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having a life crisis

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Hi guys,


I'm 20 years old and my girlfriend just broke up with me just under 2 weeks ago.

It's been quite rough and on top of that I'm just having a complete mental break down. I had panic it attack two nights in a row, yesterday and the night before just because I felt like I was moving or doing anything and it just really got to me.


A little back story,


I've had two dreams my whole life. One was to move to California and become a filmmaker. The second was to be in a touring band a travel the world creating music and playing for people.


I've, within the past year, become really interested in other forms of art because I've just been taking a whole bunch of art classes in school right now.


My dreams have a sort of connection and have I guess woven into something that I feel like I could combine all three into one if that makes sense.


BUT, being in school, trying to work also, having to use loans and my parents money, while living at home, going through a break up, feeling like im just lost and disconnected from everything and everyone. All that piling into one just caused me to have as I said, a breakdown.


I want to move out of my parents house, my mom is very over protective and she has always babied me and I've done my best within the past year to tell her that I need my space and I need to have my independence and start doing things for myself. I think the easiest way to do this is to move out. But Going to school, which takes ALOT out of me, (im not a good student by any means and it takes a lot for me to be able to focus on school) Im not able to work at the same time. I tried it at the beginning of the semester but it got to be way too much to handle and I had to quit.


I want to save my money, I want to move out. I honestly don't know if school is something I should be doing anymore. I am sure that I may just BARELY get by this semester and that's if I really work my ass off.


I'm a creative person, and so sitting in school just seems like a big waste of time and MONEY(money which i dont have, which i have to take loans out for and borrow from my parents). My sister just graduated with a degree and is now in 100,000 dollars in debt with no job to show for it. I dont want that to be me.


I want to make movies, I want to make music, I want to make art. I want to LEARN how to do all that better though. Im just stuck and have no idea where to go or what to do. I've always kind of had the belief that, if you want to learn how to do something and if you want to get better at it, then you need to JUST DO IT. The only good thing I can see about school right now is that it FORCES me to get my art projects done. But at the same time kind of takes the creativity out of me.


I want to move somewhere that ill have more opportunity, I live in Alaska so we're very isolated and it's not like I can just drive to another state. It's very difficult to just get up and move. It's expensive beyond belief. Can't even really go on roadtrips unless you want to stay in Alaska or make a month long trip to get down to the lower 48. I also have a dream to get a community growing here of filmmakers and working on the local music and art scene here. It's small but close nit and also growing and I think it would be amazing to apart of that growth. But at the same time it's always been a dream to live in California.


I dont want to end up doing a job i hate, i dont want to be in debt, i dont want to be dependent on my parents, i dont want to be dependent on a girlfriend, i want to be happy with myself, with my career, my life, my hobbies. I just have literally no idea how to get there and Im scared... beyond scared.



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Hi, I just want to tell you that pretty much all 20 something year olds dreaming of going into a creative field feels or has felt like you at one time.


I'm 20 years old and studying to be an animator... I was lucky enough to gain a scholarship to an art school in Georgia. One thing I have learned since my time in school is that you do not need a degree to get a job in the art world. Most of the people I spend time with are film students, and my ex was a film student too. We broke up a bit ago so I know what you're going through in that respect too. Many of the film students I know only spend 1 or 2 years in school to gain the technical skills they need and also network. Networking is so so so important and its sometimes the only reason my film friends came to school. If you have the raw talent, school will really only show you the technical stuff and help you network.


That being said, many of my professors at this school don't have degrees in their field-- this is because they were so talented they never needed to go to college and got a job in their field (like my animation professors worked for Disney and Dreamwork) right away before even finishing their studies.


I have been to Alaska before and I know how isolated you guys are up there. Vancouver is an amazing media hub-- lots of film and animation jobs and schools. Is there any way you could possibly look into going to a school there for a year or two to gain the basics and grow upon that on your own?


Another person that helped me was a career coach. See if there are any in your area, they can help you find your best options and even your strengths and weaknesses.


I have also suffered from severe panic. I had to reach out and find a therapist and I'm doing much better. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help if you're feeling overwhelmed.


Be well. If you have more questions about film I will try to help.

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Just my thoughts, film school certainly would be interesting, but if you're a afraid of debt its probably not the best investment. I'm not saying that everyone should do practical degrees but you might be just as well spending that money discovering it on your own. One advantage to Alaska is that there are some better paying jobs there, I grew up in Northern BC so I know that industries pay good money, if your dream is to pack up and go to california, make a plan, save some moeny. Its your life do what makes you happy.

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Just to add on that, I don't know really much about film school, I know that VFS has very high tuition, but it would probably be just as feasible to move to california as vancouver. Its actually one of the most expensive cities in north america to live in, and he would have to pay international tuition.

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I've heard the exact same thing about film school from reading online and friends of my father who know a bit about the business.


I understand film making is very difficult business to get into and the greatest aspect of film school is networking, which is possibly the most important aspect in any artistic path.


AK, definitely has great job opportunities here, We also get the PFD every year which is great. Honestly, I had been thinking of just taking a break from college right now, getting a job, saving money, continuing my pursuits in just getting better at my art and music and just saving as much money as I can to get where I'd like to be. Although I get impatient and frustrated and feel like Im not going anywhere if I dont see progress. I dont want to get discouraged which is another big reason for the panic attacks I think.


I also think Appie made a great point in saying that If im going to spend that much money trying to go to school it may be wiser to just save money on my own and make the move when im ready and have enough saved up.


The thing about that which scares me is that I fear that I will become comfortable with the situation I get into and won't be able to leave.

A positive aspect of that though is that I can save money, while working on my skills and produce short films and other forms of art in my spare time and get involved with my local art community, which is just as important. Maybe submit to a few of the local film festivals and/or apply for an art exhibit. I think that would do me good, although another problem I have is I feel like I have to have something perfect that Im truly proud of before I can show people. Im very self conscious about my work. Any tips on how to get over that?


I've never really had a problem with panic attacks but I think I may have some sort of slight anxiety disorder and also a social anxiety disorder.

I need to get over my fears of social settings if i want to make it and ive definitely improved drastically as Ive gotten older but still not totally where I want to be.




I really really really appreciate your guys advice. It was really reassuring to know someone else has been in a very similar situation and knows what Im feeling and going through. So thank you so much.

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Ahh yeah I don't know much about VFS but thought it might be comparable in price to say CalArts or living in LA.


I suffered from social anxiety in silence for a long time. My advice to you is to nip it in the bud soon before it grows.


Pretty much all artists are very critical and self conscious of their work. It takes guts to put a piece of yourself-- your heart and your soul out there. I'm not sure how I got over this, I think it just takes getting used to. You learn where your strengths are and you learn to hide your weaknesses. You take offence to criticism from others at first, but when you really listen and apply it to your work it really helps. No matter how good you are, being able to take artistic criticism is a great thing and will really help you in the industry.


I like your plan about taking it easy and getting some money for now. I know people at my school who are in their 30s, married with kids, went to college and got their degrees in something completely unrelated to art and worked for a while, and are just now deciding to pursue their dream in the creative field. I have an animator friend who is 27 and worked as an accountant for years after getting his degree in that and now he's drawing cartoons all day (and all night haha, animating is a sleepless job). It's never too late to work towards your dream as long as you're still living. Keep your dream in your heart, set goals for yourself, and things will have a way of falling into place.

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Sure, message me whenever and I'll try to answer your question as best I can, perhaps I could even ask one of my film friends if need be.


Glad I could put your mind at ease a bit, you sound like you're on the right track career-building wise and that you've got a good head on your shoulders. Be well.

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With the resources of the internet, I would be going into film school if you're TRULY passionate about.


My friend went into film school after making hundreds of videos, several that became very popular on Youtube and he was invited into conventions. After about a 5 year hiatus, he finally quit his job and went to film school since he really has a knack for it.


I know a lot of people that go into art school with zero direction rather only "I like art" or "I Like graphic design," they don't look at the reality of what making a living from graphic design entails. They will either drop, or finish school and then work a regular job afterwards while paying off a hefty school debt.


Whether that is worth it or not, to each their own. Several of my friends wish they weren't $50,000 in debt.

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The thing about that which scares me is that I fear that I will become comfortable with the situation I get into and won't be able to leave.


If think you need to always remind yourself what your goals, find a job that pays well for short-term and you probably realise its not the lifestyle you want, if you do become comfortable and 'settle' it will be because your happy.


I think maybe you would be wise to get a job and maybe look at it as 'will work here for X amount of time', maybe 8 months? or I 'will work here until I have X amount of dollars'. Oil and gas companies have highs and low seasons, so they are quite happy to employ temporary workers, the jobs suck, but you could easily save $25, 000 in 4 months. I was in a somewhat similar situation after highschool, I think its import to find a balance between what makes you happy and what is feasible. University/ life is expensive but you can do what you want for 8 months of the year, as long as you work hard for 4 months of the year.

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OP, have you considered studying abroad? Like, for example, education in France is supposed to be way way cheaper than in the US (though living expenses may be higher, but I've heard there are programs for international students), and to study any kind of art in Europe would surely be a valuable experience for you (to say the least).

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OP, have you considered studying abroad? Like, for example, education in France is supposed to be way way cheaper than in the US (though living expenses may be higher, but I've heard there are programs for international students), and to study any kind of art in Europe would surely be a valuable experience for you (to say the least).


Actually...no I've honestly never really thought about doing that. Honest. Never really even crossed my mind... I may have to look into it. Although the thought terrifies me.

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