Life Update (Jan 2017)

Life Update (Jan 2017)

So, I used to be in high school. Then I graduated high school and went to college. Then I failed all my classes, and then I wasn’t
in college in college anymore. Then I started making plans to get an apartment
in Denver with some friends and get a job, and then that whole plan fell apart, but while
that plan was falling apart and I was just kinda living with parents being a bum I tried
to actually develop a system for managing my time effectively. And I did, and it kinda worked, and then I
was like “hey, I bet I’d do better if I go back to college now!” This whole time I never made a Patreon mostly
because it wouldn’t have made any sense at all. I feel like the implicit deal with Patreon
is that if enough people give you enough money you’ll make more of the thing, but I was
focusing on school and other stuff this whole time, and I was already doing the best I could
while juggling those things, and no reasonable amount of money would have convinced me to
drop out of school. So, anyway, about five months ago I went back
to college to study computer science, because, why not, seems like as reasonable a career
as any other. And I hated it. Not just programming, like, I realized that
the fact that I was failing all my classes was not the only reason I was miserable the
first time I went to college. I was doing fine in all my classes this time,
but And I basically sat down and went, “ok,
if I do this I’m gonna have to be at this for like, three more years, and I’m gonna
kinda lock myself into a career I’m not even sure I want to go into. My odds of being unemployed will be about
halved and my wage will probably be about one and a half times higher, but is that worth
being miserable and making negative money for three years of my life? I don’t think it is.” And then my dad was like “Hey, guess what? I just quit my job! We still have some of money saved up, so I
should still be able to pay your way through college, but I just thought I’d let you
know that our family now has no income. K bye!” And then I was like “OK, time to get a job. I’m gonna drop out of school, and then,
for one month I’m gonna put everything I have into making Youtube into a career. If by the end of that month I can’t make
a living off of it-“ And then Hank Green popped out of nowhere
and gave me a bunch of money through the Vlogbrother’s Creators Grants thingy, and then I was like
“Two months. I’m going to put everything I have into
making Youtube videos for two months, and if by the end of that I’m not making a living
I’ll just get whatever job I can get my hands on.” So yeah, that’s about where we are now. Link to my Patreon in the description.

100 thoughts on “Life Update (Jan 2017)

  1. First of all, good luck; I've had my own similar sorts of problems (I was stupid enough to finish college, and now I have 30 grand in debt and a job that doesn't require a degree), and it's good to see you're on your way to achieving your ambitions. I wish I could help, but I don't have a credit card or debit card, so I can't contribute to Patreon.

    Second of all, your story sounds kind of familiar… You might want to check out Shamus Young's Autoblography ( Granted, he's a programmer, but it seems to come to the same thing in this case. The moral of the story, I think, is "If he can do it, so can you!" (And, yes, he pretty much lives off his Patreon at this point… and that's more for his blog than his videos, even!)

    Lastly, just because I did the linguistics thing in college (minor only, because politics), I think I can answer some of threads of questions in the comments for you: I see a lot of people saying some things that tell me they've never been close to your own situation. Is the truth anything like:

    Why computer science and not linguistics?
    -First of all, linguistics is just "a degree for the sake of a degree" when it comes to getting jobs outside of academia. Secondly, if you've never taken linguistics, you probably don't really know what it is. A lot of linguistics on YouTube is a combination of historical linguistics and some of what you'd learn in Linguistics 101. Most universities don't have historical linguistics classes (mine had one course for one semester every two years. Seriously.) What you think of as linguistics is often closer to classics or a bunch of courses in dead languages. (My graduating class was over 12,000; the entire classics department had 11 undergrad students. I was the only one graduating in that year. Just so you know how useless this stuff is in the real world.) Higher linguistics classes involve things like neurology, lambda calculus, set theory, analyzing waveforms (if you've taken a course in phonetics or phonotactics, you've used Pratt), etc. Basically, phonology, syntax, and morphology (the bits of modern linguistics channels like Xidnaf and Nativlang talk about for the most part) are there mostly to give you a way to talk about how all the theory linguists actually study are realized in the real world. Academically-speaking, historical linguistics is a tiny field—especially when you separate it from more general archaeology, history, and anthropology—and almost all of the related jobs are at universities and require PhDs.

    Why are you thinking of college as job training?
    -Because that's what everyone is told college is until they're past the age most people finish college. Technical schools are job training for hands-on jobs, college for more intellectual jobs. That's what we're all told. It's not particularly true in many cases, but that's what we're told.

    How about computational linguistics?
    -First of all, that refers to a theory that's losing popularity (though it was a good stepping-stone to create modern linguistics, kind of like how psychoanalysis is outdated but was a required step for modern psychology) rather than getting computers to understand or produce language. (The name comes from creating a computational (ie: mathematical) system for linguistic rules. The best thing to come out of that is probably Optimality Theory, but that's not really all that useful in a practical sense.) I did see one comment by someone who knows what this really is (though they don't seem to realize it's nothing like what the videos are about, and thus likely nothing like Xidnaf's interests), but a couple of others seem to have just heard of it and think it combines computers and languages, which it doesn't. Second of all, language programming requires a high degree of competence in programming, and that didn't work out, remember? Also, this doesn't fix the problem of "Why am I reading this, then the professor tells me the same thing, then I take a test where I just quote the textbook or the professor? Can't I just get on with learning and leave all this busy work behind?" Linguistics has plenty of that, too. (I actually aced one class without attending once outside of exam days. Professor said nothing new.)

  2. I'm rooting for you! I love your channel and my favorite video was the one where you admitted everything that you half-assed in previous videos. I'm sure that with more solid research, your channel could be one of the most informational on youtube.

  3. ← This guy has been there and done that.
    University = negative money.

    Unless you want to get into teaching, business administration, or a medical or legal practice, no employer or client will ever ask you what degree you have, nor will they care. "We need (thing) done, please prove that you are capable of (thing)." Degrees, certifications, portfolios, and resumes just serve as body of evidence that you are sufficiently good at (thing).

    If you want a job that pays well, particularly in the IT field, technical certifications are a great option; provided you are sufficiently good and/or interested in (thing) where (thing) = (very niche and logically complex operation) x (programming language) to the power of (you are also going to have to explain everything you do to people who are incapable of comprehending the simplest of technical concepts) x (frequently)

  4. College and university degree are losing their value in terms of employability unless you are pursuing careers that require license. You've made right decision. Dream on.

  5. Hey xidnaf a fellow cs college student here, also started at 2014! (assuming, well, you didn't drop out) Your videos got me into linguistics and I hope I know as half as much about it as you do. (trying to dabble in the field by minoring, not sure how it's going..) I've learned quite a bit from you and well now that I've kinda locked myself into a nice-paying but questionable career I feel like I owe you something. Really supporting your efforts and take my money, best of luck with life and this channel

  6. I read the description, and I feel the exact same way about University. I've decided to tough it out, but it's gonna be rough. "I could learn any of this way faster if they just gave me the textbook and left me alone." is basically what I say to people word for word whenever I whine about my situation.

  7. I would give you money but I'm kinda broke. Well, not starving-broke but if I won't get a job by February, I might as well be. And I'm kinda in a situation similar to yours. Except I don't have a YT channel and I'm not as gifted as you… So I'm in a similar situation, except not. at. all. 😉
    All the best to you though (really sorry; when I'm un-broke I'm gonna support you, promise) and good luck!

  8. You're Hank approved. Assuming CGP doesn't sue you for stick figure infringement, I think that's enough motivation to try it out full time. Best of luck!

  9. Hey Xidnaf, have you ever thought about code camps or a similar training program instead of Computer Science at a College? I've never been to one, so I can't really recommend it, but it could be one way to get into the industry without getting a degree!

    You should look into it if you're still interested in programming.

  10. Hey, I've been praying for this for months. Your content is really awesome and I don't know of any other youtuber that does the same thing in a similar format – no BS, clear, direct and on-point, and the lack of eye candy really doesn't bother me since I come for the info. Looking forward to some new content!

  11. Hey, CS student here. Glad I now have one less potentially very competent colleague XD

    Just kidding I'd love to work with you should I ever had the chance to.

  12. Man, I totally support you. I love your work, you are a true creative mind, you make us think, learn and question. See you on Patreon, best of lucks! Cheers!

  13. From what I have heard from other Patreon creators: if there is a slight economic bump, Patreon is the first thing people cut and half your income vanishes.

  14. Oh no! I hope you do continue making more videos! Good luck! I'll do my best to support you via Patreon. I don't have a nice income, but I'll pitch in whenever I can.

  15. Gosh! I plan on going to CU Boulder with a major in linguistics and live around the Denver area. It'd be great to talk to you!

  16. First off, my professor at University uses your videos for her lectures and absolutely loves you (seriously, she encouraged us to try and find out who you were so she could thank you). That's actually how I started watching your videos (which are very good by the way). Secondly, as a senior in college who has now changed her major for the third time and is just finishing up my second major to get a degree, I feel you. My husband went through almost the exact same situation when he started in college and we both learned very quickly that the degree is not always worth it. I don't mean to ramble on your page, but I've recently gone through this discovery and it's probably one of the hardest things to do. Following your passions and going against the norm takes serious guts. So just know that there are others in the world who know the struggle and support your endeavors. Wishing you all the best of luck, and hoping to support you on Patreon soon. (Also, thanks for the homework help 😉 ).

  17. Artifexian was my fave linguistic channel, so when he introduced you, I felt happy!
    But now that Artifexian is cryogenically frozen, PLEASE DO THIS!
    I'll happily be a patreon but I'm still not in the age to have bank accounts. I'm 19 yrs old. Lol.

  18. I'll add my dollar to your efforts.

    As someone that has a near identical collage experience, I can tell you that following your passions can make good money. You have to work at it though. You have to be continually educating yourself and honing your skill. I would encourage you to look at this as not being a professional YouTuber, but as becoming a professional student of language, that happens to share the journey with others.

  19. Persevere my friend; nothing is easy in life. I'm glad your trying your best to make the most of your situation, and hope you succeed. Your videos are extraordinarily helpful for my linguistic/conlanging ideas and interests.

  20. I love the Crash Course series and think Hank made a great decision to help you out. Thanks for sharing, and hope you this works out!

  21. why not actually study linguistics? I mean you have a real interest in it. I feel like ten thousand others have asked you this. so I hope this works out for you. I think you are on a good track with evaluating yourself. so now comes building trust back up. when you prove to be consistent and reliable you will get more funding and subscribers. Don't be so hard on yourself if it doesn't happen in 2 months. It could but it might not. Good luck sir, and thank you for your honesty. It's
    very brave.

  22. This is a very insightful way to end my binge of Xidnaf content. The Hank Green from my own home state. Who'd have thought that it would "end" this way. Not saying that this is the end, but we're all caught up with the present now. My life story kind of follows a similar track to yours. I used to be a hardcore Physics nerd who went to college to become a physicist. My grades were terrible and I thought that they'd kick me out so I started to become a professional gamer! Well, turns out that they didn't kick me out and put me on academic probation.. but I was already being a try-hard and I wanted to continue my endeavor so I attempted to complete both college and my new gaming career. Somewhere along the way I ended up in a Japanese class as a last minute attempt to sign up for classes because I wasn't actually kicked out. From there (along with a few other exposures to foreign languages like Spanish and Korean) I was impregnated with a creeping passion for linguistics. Well, by the end of the second semester I ended up flunking out of college and my passion for gaming had died and my desire to learn new languages had yet to flourish. Fast forward about two years and here we are today where I'm actively seeking to return to school and begin my journey into linguistics. How fascinating this all is to me. I apologize for the rant, but I just really enjoyed spending this day with your content. If I find myself with a new job sometime soon you can be certain that you'll be my first Patreon that I endorse. Hope to see more videos!

  23. Why study computer science if you don't enjoy it? I would have assumed you would study linguistics, or perhaps design. There *IS* a real career out there for designers and good communicators, and it pays decently well. And you are a very good communicator. How many highschoolers have youtube subscribers like you do? You are much better at explaining grand concepts and trimming them down into bite-sized chunks.

    This is a critical skill for user interface design. Apple kills for designers who can do this. They may not need to ever write a line of code; if they can draw a paper prototype of the menu or a few illustrations to introduce an interactive element, that is great.

    Don't study something you hate. Also, you can take 1 class per semester as a non-traditional or adult student, which is a lot easier when working, and it gives you much more time to find the parts of the subject that you like. You'd probably get a lot more from a graphic design or illustration class. At the least, it will teach you tools that you can use in your videos.

  24. Xidnaf why did you go into Computer Science? most of your videos are on linguistics so why did you not study Linguisistics.

  25. If you ask me, a computer science degree isn't even worth the time and effort. A lot of software developers seem to be doing fine without them (source:, and most companies care a lot more about experience. Plus, with how fast technologies change and with the sheer quantity of different technologies (the vast majority of which you'll probably never hear about in university), you're screwed if you can't teach yourself anything. If you're self-taught, not only are you safe in that respect, but you also save a ton of time and money.

    I'm 18. I've been out of high school for ~9 months. I wasn't sure if college was worth my time and money, and I was kind of dreading it, seeing as traditional education doesn't work well for me. I started putting minimum effort into school, and taught myself computer science in my free time. I just got a job at a startup.

    Also, tip for anyone interested in going down a similar route: applying to jobs online is a huge waste of time. I've applied to hundreds of programming jobs online, and that never got me anywhere. Go to meetups. Talk to real people. It's far more effective. If there aren't any meetups near you, finding any way to get there is worth your time. I currently live in a very rural area. I've been driving to meetups ~2 hours away. Travel expenses have almost emptied my bank account, but it's paying off.

  26. I'm a fan. Excited that you're taking this path. HMU if you want any details on the linguistics of Khmer or Vietnamese. That's my focus.

  27. I'm 15 years old and broke as a joke but you're the first YouTuber to whom I have ever wanted to donate. I really hope this YouTube career works out for you; your content is fantastic, you're obviously intelligent in a way schooling can't do justice to and you deserve to be able to make a rewarding living outside of the education system hamster-wheel because that route really isn't for everyone. Best of luck xx

  28. why don't you try to be an English teacher in other countries.. travel around, gain lang info and linguistic info.. use your lang info to teach English.. eventually you will find your passion.

  29. Man, I wish you could be here in Germany. We still believe in a society becoming so highly developed, that people can do what is their passion, and have all basic necessities covered by the wealth created with automation. One can already automate at least >>80% of that away. It is already happening a lot! The problem is that the wealth goes to only some people. Who barely did anything for it, and sit on the hard work of millions of employees that they merely leeched on. That is about to change. Even our highest politicians are openly talking about creating a robot tax and unconditional basic income. The fairy tale of “jobs” is over.

  30. "I don’t really have any career ambitions besides being a Youtuber"
    Shit, man.. I'm absoultely noone to teach you life, but it's so infant(ile). You seemed so dedicated to linguistics (you said you even started being so interested yet at school), it was worth respect, indeed. And then you got (i guess, ) lazy enough to drop from college (even if it wasn't laziness, i'm very sure you could have reached your diploma).
    And then you realized you can't always sit on your parents' shoulders(back), and tried to get into CS (working a computer developer has lots of disatvanges btw), and for some reasoning that looks to be so weak you couldn't even speak it in the video, you dropped this, too.
    Man, i really love you, and respected you being so dedicated while at school age. But you need to grow up. "They make me sit at classes while i could have read a book on the topic" is fucking no excuse of having no job. You are cool, but you can never earn your and your future family leaving begin a videoblogger. I'm absolutely noone to teach you life, but i hope you carefully read this shit.

  31. Do your business brother!!! Every sub you have is one you deserve, I wish you tons of luck.. btw have you ever studied Æsthetic? I'm reading Æsthetic: as Science of Expression and General Linguistic by Benedetto Croce, its a great book.

  32. As someone who also struggled with the university conundrum from a particularly low income family (I live in the UK so we get loans, but due to cuts it's a necessity so have some sort of outside support) the only breadwinner in my house fell ill as i was leaving high school- so this made the university thing kinda hard. Ended up as a carer for my ill family member for a while and managed to get into low-level education, and managed to find something I genuinely love doing (I'm a motion graphics designer in training kinda by the way) and the wage for one of a those…. pretty good! As soon as I get a bit of a job, I hope I can pledge a little a month to help out. YAY WORK ETHIC (up at 4am finishing presentation for at 10AM……stab me in the eyes and call me marvin)

  33. Side note, Video idea – (inspired by your calendars one) Notation systems? it's a kind of language? I'm just kinda curious if their are international differences (or if the pervasiveness of the west crushed all the things?).

  34. If anyone gives you crap about dropping out of college, point them in the direction of this article:

  35. Yay late to the party! I didnt even know you had a secret channel, so I guess its working as intended though 😛

    If you bother to read this though Xidnaf, as I'm sure many other people have said, you are not alone in your whole school scenario. When I was looking at college and universities in 2012, we were told something like 80% of people would change their major, and another 30% would change schools (numbers may not be accurate, that was five years ago). So you are 100% not alone! I found myself in a similar situation to you to, where I took a major in history and minor in religious studies because I freaking LOVE history! Well about a year in I realized that, for various reasons, both school-related and personal, the whole university thing wasn't working out, and it wasn't even preparing me for what I really wanted to do anyways; work in the heritage sector. So, I sucked my way up through a third miserable semester (thank god I never failed anything, but I got LOTS of Ds) and started looking. Initially I was like, hey, I like working with my hands, maybe ill just become a plumber or something. They're rich right? But while I was looking at a college in my university city, which I loved, I found quite possibly the perfect program; Applied Museum Studies. Basically everything you need to know to break into the museum world in 3 years, plus plenty of networking time.

    Two years in, I can still say I love the program, but it's wearing me out. I'm finding I'm doubting myself a lot, and I find I look more and more to the single university course I take each summer to keep working towards my degree. Ive never been really happy at either place, but a little bit of each seems to be working for me.

    So the point to this whole speech, once again assuming you read comments on 4 month old videos, is that following your exact love is probably going to suck. But, look around and see what your options are. You might find something similar that piques your interest and also gets you a job 🙂 I really hope you find some success either in school, or youtube, or both, and I look forward to more videos!

  36. Wow. Watching this video has really made me think yikes! I seriously need to start thinking about what I'm going to do after sixth form :/

  37. How did I not see this video? Dang, I'm super late.

    First off, I'd love to contribute to your Patreon, but I don't have an income, heh. So when I'm healthy and can get a job – we'll see.

    Second – "career" is so overestimated. You could study programming – whether it'd be through college or through online resources like Code Academy and such, and use that to freelance enough to be able to support your self and your real interest.

    E.g. Martin from the College Info Geek podcast – he works as a web developer and such and on the side he studies foreign languages cause he likes that. This one time he explicitly said something like: Your job doesn't have to be your passion, it could be something that enables you to follow your passion.

    I HIGHLY recommend and encourage you to watch Thomas Frank's "Stop Trying to Find Your Passion" video and the College Info Geek podcast episode "How to Learn How to Code" just to get Thomas' and Martin's insight on how to approach such things. I think it might really set some things into perspective for you.

    Nevertheless I wish you all the best in whatever the endeavor and will always support your channel!

  38. People: I'll do computer science I like Python
    People: wtf this is just a math degree…
    Me: well it was applied math for like 15 years

  39. Dude, you need to go straight to the Linguistics or History department in your college and find a professor to be your mentor. You should be in academia.

  40. Any more updates? I haven't seen any new shit from the main channel since that god damn video 3 fucking months ago. Jesus Christ. 😛

  41. What's this time management system? sensing deja vu here, please elaborate. Urgent! Or tell me how i can find out.

  42. Linguistics not right, CS not right? Why not study computational linguistics?

  43. I've built my life off the idea that I just want to make games in my free time. I'm like you in that I can't do self employment but I know this is still somthing I want to do. My plan is essentially to get a part time job to pay the bills and embrace minimalism in order to lower the amount of time I need to work in order to live. This gives me enough time to do what I want in my free time. I don't know you well enough to say if this kind of plan would work for you but a career isn't everything. Maybe you could dedicate your life to doing research and youtube as a hobby instead. You won't be pressured into making videos and it won't lose it's fun. You also have the option of quitting anytime – unless you want to go full homestead.

  44. Hey old friend ! You may not recognize me by this name, but I’m Mohammed Jalloh from 2013 in the YT Inbox. Sorry to here about your sad situation, it’s only coming up now lol.

  45. dude you are probaby explaining my life here, wow amazing similarities
    but I graduated school at 2012 other stuff is the same till 0:24
    (and instead of making videos I just became a self educator (basically I started Quran)

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