As far as taking benefits from the government goes, I don't enjoy it either, not least because that money is going to dry up eventually, and most likely sooner rather than later. However, in my current situation, it seems like the lesser of two evils. I'd rather have something than nothing at all.
I also agree that floating through life without a purpose or direction is very mentally unhealthy. While I do have a goal, since it's pretty much unattainable, that only adds to my frustration. Unfortunately, the more you sit around doing the same things day after day, the less motivation you have to look for potential solutions, never mind the fact that when you think you've found a solution, there's no guarantee that it will work out, and getting your hopes up is a risk that isn't always worth taking. Add that to long-standing depression in my case, and that doesn't make for a generally fulfilling life.
The main reason I never went to college, as a few people have touched on in previous posts, was that I went to a school for the blind during my high school years, and I felt like I wasn't prepared to handle the workload. I had gone to a public school up until the end of ninth grade, and when I went to the school for the blind, the quality of the education they provided was basically a complete 180 from what I had experienced up to that point. By necessity, in public school I had to deal with everything alone, from trouble with bullying which no one took seriously, to finding creative ways to shove visual concepts in my head that no one could be bothered to try and explain. Mostly, that involved me avoiding a lot of work, or cheating, at least in math. Back in those days, you couldn't use calculators in school, it was strictly forbidden. So all I would have to do if I desperately needed to pass an assignment or test was use the calculator on my Braille Lite, but always make sure to deliberately get a couple of answers wrong so that no one would suspect. During my ninth grade year, when dealing with teachers who weren't comfortable with having a blind student, work that was becoming increasingly difficult, both because I didn't understand a lot of it, and because of my increasing depression around that time, and kids who wanted nothing to do with me, I would skip as many classes as I could, and sit in the library, where I would read or sleep or just sit staring into space. nobody ever confronted me about it because, I guess, they didn't want to bother the poor blind person, I don't know. The only reason I stopped doing that as because one day, I made the mistake of using the computer that was in the back of the library which was equipped with JAWS. That day, the person who Brailled my assignments and stuff caught me, and she made sure that I got suspended for 3 days. She wanted me to be punished more harshly than that, actually, but I just had to sit in a classroom for those few days and do a bunch of busy work with some of the other notorious troublemakers. Frankly, that was heaven. The work was easy, we all had no choice but to sit there and be quiet, and at least no one was either yelling, snickering at or making pointed efforts to ignore me.
Anyway, one thing that I knew, at least, was that I was receiving a normal workload. As much as I struggled to keep up with it, in hindsight I wish I could have made it work in public school, problems and all, because at the school for the blind we barely had to do anything. I get that for some people, especially those who had some cognitive challenges, or those who went to such a place their entire school careers, the work seemed hard to them. But for me, I could basically just snap my fingers and get it done. I remember one incident where my history teacher in tenth grade asked me to read a passage to the class. I proceeded to read at, what to me felt like a completely normal, even pace. After a few seconds, she yelled at me to slow down and that I wasn't being nice to the kids who couldn't read as fast. That's just one example of how I had to dumb myself down at that place, never mind that I can read over 200 words per minute in Braille, silently anyway. Cut that in half maybe for reading aloud, and I'm pretty sure that's a pace that most people who enjoy reading do read at. Because of that, I know that there's no way in hell I could have passed in college, I was at too great a disadvantage, and I doubt anyone would have been understanding of that. Everyone, even folks in this topic, always talks about the harsh realities of doing things on your own in college. If I could barely do that in public school, why in the world would I put myself through that stress again, knowing full well that I'd have nothing and no one to fall back on?
It's lucky that I've been interested in technology from a young age, because, in the IT field, certifications are what matter, and those don't require a college degree unless you want one. I've actually heard that having a certification or two under your belt can be more helpful in some cases than a degree, depending on which field you're going into, of course, although it also shows dedication and a willingness to learn outside the box.
I think there were other points in this plethora of posts that I wanted to comment on, but my educational experiences always derail me when they come up in conversation, so I can't remember exactly what they were now. In any case, this has been a fascinating read, and I look forward to seeing more responses.
The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's just holding half the amount it can potentially hold.