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TTT_Dutch

High School Student with High Goals -- Need Advice

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TTT_Dutch    240
Hello everyone,

I need some advice from you all. I have two problems, one is lack of money and one is lack of drive.

I am a Sophomore High School student who wants to be successful early and is able to go to Stanford. From what I understand Stanford is looking only for the best, so in order to be "the best" I am trying to hold a 4.1+ GPA, trying to make some video games that I can sell so Stanford can see that I show initiative and so that they can see that I can program, and I am trying to play sports at the same time to show that I am a well rounded student (and I enjoy them). I enjoy making games and programming. I like to use C++ and OpenGL and when I was learning and just messing around with that language and library in middle school, I had no problems (probably because I had more time and was less stressed). Now I have problems.

I am having problems with drive. I have this game idea that I like and have been working on but I think these high aspirations of mine are not allowing me to apply myself to programming because I am too busy (and stressed) with school and sports. I go to school at around 8 and I get home after sports at around 5:30. I have plenty of time till bed, but I just don't have the drive to work on my self produced projects (my game for example). Does anyone have any ideas as to why I can't seem to hop onto my computer and start programming? I always seem to drift to youtube and just start watching videos there. I just don't have any will power at this point in the day to push myself to start programming. If I ever do start, I enjoy it, but I just can't seem to start. Does anyone have any advice for me?

Also being a high school student and soon to be college student, I need money. I am looking to use my intermediate programming abilities to make some extra cash and my video game endeavors are not producing any income at the moment. I have looked at freelancing on freelancer.com but it seems as though the amounts are always low and the bids are always in before I even have a chance to compete. So is there any other site or way I can use my programming abilities to make some extra cash? I have looked locally but there isn't much.

Thankyou,
Brent

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JackBid    453

I am  in a similar situation, I find it helpful to instead of open up youtube, open up an online timer. Time yourself doing at least half an hour solid work on your game without getting distracted. Then go to youtube or whatever you want. I also find music sometimes helps me concentrate, I know that not everyone does but you should try listening to music while you program and see if it helps.

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TTT_Dutch    240
<blockquote class='ipsBlockquote'data-author="JackBid" data-cid="5023218" data-time="1358617488"><p>
I am in a similar situation, I find it helpful to instead of open up youtube, open up an online timer. Time yourself doing at least half an hour solid work on your game without getting distracted. Then go to youtube or whatever you want. I also find music sometimes helps me concentrate, I know that not everyone does but you should try listening to music while you program and see if it helps.</p></blockquote>

Alright i will try this, thanyou! I am worried that i wont even have the willpower to get on my pc though and i might just go on my phone.. Any ideas on a fix for this? :D Maybr have my parents take my phone away? Hehe. Also do you have any ideas for the money flow problem? I have a job oppurtunity on saturdays for some extra cash but i would really like to know if there is a worthwhile freelance programming alterative.

Thanks,
Brent

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TTT_Dutch    240
Well I am making games because I want, but i also know it will help me. So i am not doing it for the sole purpose of college. Also the only reason i really want to go to stanford is because of the cs oppurtunities there (such as the amount of other people who are good and interested in programming). But I think the idea that I NEED to make a game is what is actually holding me back, so I will stop pushing to make a game because i have to. Also i like the idea of science fairs for programming, i will check that out.

I am still have a shortage of cash though, so are there any oppurtunties that you guys know of?

Thanks a ton!
Brent

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JackBid    453
<blockquote class='ipsBlockquote'data-author="JackBid" data-cid="5023218" data-time="1358617488"><p>
I am in a similar situation, I find it helpful to instead of open up youtube, open up an online timer. Time yourself doing at least half an hour solid work on your game without getting distracted. Then go to youtube or whatever you want. I also find music sometimes helps me concentrate, I know that not everyone does but you should try listening to music while you program and see if it helps.</p></blockquote>

Alright i will try this, thanyou! I am worried that i wont even have the willpower to get on my pc though and i might just go on my phone.. Any ideas on a fix for this? biggrin.png Maybr have my parents take my phone away? Hehe. Also do you have any ideas for the money flow problem? I have a job oppurtunity on saturdays for some extra cash but i would really like to know if there is a worthwhile freelance programming alterative.

Thanks,
Brent

I am fairly new to programming and haven't made any money off it so far so I may not be the best person to ask. However I know some site like addicting games, funny games and armor games pay you to have your game on their site. it has to be flash though. I know some people who have made flash games in only a day or two during game jams, so maybe if you work very hard you could produce a basic flash game and generate some money.

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TTT_Dutch    240




I am in a similar situation, I find it helpful to instead of open up youtube, open up an online timer. Time yourself doing at least half an hour solid work on your game without getting distracted. Then go to youtube or whatever you want. I also find music sometimes helps me concentrate, I know that not everyone does but you should try listening to music while you program and see if it helps.

Alright i will try this, thanyou! I am worried that i wont even have the willpower to get on my pc though and i might just go on my phone.. Any ideas on a fix for this? :D Maybr have my parents take my phone away? Hehe. Also do you have any ideas for the money flow problem? I have a job oppurtunity on saturdays for some extra cash but i would really like to know if there is a worthwhile freelance programming alterative.
Thanks,
Brent
I am fairly new to programming and haven't made any money off it so far so I may not be the best person to ask. However I know some site like addicting games, funny games and armor games pay you to have your game on their site. it has to be flash though. I know some people who have made flash games in only a day or two during game jams, so maybe if you work very hard you could produce a basic flash game and generate some money.
Yeah it is starting to seem like c++ and opengl isnt really the way to make much money as a student. It is starting to seem like web is a more viable option for a steady income. I will definately consider moving to the web but if there are any other options that involve c++ and or graphics APIs like Opengl that someone knows about, please let me know.

Is there a money making oppurtunity in making mods for games? I like doing that and have done that in the past.

Thanks for your reply!
Brent

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JackBid    453

 



I am in a similar situation, I find it helpful to instead of open up youtube, open up an online timer. Time yourself doing at least half an hour solid work on your game without getting distracted. Then go to youtube or whatever you want. I also find music sometimes helps me concentrate, I know that not everyone does but you should try listening to music while you program and see if it helps.

Alright i will try this, thanyou! I am worried that i wont even have the willpower to get on my pc though and i might just go on my phone.. Any ideas on a fix for this? biggrin.png Maybr have my parents take my phone away? Hehe. Also do you have any ideas for the money flow problem? I have a job oppurtunity on saturdays for some extra cash but i would really like to know if there is a worthwhile freelance programming alterative.
Thanks,
Brent
I am fairly new to programming and haven't made any money off it so far so I may not be the best person to ask. However I know some site like addicting games, funny games and armor games pay you to have your game on their site. it has to be flash though. I know some people who have made flash games in only a day or two during game jams, so maybe if you work very hard you could produce a basic flash game and generate some money.
Yeah it is starting to seem like c++ and opengl isnt really the way to make much money as a student. It is starting to seem like web is a more viable option for a steady income. I will definately consider moving to the web but if there are any other options that involve c++ and or graphics APIs like Opengl that someone knows about, please let me know.

Is there a money making oppurtunity in making mods for games? I like doing that and have done that in the past.

Thanks for your reply!
Brent

I am not sure about mods, it probably depends on what game the mod is for as different companies may have different views on it. If its just a simple mod, you may be able to have people download it for free through adfly, then you profit from the ads from adfly, although I doubt you will make much from that.

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TTT_Dutch    240
Alright, well I will work on personal projects for fun and I will freelance on the web side of things to make a steady income. I will spend 30 minutes a day minimum on my personal projects and i will work on freelance projects on the weekend.If anyone knows of a good freelancing site for web and c++ that isnt overrun by people who undercut prices, it would be awesome if you let me know about it. Thankyou everyone so much! Brent

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TTT_Dutch    240
I think my ultimate goal is to help people with my programming and live a comfortable life. And I do not look down on you for being an average student. I only shoot for those grades for mostly scholarship purposes for achools other than stanford because i realize stanford is a longshot.I would love to slack off if it meant i could program but my parents dont want that because grades are important to them. Thanks for your advice about getting around mental roadblocks! Thankyou so much all of you guys! You are all so helpful! Brent

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Cambo_frog    855
I think my ultimate goal is to help people with my programming and live a comfortable life. And I do not look down on you for being an average student. I only shoot for those grades for mostly scholarship purposes for achools other than stanford because i realize stanford is a longshot.I would love to slack off if it meant i could program but my parents dont want that because grades are important to them. Thanks for your advice about getting around mental roadblocks! Thankyou so much all of you guys! You are all so helpful! Brent

It's great that you have respect for the opinions and wishes of your parents, but you are reaching the time in your life where you need to make your own decisions concerning your future.

 

I don't think working towards a career in your spare time could be considered as slacking it off.smile.png

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TTT_Dutch    240
[quote name='Cambo_frog' timestamp='1358628766' post='5023283'] I don't think working towards a career in your spare time could be considered as slacking it off. [/quote] Haha good point! If I can make an income with it too, I think they would be very pleased!

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Cambo_frog    855



I don't think working towards a career in your spare time could be considered as slacking it off.

Haha good point! If I can make an income with it too, I think they would be very pleased!
Exactly, it's a win win situation.

Now go for it and good luck. Edited by Cambo_frog

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Liuqahs15    819

I agree only partially with Bacterius. As a current University student, I can offer input from the perspective of someone who's still on the path you're thinking about starting down. To be clear, and completely straightforward, I think your grades right now are the absolute most important thing. You need excellent top grades. Not because they'll make you a better person, but because they're the major thing that will give you the ability to choose from a list of universities, rather than settle for one the universities that choose you. I cannot stress enough how important it is to end up at a university you love, surrounded by people who you feel are as ambitious and driven, if not more so, than you are. I currently go to a university full of people who just want to do "good enough." They all have the intelligence and potential, but none of the drive. They treat me like a genius because I work harder than them, and it's frustrating to only know one other person who shares my excitement for life and programming. Do not end up in a place like this. You will regret it. To avoid that, do what you have to now. Get those good grades, do those extra-curricular activities. Find someone at stanford now, if you can, and talk to them about what it takes.

 

Now what I do agree with Bacterius on is doing what you love. Don't think about money or having a "good job." You're too young to be so defeated as to worry about things like that. If you pursue what you love, you will be so much happier than if you pursue the thing that will give you enough money to keep your netflix account active, like everyone else is doing. This applies to even small parts of life as well. If your current personal project doesn't make you want to jump up and get to your computer immediately, then you more than likely need something else. Just accept that it doesn't excite you enough and try to find something else to do. Maybe some modding will excite you, or something other than video games for the time being. Whatever gets you to close youtube and open visual studio (or whatever IDE), do it.

 

I'll go back to my point about going to a great school. When you get out, you'll have 3 options (in general). You'll either want a job somewhere, go to graduate school, or start your own business. Getting a job or going to graduate school both require that you go to a great school with great professors and other students you can bond, learn, and grow with. Starting a company, obviously, requires friends who are at your skill level and want to do the things you want to do. Under none of these circumstances is it okay to end up at a school where you're not challenge adequately, and the people around you don't seem to care as much as you do. Once you've gone to the school, you can definitely tone down your mad dash to have the best GPA in the school, and focus on other things (that would actually be better, in most cases). Until then, school first, hobbies second.

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I am too in a similar position mine is 3.83(i have 11 subjects, for my top 5 i imagine it would be around 4.1). British boundaries are the same as american ones i have read, so i assume that. Bill gates had 4.3 and got 1590 of 1600 on the sats. I believe having such a high gpa is very good.

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ISDCaptain01    1496

I personally think your trying to do too much at once. Its good to have good goals but dont put them so high tthat when you dont achieve them u feel like crap. Heres some advice: By taking on less you are getting more done. Keep a few activities and do them very well, rather than doing so many but doing them poorly.

 

PS I personally know a guy who transferred to standford from a community college. Apprently him and few others made some type of special battery that impressed them. But man just go to any good university, it doesnt have to be some high end private school like MIT or Standford or CalTech cause you get the same education at any accredited univeristy no matter what. Its just the name that drives people crazy

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Aliii    1456

[quote name='Riztro' timestamp='1358617079' post='5023215']
I am a Sophomore High School student who wants to be successful early and is able to go to Stanford. From what I understand Stanford is looking only for the best, so in order to be "the best" I am trying to hold a 4.1+ GPA, trying to make some video games that I can sell so Stanford can see that I show initiative and so that they can see that I can program, and I am trying to play sports at the same time to show that I am a well rounded student (and I enjoy them).
[/quote]

 

If no one told you yet: University is BS. They give you a piece of paper. Which is good(or can be good), ...but doesnt matter that much where you get it. Go there, you`ll see it yourself.

 

[quote name='Riztro' timestamp='1358617079' post='5023215']
I am having problems with drive. I have this game idea that I like and have been working on but I think these high aspirations of mine are not allowing me to apply myself to programming because I am too busy (and stressed) with school and sports. I go to school at around 8 and I get home after sports at around 5:30. I have plenty of time till bed, but I just don't have the drive to work on my self produced projects (my game for example).
[/quote]

 

You are tired. You cant do everything you`d like to. Take away time and energy from something you do now and you`ll be able to work on your projects.

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TTT_Dutch    240

Wow!

 

All you guys are so awesome offering up all this advice. Based on what you guys have said, I have figured out I am kinda in "the grind" part of my project, where I am setting up a lower level stuff that isn't that fun. I also have figured out that I am drifting to YouTube because it is passive thinking (thanks warnexus) and that in order to get to work I should devout at least 30 minutes a day to programming with the internet off so that I can avoid distractions. I have also decided that I should keep my grades up because it seems as though there are pros to keeping them up and it doesn't take that much more effort for me to do that. I will also start focusing on the fact that I am working on my game because I want to work on it, not because I have to for money or college opportunities :D

 

Thanks everyone! I am hoping to feel less stressed and more accomplished with all this advice

Brent

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Rancorb    366

Thought I'd mention something on the drive and getting stuff done side of things. I came across the Pomodoro Technique a few years back and, while I hate the name for some reason, it was a pretty effective way of helping get work done and building the habit of working effectively.

 

http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/get-started/

 

There are a number of time management techniques out there so if you like the idea of it, but this one doesn't work for you, have a look round for others. Ha, just realised this'll work for your studies as well as your development projects. Time management is one of those things most students are pretty rubbish at, so if you want an easy advantage over the average students then time management and a good work ethic would be it :)

 

On the money making side of things, web and mobile development currently seem to offer the best opportunities for solo projects or freelancing simply because they're (still) a growth market that's rapidly changing. Plus, it's fairly easy to get something simple but helpful and useful out in the market. Where I work we like to see an interviewee who has working software in their portfolio, released or not. More are cropping up who can simply point at an app-store and say "there's mine". No matter how simple the app, it still looks pretty good.

 

Hope that helps!

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rocklobster    415
Hello everyone,

I need some advice from you all. I have two problems, one is lack of money and one is lack of drive.

I am a Sophomore High School student who wants to be successful early and is able to go to Stanford. From what I understand Stanford is looking only for the best, so in order to be "the best" I am trying to hold a 4.1+ GPA, trying to make some video games that I can sell so Stanford can see that I show initiative and so that they can see that I can program, and I am trying to play sports at the same time to show that I am a well rounded student (and I enjoy them). I enjoy making games and programming. I like to use C++ and OpenGL and when I was learning and just messing around with that language and library in middle school, I had no problems (probably because I had more time and was less stressed). Now I have problems.

I am having problems with drive. I have this game idea that I like and have been working on but I think these high aspirations of mine are not allowing me to apply myself to programming because I am too busy (and stressed) with school and sports. I go to school at around 8 and I get home after sports at around 5:30. I have plenty of time till bed, but I just don't have the drive to work on my self produced projects (my game for example). Does anyone have any ideas as to why I can't seem to hop onto my computer and start programming? I always seem to drift to youtube and just start watching videos there. I just don't have any will power at this point in the day to push myself to start programming. If I ever do start, I enjoy it, but I just can't seem to start. Does anyone have any advice for me?

Also being a high school student and soon to be college student, I need money. I am looking to use my intermediate programming abilities to make some extra cash and my video game endeavors are not producing any income at the moment. I have looked at freelancing on freelancer.com but it seems as though the amounts are always low and the bids are always in before I even have a chance to compete. So is there any other site or way I can use my programming abilities to make some extra cash? I have looked locally but there isn't much.

Thankyou,
Brent

 

Maybe it's because you are mentally and physically drained after such a long day, and you don't have the energy left for your own projects? If this was the case I would definitely prioritise my activities. I'd have gone crazy at university If I never had a side project I could spend time during the week to keep my mind of university work. 

 

Also take some value from what this person said:

 

[quote name='Bacterius' timestamp='1358625181' post='5023274']
Personal satisfaction is so much better than reaching milestones set by society.
[/quote]

 

Which doesn't mean drop everything, but find a nice balance to keep yourself mentally healthy and satisfied. 

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???????????    264

I'm having similar issues. Anyhow I see a significant difference ( even though I have no idea how particularly important this is ) - you don't sound half as fired up as I was when I was creating my first game ( but it's a forum - how much could I get from 5 lines of text ).

Anyway. I'm having concentration issues ( doesn't anyone with all the "social [insert any random word here]" stuff ). Basically most of the social media just feels way more rewarding to ourselves than it actually is, and work ( or anything meaningful ) on the other hand just doesn't give the same amount of enjoyment, pride, satisfaction or whatever.

The question : How work could grant a comparable level of satisfaction to social media or games?

The answer : Hardly. But you can trick your mind with artificial goals and achievements to spice things up and balance the scales. ( Some games tend to do that - achievements which basically give you nothing but the "pride" of finishing that )

I myself use a couple of things to improve my concentration on important things and keep myself doing them on a regular basis.

Set Goals. Split them into multiple smaller goals. Than split those some more. Finally start doing the smallest ones.
Really easy thing to do, but it helps you keep your focus - no overwhelming 2 month target in front of you, just a small task for the next 40 minutes.

( Example in games : Quests - they usually are split into smaller fragments, and take the pain of dull grinding for level )

Set Timers. Try Pomodoro. Assign your goals a time limit. Challenge yourself! 
( Example in games : Timed Quests - enough said )

Use a task management system. Try Kanban or something more professionally oriented as Asana. They are great to track your progress.
( Example in games : Various journals, lists of completed achievements, gold, gear, loot acquired during gameplay )

Try HabitRPG. It's a brand new product still in its baby steps, but the concept is brilliant. A game helping you to develop your habits, which basically helps you reward yourself for following a routine specified by yourself.
( It's a game. I basically have energy drinks and sweets, which I could afford buying if I follow my routine )

Anyway - I'm using Asana, Pomodoro and HabitRPG successfully for some time now and I'm pretty happy with my concentration and productivity improvements.

I've build most of those with the idea of Gamification in mind. Basically assigning artificial meaning and value to regular tasks.

Some Links : 
Pomodoro Timers - http://gigaom.com/2010/11/10/9-free-pomodoro-timers/
Asana - http://www.asana.com
HabitRPG - https://habitrpg.com/
Gamification - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification

 

I hope that helps! 
Jedy


PS : I hope I didn't get too much out of topic and too general in my answer. 

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TTT_Dutch    240
I'm having similar issues. Anyhow I see a significant difference ( even though I have no idea how particularly important this is ) - you don't sound half as fired up as I was when I was creating my first game ( but it's a forum - how much could I get from 5 lines of text ).

Anyway. I'm having concentration issues ( doesn't anyone with all the "social [insert any random word here]" stuff ). Basically most of the social media just feels way more rewarding to ourselves than it actually is, and work ( or anything meaningful ) on the other hand just doesn't give the same amount of enjoyment, pride, satisfaction or whatever.

The question : How work could grant a comparable level of satisfaction to social media or games?

The answer : Hardly. But you can trick your mind with artificial goals and achievements to spice things up and balance the scales. ( Some games tend to do that - achievements which basically give you nothing but the "pride" of finishing that )

I myself use a couple of things to improve my concentration on important things and keep myself doing them on a regular basis.

Set Goals. Split them into multiple smaller goals. Than split those some more. Finally start doing the smallest ones.
Really easy thing to do, but it helps you keep your focus - no overwhelming 2 month target in front of you, just a small task for the next 40 minutes.

( Example in games : Quests - they usually are split into smaller fragments, and take the pain of dull grinding for level )

Set Timers. Try Pomodoro. Assign your goals a time limit. Challenge yourself! 
( Example in games : Timed Quests - enough said )

Use a task management system. Try Kanban or something more professionally oriented as Asana. They are great to track your progress.
( Example in games : Various journals, lists of completed achievements, gold, gear, loot acquired during gameplay )

Try HabitRPG. It's a brand new product still in its baby steps, but the concept is brilliant. A game helping you to develop your habits, which basically helps you reward yourself for following a routine specified by yourself.
( It's a game. I basically have energy drinks and sweets, which I could afford buying if I follow my routine )

Anyway - I'm using Asana, Pomodoro and HabitRPG successfully for some time now and I'm pretty happy with my concentration and productivity improvements.

I've build most of those with the idea of Gamification in mind. Basically assigning artificial meaning and value to regular tasks.

Some Links : 
Pomodoro Timers - http://gigaom.com/2010/11/10/9-free-pomodoro-timers/
Asana - http://www.asana.com
HabitRPG - https://habitrpg.com/
Gamification - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification

 

I hope that helps! 
Jedy


PS : I hope I didn't get too much out of topic and too general in my answer. 

I will definitely check those things out. I have used trello in the past and have looked into promodoro but didn't quite understand it. I will check again though! As for HabitRPG, I have never heard of it and I will be sure to check it out :D.

 

And yes, you have seen my problem, I can't really get excited about my game in its current stage. I am just creating something that doesn't interest me that much in this point of my games development (a rural farm generator, which is weird because I was very fired up about the random terrain generator when I was making it). I think I have tricked myself into thinking that programming is too much work and I think I need a daily inspiration (any ideas). I think my game idea is pretty cool though :D. And this isn't my first attempt at a game. I have made a little game called pikin sticks before and I also tried to create a 3D Voxel based Zombie survival game but quickly stopped because I realized it was already made and the game play concept just didn't really work.

 

So yeah, hopefully I will get interested/inspired again :p. Then I can implement those cool things you posted.

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