anywhere else in Spain, except maybe Bilbao or Madrid especially housing wise. I've heard about Barcelona's vibrant startup scene (afaik it's the biggest one in S. Europe) and I also speak Catalan Natively but I'm not Catalan (actually it's my "first-first native language, other than Spanish" which means I am already ahead integration wise vs other people there, but again it's just too darn expensive. But I guess I'll see if I make it after vocational school.

I've read the situation in France in regard to what we call here "titulitis" (titulo-> degree, "degreetitis" making it sound like a bad medical condition) and that it's hard for people there to get an engineering job unless they have master.

In Spain it's also bad but afaik with Vocational School it's better but not great.

Also, we got fucked pretty hard with the Bologna Plan in regard to unis.

If anyone who reads this understands Spanish, this video is a must watch to just comprehend how much we got royally fucked over: https://youtu.be/sUYBKSm9Si4

> Good luck!

You too, thanks for your response, neighbor :)


Here is my crazy idea.

Walk "El camino de Santiago". This will give you a daily goal, it will keep you busy and it will get you out of the current depressing routine, allowing you to reset your mind. You will meet new people and change your outlook on the world. It will also increase your confidence.


Heh, heh. To be completely honest a little bit too fat for it atm, and I don't exactly want to go to the Northern Part of my country that has (and this is factually true) a worse weather rain wise than England especially during autumn.

But I can see how it can be a life changing experience :)


Take a step back and let's look at what you've done, what you're good at and what you love to do.

More often that not, we tend to overlook what we're good at and simply passing it off but to others, it might be an incredible skill to have that can be applied in many different instances.


For studying I basically followed this: http://calnewport.com/blog/2011/05/18/anatomy-of-an-a-a-look...

tl;dr, you write compressed notes, or cornell notes style, which is all the concepts presented to you in a semester. You then attempt to teach these concepts to an invisible class: "If you can’t, out loud or on paper, explain the idea without confusion or contradiction, stop and figure it out right there."

If you've been an end-user for most of your life, you are probably good at user interface design having used an endless sequence of shitty UI. This course has almost everything open like recorded lectures http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bam/uicourse/05863fall17/schedule.htm... then go about practicing by redesigning free templates for Shopify/Wordpress or create your own.

CS curriculum for me consisted entirely of terribly boring Java courses to the point I considered dropping out, as I was just doing the bare minimum of work to stay afloat, until I abandoned the recommended curriculum and started taking complexity theory classes. Theoretical CS for me at least was motivating and interesting, maybe it will be for you, go through some of this playlist, see if you're interested. If you are then if it's possible try to re-enroll in university, and use expii.com to practice basic math https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWnu2XymDtORV--qG2uG5eQ/pla...


Interesting :)


OK. This is a throaway account, I'm a Software Engineer with 10 years of experience working in Madrid. Currently head of development of a 5-people team. This is my advice, take it if you want.

# About failing in University

Failing some semesters in Ingeniería Informática (Computer Science in Spanish universities for our English speaking friends) is normal. Nobody pass the exams on the first try but:

- People with extensive Math experience (not my case). - People that study like all day (my case). - Gifted people (sadly also not my case).

So, you're not less than anybody. From I remember, the average time the students spent to achieve the degree was like 7-9 years. I spent 5 + 1/2 years (I know I'm old and our degrees were 5 years) but had no social life (apart from my girlfriend) and ended the degree with a anxiety, depression, stress... Let's say my mental health was deficient.

In recent years the degree has improved and Software Engineering degree (at least in Madrid) has more practice classes and has less theoretical content.

# About lying, depression, seen a psychologist

Everything you have written is normal. You are not a freak or are damaged, stupid or whatever deleterious thing you think about yourself. You were unprepared for one of the most difficult degrees in Spain. High School is a joke and (during my time) nobody had enough foundations to pass the tests without private teachers help or without studying very hard. You are most of people.

Maybe this is an unpopular opinion but do not lie, be a man and accept what you are and the consequences of your actions.

You think you are not smart? Do you think that everybody that is successful is smart? They work like hell and work in a smart way (like checking old tests of a subject when studying).

What are you passioned about?

During recent times when I'm low of morale I like to read "Marcus Aurelius Meditations" [1] and watch motivational videos [2][3][4][5] (funny isn't it? But it works). Once you know in your inner-self that your life is ephemeral and you are destined to greatness, you'll start working.

I visited two psychologist for years after university (and other health issues that depressed me). It helped me to gain confidence and believe in myself. Also, how to be organized and to know that I was not crazy and that my feelings were normal.

# Study/Work/Etc.

Have two plans: short-term and long-term. My advice would be:

## Short term

Study your vocational degree and do some projects on the side. Useful projects that motivate you. Try to start working at a job as soon as you end your studies (if you can, choose a "dual FP" (FP with emphasis in real work practices).

Hop each year or two years until you are earning enough money to live a comfortable life. Now the hard part starts.

## Long term

During your short term period you have discovered:

- You crave for understanding of the foundations of software. - You have a glass ceiling if you don't have an University degree.

Do not panic. Enroll in a distance university (UNED is fine, Universidad de Burgos seems easier but more expensive, etc.) and take some courses each year. You'll graduate in like 7-8 years. I know you'll have to make sacrifices like studying in the summer and in the weekends but keep the good work. When you graduate you'll have enough real-work experience to double your salary and from now on, increase each year or couple of years.

Move to where the work is, i.e. Madrid.

# Corolarium

I hope I've helped you, or at least I've given you something to think about.

If you want more advice or need to talk about your future, I'm available at whateveruserhn@gmail.com.

[1] https://www.amazon.es/Meditaciones-Serie-Great-Ideas-12/dp/8...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFalmesXWMY

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjejTQdK5OI

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21FHc9hN-WI

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abeAA6Apt80


Perdón por no haberte contestado antes. Acabo de leer todo lo que has escrito y lo he intentado comprender bien leyéndolo de manera atenta. Gracias por haber respondido al hilo :)

>So, you're not less than anybody. From I remember, the average time the students spent to achieve the degree was like 7-9 years. I spent 5 + 1/2 years (I know I'm old and our degrees were 5 years) but had no social life (apart from my girlfriend) and ended the degree with a anxiety, depression, stress... Let's say my mental health was deficient.

Jajaja, entonces ni teníais el plan bolonia, sí que eres viejuno de verdad ;)

En fin, me he leído todo lo que me has escrito. «Acepto» tus consejos, excepto dos.

1. Lo de irme a vivir a Madrid. A ver, no sé si me explico, soy valenciano, estuve una vez en Madrid hace poco y no me gustó mucho, la verdad, en todo caso creo que hay según tengo entendido bastante trabajo en la area metropolitana de Valencia así que primero de todo empezaría por ir a buscar trabajo de por aquí más cerquita.

2. A día de hoy tengo pensado hacer un FP en DAW or DAM primero de todo, antes de pensar en «volver» a la universidad o lo que sea. ¿Piensas que el FP sería un error para mi?

Bueno, muchas gracias por todo otra vez, y me cuesta pero estoy intentando de cualquier manera, ya desde hace 4 meses, aceptar que es normal (y según recuerdo se da en el 60% de los casos) que me haya dejado la carrera de i. informática, aunque de verdad sea una putada muy grande. Lo peor de todo es que sabía perfectamente que esto en su momento ya me podía pasar y tal, pero nunca tomé las medidas adecuadas para prevenir lo evitable.




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