Now, to my advise.
- Be more direct! Having an extensive vocabulary is one thing and communicating well is another. Future employers will appreciate understanding you over a triple word score.
- Don't get discouraged! So you were going to one of the big name game schools and things got rough and you're not quite old enough to get student loans on your own. It sucks, I know. But in the mean time, work on your portfolio and practice. Once you're 25, you can get a student loan without your parents income factoring in, so that's the time to jump back into school. You're still young, so don't fret. But yeah, go back to school.
- Diversify! Again, you're young! Try your hand at everything out there you can get a hold of and who knows? You might find something else that really gets your motor going.
- Keep yourself in check! When working on your portfolio, you'll get praise and criticism. Both are good, but in my experience, I suggest you ignore the praise completely. It only helps to develop an ego and take you into directions that might not be that helpful in your journey into this industry. On the flip side, don't let harsh criticisms hold you down. They are just helpful little pointers on how to improve that are poorly communicated.
Oh and don't buy 3dsMax. $200 is for a 90-Day license. A full license is $3,675. So yeah, I would avoid that route. Instead, use Blender. Its pretty easy to use and its free. And when you get back to school, just sign up for a 3 year student license. Those are free.
Hope that helps! Good luck!