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How to gauge if I like something?

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I’m sort of floundering around in my college major and I can’t tell what I’m actually interested in. I am in an information science program with a computer science minor, but I don’t spend a lot of my personal time programming, though I enjoy the courses. I loved writing and philosophy as a teenager, but the philosophy and writing classes I’ve taken haven’t felt like a “calling” of any sort. I do a lot of “research” in psychology due to my mental health, but I don’t think that counts as an interest. I’m a teaching assistant for a couple of the programming-related courses and I enjoy that to some extent, but I don’t think I love teaching (likely because I haven’t mastered it).

Should I look at what I end up doing most of my day? Should I spend more time trying to spark heightened interest in something potentially lucrative (data analysis/CS)? Should I spend more time reading and writing? Should I just keep trying a variety of things? I’m a junior so I don’t have a lot of time left to do that in the context of school and need to worry about internships. I don’t think I’m particularly good at anything (though I’m not bad at learning most things), and I can’t tell what I like or what I’d want to do as a “career”.

Should I even care about identifying what I like? The only reason I’m asking this question is my motivation seems inextricably tied to level of interest and to get good enough at anything to get a well-paying job it seems I need to be interested in what I’m doing. Maybe I just need to learn to work harder.

(I also posted this in the INTP subreddit, in case anyone is seeing it twice. :))
 

Animekitty

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Keep at CS, it is a skill you need. but use it for the future when you find an interest.

Think about what middle school was like. Did you like anything? In high school?

You can always go back to school when you find something but you need money so keep at CS.
 

birdsnestfern

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No need to answer here, but things to ask yourself: What would you be if you could be or do anything? What were you naturally interested in, or good at as a child? What is actually hiring where you want to live?
 

Cognisant

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As much as possible try to avoid being an employee, an employer doesn't have your interests in mind, to them you're like a machine they need to lease in order to get the job done that makes the money. Like a construction company leasing cement mixers, once upon a time "cement mixer" was somebody's job, make no mistake no matter what role you're in an employer will replace you with a machine as soon as they can.

Likewise an employer does not want to pay you a "fair" rate, they pay your market value which is the absolute bare minimum it takes to get you in the door. If you have skills and those skills are in high demand that's great but there's a lot of people looking for a "good job" like that and consequently such jobs have an ever increasingly high skill threshold.

You're better off either being a contractor, in which case the agency you're working for is essentially racketeering the employment market (like a union but more proactive) or even better still having your own business and hiring your own employees.

Remember employers don't pay employees what they're worth, they pay them the market rate, if you can take a complex job and through automation and/or employee training make it possible for an "unskilled" person to do it you pocket the difference between their market value and what their labor is actually worth to you.

For the right job that difference can be huge.

Also consider scalability, if you can employ someone and get them to do something that turns a net profit you can hire two people and make twice as much money, or four and make twice as much again, indeed you can hire as many people as you have work to give them.

I think motivation is a matter of reward for effort, to me you sound like a young and intelligent person and on some level you're realizing that being a highly skilled employee is a sucker's game, which is demotivating. You don't want to work your ass off for years to get a master's in computer science only to find yourself at the bottom of the field because you've got no experience. Then have to spend decades working your way up, constantly looking for your next job because you know your current employer will never give you a pay rise.

You want to work for yourself, build your own business, get it to a scale and level of efficiency/stability that you can delegate responsibilities to managers, then you can take lots of time off and still be getting the lion's share of the profits.

This is what CEO's do, they're tyrants that rule with absolute authority and if you can choose for yourself why choose to be a serf?
 

dr froyd

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it's hard to predict how and why one ends up liking or disliking something while one is still in school/university. I also did CS but spent equally much time in the psychology section of the library. I wasn't particularly fascinated by CS, I just thought it was some cool shit to know and use for various purposes. Nowadays as I'm using CS in the real world professionally, with real stakes, with real challenges, with real people, it feels very good.

In the end, you can be self-taught in stuff like philosophy if you really put in the time. In hard sciences like CS, math, etc, you simply cannot. There's a certain foundation one gets from academia in these fields which is impossible to pick up later via online courses or whatever. Pls stick to the CS stuff
 

dr froyd

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@ZenRaiden I have no clue what you're getting at but if you want me to name a thing, here it is:

a pancake
 

ZenRaiden

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@ZenRaiden I have no clue what you're getting at but if you want me to name a thing, here it is:

a pancake
You said some things are necessary to learn in school pertaining to math and cs, that online are not. Pretty much anything you can learn in school you can learn online and better nowdays.
 

dr froyd

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@ZenRaiden I have no clue what you're getting at but if you want me to name a thing, here it is:

a pancake
You said some things are necessary to learn in school pertaining to math and cs, that online are not. Pretty much anything you can learn in school you can learn online and better nowdays.
I would have to disagree. When you do a formal degree, you more or less live in a place for 5 years where you do high-intensity learning, you're surrounded with professors, teacher-assistants, other students, you get to discuss things and assimilate the mindset and thought patterns of very smart people. A big part of doing a degree like that is not just being able to answer exam-questions, its about acquring a way of thinking about things. I think the potential for that in an online-course scenario is very limited.
 

ZenRaiden

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@ZenRaiden I have no clue what you're getting at but if you want me to name a thing, here it is:

a pancake
You said some things are necessary to learn in school pertaining to math and cs, that online are not. Pretty much anything you can learn in school you can learn online and better nowdays.
I would have to disagree. When you do a formal degree, you more or less live in a place for 5 years where you do high-intensity learning, you're surrounded with professors, teacher-assistants, other students, you get to discuss things and assimilate the mindset and thought patterns of very smart people. A big part of doing a degree like that is not just being able to answer exam-questions, its about acquring a way of thinking about things. I think the potential for that in an online-course scenario is very limited.
So you mean socialising. Well..... you do not get that online true.
Then again those things also have severe limitations you will learn in time.
 
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