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Need help with life decisions

Sorry if I’m not posting this in the right topic. Anyway I am senior in high school graduating soon. I’ve never applied myself in school; not to use my dyslexia and adhd as an excuse, but theyve held me back. I would like to pursue either 2d animation/film/art. Or possibly ethical hacking. I’ve basically ruined any great opportunities of college, nor do I think id benefit or enjoy it. I know this isn’t like a self help forum, but I do know that this is probably the biggest of brains forum. Any nudges or ideas would be much appreciated.

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If you’re self-motivated and have some inherent visual talent, then you can teach yourself any of the following on youtube,, etc. None of these require a college degree in my experience. It’s all portfolio-based.

• 2D Animator
• 2D Designer
• 2D Artist
• Motion Graphics Artist
• Colorist
• Editor
• Retoucher

I wouldn’t recommend “ethical hacking” or any computer science-based career if your dyslexia effects your ability to read/write code or documentation.

From your post, my guess is your primary obstacle will be motivation in which case diet, exercise and sleep should be your top priorities.


You’re pretty much right on. Thanks a bunch.

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Also, if you want to make the most money possible, move to the largest metropolitan area you can. Film, advertising, editorial, etc jobs are highly concentrated in NYC, LA, SF and maybe Chicago. The pay can be double if not more.


@oO.o is spot on, and I can throw my hat in as having lived a slightly worse version of your situation and pulled through it… in the mid-to-late 90’s when there were less opportunities/tools.

I was a two time high school dropout; both senior year with a varying GPA based on where my ADHD let me focus. I wasn’t formally diagnosed until age 41 at which point I embedded a million behavioural fixes. Sink or swim. Trial by fire.

I was able to angle in on a simple hardware tech job, then a fly-around-analyst/installer/production support/sysadmin job, started a business cloning the software of that company, and ended up a developer/business analyst/sysadmin/jack-of-all-skills in the industry. In the early days, I learned to code running my own website and Battletech MUX site and contributing to opensource.

I will say my biggest regret that I focus on with my kids is that I messed up the begining and had to busy my hump for 20 years overcompensating doing the jobs in the begining that noone else wanted to do.

This does not mean that GPA 4.0 college uberness is the best route. Quite the contrary: colllege is for those who have clearly know it’s what the field they are chosing needs. Trade school is where I am pushing both my boys; and they are full honors classes with the grades to go to college but they have no interest in anything that it brings value. The trade schools have many options in graphics design, CAD, and other IT-bordering trades rather than just carpentry, plumbing, electronics, etc…

I’m in the older guy boat you are in; sort of. I am currently rebuilding myself for a career change; I moved back to my rural roots, live cheap, and am taking a few years off with my savings… In many ways I am downgrading as I am burnt to the Nth degree on the status of my market. I am taking Udemy/Lynda courses to find what I am interested in, taking certifications for new/existing skills, and I have no idea where I’ll end up… but worst case scenario I’ll do my own thing.

I understand your pain. I am self driven, but I have not always been and I fight daily. The mental fatigue of ADHD is not fully understood by those without it. The symptoms, as you and I know, are not just ‘distraction’: social dysphoria or whatnot, memory, ‘inability to push buttons in y our mind while clearly seeing them in front of you’, anxiety from ‘streams of reality’ we get lost in playing out possibilities people call ‘daydreaming’, and more. I fight with these things daily; they got worse once I took my hiatus and lacked the driving drum of other urgencies.

I don’t take medicine. I excercise, meditate, perform qiqong (simplified tai chi), reformed my diet via elimination into a borderline low-carb/keto while intermittent fasting daily, and I have addressed brain fog with Nascent Iodine, Vitamin D3, and other stuff. I even pop an Adrafinil on occassion (Bad for liver; heavy use best to get Modafinil off a doctors prescribtion.) ADHD neurology has more than one form while I have behavioral adaptation all around it. These may not work for you, but I’d like to share in case it helps. I do not subscribe to pumping ADD/ADHD people full of stimulants.

Regardless, I hope this ramble helped from someone who has felt your pain and is going through a second phase of it. I can ramble more if needed; just ask. :smiley:


… and the cost of living is triple… but the opportunity is 10x higher…

Don’t expect to go there for the $$$, but the skills and chance to roll the dice. I highly suggest what I did and GTFO of those places once you get far enough along to work remotely. Long term financial security is easier with a larger disparity between Cost of Living and Income.

It all depends on where you are at and what opportunities they have. If you are well connected enough in your area, you might find that starting making websites and doing graphics for local events/businesses provides ample opportuntiy if you humble of budget/expectations while building yourself. That’s a personal choice only you can figure out.


The opportunity/income disparity is even larger for the fields I listed than for sysadmin work. It is possible to move back to middle America and work remotely, but it is less common and higher risk.

For instance, if you were an editor, serious, high-paying work will involve sitting in a room with director, cinematographer, producers, etc while they give you feedback and direct you. If you live 500 miles away, you don’t get those jobs.

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If you can really try to turn things around, go to a community college. This will save you a lot of money and give you better opportunities when transferring. Also will give you more time to see what may interest you while getting general Ed courses out of the way.


Have you thought about doing a trade? Building/Plumbing/Electrical/carpentry, it may be more attuned to your personality.

ADHD seems to be just a label they put on kids who are more inclined to kinetic learning so maybe it’s a sign you should be doing something with your hands instead of sitting infront of a computer all day. Couple that with the “YOU’LL BE NOTHING IF YOU DON’T GET A DEGREE” fallacy and some people feel forced into Uni without getting to think about what they actually want to do with their lives.

In my country we have a “housing crisis” and are still rebuilding from earthquakes/implementing new earthquake standards so builders etc are in high demand and are making boatloads of cash.

Just my 2c.


+1 to trades. You dont have to go to college to make decent money or make a decent life for yourself. Apprenticeships are a hands on way to get trained in a field and make money at the same time. Dont sell yourself on college being the only way.


I’ve done construction with my father for 3 ish years. I hate it. I am too tired usually to get my creativity out and then end up staying up super late starting some wild project ideas of mine. This entirely screws my schedule up for the rest of the week.

I’m 42.

Based on my life experience i would suggest:

  • your lifestyle (and normally, tax) adjusts to your income in general. more money is better than less money, but money itself won’t make you happy. cliche, but it’s true. You spend most of your life at work, make sure its something you can enjoy (or at least not hate, and feel productive at)
  • find something you enjoy doing, and do that. if you like art/design, focus on that. if you like hacking, do that.
  • make sure to try and find happiness outside of work. if you’re working too hard to enjoy your time off, find a way to fix that.

Don’t try to pursue some career purely for money if you don’t enjoy it.


by lifestyle adjusting to income… i mean this:

As the income gets bigger, the toys (or meals, etc.) get bigger/better and more expensive, but the bills (loans, insurance, maintenance on whatever) also get bigger and more expensive (unless you’re very, very disciplined with money, but almost everybody is not).

You end up paying a lot more for some incrementally slightly better widget that really doesn’t improve your quality of life much beyond a fairly easily obtained level. Its easy to think that the super high end version of X (be it a car, computer, house, whatever) will make you so much happier but after a few months it becomes “the new normal” and you’re back to the way things always were. Even worse - trying to go backwards feels like a big step backwards :smiley:

less stress, more free time, and doing things you enjoy with people you like are so much more important - so long as your income is “enough”.


Same dream, same sitch, except I actually went to college and still hated it (to the point that I was ready to jump off a building at the end). That and I’m not dyslexic…

Anyways, the best thing for you to do RIGHT NOW is start making shit. Just draw, go crazy. Theres all sorts of ways you can start, if you haven’t already. Personally I want to do digital animation, but I love Cel’s too. Only so many places will teach Cel animation tho, and even then its only popular in japan and korea anymore anyways. Most probably can’t tell the difference.

If you wanted to get started with Digital Animation you have all sorts of tools available for free. Personally I’m learning blender rn which has proven to be better than adobe animate, and it has more features, on top of being free. My standard tool, however, is Krita. I do all my shit in linux on a thinkpad X230T and it runs great. Got the better pen for it, has a solid screen, and the hardware keeps up with me surprisingly well. Just uh, don’t use it for video editing LOL.


I don’t know if you are looking for Anime style animation or not, but here is a good channel that has some information for those who are trying to break into the animation world in general. They pretty much keep it real and give some good advice in regards to what it takes to build skill and gain experience to add to your portfolio

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there is a lot of room in the technical world where a degree is not a requirement.

the last 5 engineers i hired did not have a related degree, they just show their experience and knowledge witch is way more valuable. so if hacking is something your are pursuing secops or devsecops maybe something to look up to.


I never applied myself in high school, or junior high, or elementary. College is a lot different. I found it fascinating. Not only the material but the campus culture.

There are technical schools for this, which are often a 2 year program. The cost can vary but the burden of college curriculum is missing. As someone recommended, there are also a ton of resources online: Lynda, Udemy, YouTube. There is a really great Blender tutorial floating around here somewhere.

No college necessary for this, just a laptop. If you want to get into I.T. management you might need one, but you can probably find an employer to pay for your degree at that point. YouTube is good, tons of books are out there, Udemy has great courses. Cybrary, Linux Academy, I.T. Pro T.V., and PluralSight are subscriptions you can sign up for.

Community Colleges exist for this very reason: Build up or rebuild your GPA to transfer offer. 1000x more affordable, too. As I mentioned earlier, your enjoyment may change based on perspective.

2D stuff that’s really affordable

Make sure and read the prereqs, if there are any, so you’re not wasting any money.

Ethical Hacking

Both courses were updated January 2020.

See, Udemy is awesome :wink:


I have some of those courses and many more on Udemy, also. Lynda is a good source, but likely more $$$. Udemty is sweet because they do sales constantly. Just snipe those 200$ courses for 10-12$ each. Just get on their email or check it out any time there seems to be an excuse for them. Ex: THey just had a sale for Valentines day. THey do it all the time. I did this for al lof mine. I’ve never bought one for more than 13$.

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