To young INTPs
Especially Americans; and probably other first world cultures; but I can't say definitely.
I speak from experience, having once been a young INTP and now being only a young-ish INTP (I will be 29 any minute now). Probably this advice applies to most on the NTP spectrum; E's as well, I suspect the J's, who will be your friends, will scoff at our malaise. But I digress.
If you are on top of the world, stop reading now. You've hit your groove; you somehow have a lot of social capital despite your deep introversion; just play that shit out and come back if/when you burn out.
But if you are like most younger INTP's (in my limited experience) and fully aware of your own inadequacies; maybe you don't feel strong in the world, maybe you don't feel you are able to 'get on' with people in the way that seems just so easy for others. Maybe you feel you see things just so clearly, and you value it; but you can't quite get that across to others, and it hurts you.
Notice my use of 'feel' again and again? Weird, isn't it. We aren't feelers so much, us INTPs; not primarily. But we do; and I think we are prone to the darker side of feelings; since, when we are high on life, we can't be bothered to 'feel good'; we are way too busy thinking nice, complex thoughts. Solving the world's problems with our minds. But when our brains don't have an outlet; and we see the state of the world, and our lives, indeed we feel. Restlessness, hopelessness; indeed we are seeing too much at once. As an INTP you are holding the whole world in a logical whole (not everyone does this!) and when your place in it is one without power, or without substance; you see in quite vivid detail a wasted life (as a teenager! -- it's really quite funny when thought about in these terms).
I say these things not to press harder on the sad buttons; but create common ground, so you can believe the things I say later. You are aware of the world, and your place in it. You can't help but knowing it; even if you aren't mulling it around on the tip top of your consciousness; it's there, it's accessible, and it's in your subconcious; maybe painful to bring to the top, but it's there.
Maybe not so painful though. Perhaps you see it instead as temporary, because you know what you are capable of. Maybe you know (and this is one thing I want to stress) that the way your mind works, while not inherently any better or worse than other minds; is *more valued* from an economic standpoint than others. Pure coincidence, really. Time and place and all that. I mean it only from a statistical stand point; you have the mind of an engineer; a scientist, a programmer. In the world we live in, these people are paid too much; to the point it is genuinely not fair. But, it is a fact.
Do these things seem unattainable? Hard? Because you can't use your mind to pull it in all at once? Probably so; I am familiar with this; something my glimpse of maturity and real-life experience has almost let me forget.
You have gone through a dozen years of almost worthless public education; demolishing anything with your mind you cared to give effort to; you, it's very likely, never had to work hard to learn anything that you know! Maybe you have learned some things very well, and spent a lot of time on them; but you enjoyed it, right? It was fascinating and you wanted more, piece by piece and you got it.
But you are approaching being a grown up now; and money is on your mind, and sex and navigating a big scary world; and there is no little piece to start with, it can seem. No little bit of fascination that leads to the next thing and the next thing, like the video games or sci-fi books that you have obsessed over. Just these big huge things that can't fit in your mind in one piece, and it's daunting.
Plus, what are you going to do? You have to make a decision, right? You can't even vote; but you feel you are making a decision with school that will affect your life forever. The burden is real, and scary.
The reality is that no, you don't really need to. It doesn't really matter at all. Stay out of trouble (at least stay out of *big* trouble), treat your mind well, follow your passions, and you are bound for success.
Learn to learn! I suspect INTPs are much more inclined to be autodidacts than other types; if you go to school you will likely learn that you are teaching yourself, or that you have whatever you need at your finger tips to learn whatever the hell you want to and it's only a matter of doing it.
If you have to take out significant loans to go to school, DO NOT FUCKING DO IT. Not unless you are going to a top-tier school and know exactly what-the-fuck you want to do. Then obviously, don't let me little rant stop you; you wouldn't anyway, but I have to say it.
But if you are about to take out 120k over the next four years to go to a second rate private school to pursue a degree in something that sounds neat; you should just run some numbers. Do you want to be a laywer or a medical doctor, or teach in a university? If the answer is no; then save the money and teach yourself.
Every field that your mind is geared toward is a results-oriented field. You think anyone gives a fuck if you have a 4 year degree in computer science from kentucky state? You actually might think they do; which is why I am writing this. They don't. Did you write some little bit of code that isn't terrible, that people use? They care about that.
Here's the thing I want to impress; after all my rambling.
1. It doesn't fucking matter; we are all gonna die; we'll all gonna get butt hurt now and then; and we're all gonna have a smile or two.
2. You have a lot of control. You can change your life so frickin' fast if you can wrap your mind around it and intercept the inertia. Whip your skinny or fatass into shape in a few months and have the rest of your life be better for it. Not that it's easy; but it's attainable. You need to know this deeply, and as an INTP the way it seems is to just think about it. Maybe study up on life changing things people have done. You might still see that it's hard, but know from an analytic point of view that you can literally make the rest of your 80-100+ year life way fucking better by breaking the inertia for a few months.
3. Your mind is fucking useful. The whole world runs on systems made up of systems made up of systems. And guess what? Most people can't wrap their heads around systems in the way you can. Sure, they can understand them, see what they are doing. But you can (and love to!) hold all the details in all at once; or at least know how to chyunk-em-off so you can mimic them in your mind. INTPs aren't the only ones; don't get me wrong. You aren't a fucking snowflake either; but you might suck at making things orderly, or personal hygiene, or actually doing the things you know you should be doing; (things other types are good at) but you can think your way out of a complex system. That shit is worth MONEY; more money than it should be; frankly. But it's the world we live in. You engineer something once, design something once, solve a complex problem in software once; and some ENTJ mother fucker with an MBA will give you 100k for it while he multiplies it 1000x times and makes millions. Fair deal, really.
TL;dr Learn to learn things; know you can drastically change yourself in very short periods of time (even though it's hard), and the types of things your mind is good at are worth more money than they should be because the coincidental time in history we find ourselves.