TED Conversations

Junior State of America

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How can today's youth get involved and help initiate change in the world?

I am sixteen years old. It is 7AM here in Seattle, and I have not slept all night because I have been watching all of these TED videos. This is one of the most invigorating and inspiring websites I have ever had the fortune of stumbling upon.

As a young citizen, I am constantly trying to determine what role I want to play in my community, my country, and ultimately the world. The trouble is that I don't really know myself. I don't really know what I'm passionate about. I go back and forth between an inspired, i-can-do-anything mentality and a state of complete and utter despair because I have no idea what to do with myself.

TED videos remind me of my desire to initiate change. They encourage me to find what it is that I'm passionate about and to commit myself to the cause, yet it seems like they give us youth very few resources to experiment, discover, and participate in a way that has any significant effects.

What I'm seeking isn't vague, unhelpful (though well-intentioned) encouragement saying, "Don't give up! You can do it!"-type things. What are some specific ways I can get involved? (Ex: Names of some nonprofit organizations I can volunteer/intern at?)

*Edit: I know that, ultimately, I have to find out for myself what I'm passionate about. Perhaps I should be asking for you to share some of your experiences in which you discovered your passion(s).


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  • Jan 11 2012: i feel exactly the same way, i am a 14 y/o boy, living in the UK (unfortunately). i also do find it very difficult to be creative and feel as if thought, the schools are actually killing our creativity, and training us instead of teaching us, i still have no idea what to do with my life, one day i'm interested in medicine the other, finance.

    My advice to you would be to, just carry on watching motivational videos on the internet, or buy some books which would make you think very deep. Also, i recommend watching a talk on TED, Richard St John, on success and others might be nick vujicic who is a very inspiring and motivational speaker.

    i hope this helped.
    • Jan 12 2012: Zohaib,

      It's nice to hear from someone who's in the same boat as me! In general, as long as you keep up with your grades and continue taking classes and participating in activities that interest you, you should end up fine :) Work hard, play hard.

      Thanks for the words of advice!

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