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You're Going to Be the One Doing it Anyway

When I was a kid, my parents would tell me to do something reasonable like clean my room. I'd probably do it, or at least make a token effort. Sometimes I wouldn't do it, and my mom would do it for me. Or maybe I'd be out at school and she'd be sick of me having a messy room, so she'd just clean it without asking me to do it first. In school I'd be assigned stuff to do. Usually I'd do it, but when I didn't, there weren't really any consequences. I'd get worse grades, but the impact of one assignment on a grade always seemed so tiny, and I never really cared about grades beyond not getting in trouble with my parents.

I got used to the idea that if I was supposed to do something, but didn't do it, it didn't really matter. Maybe someone else would just do it for me, or maybe the problem would just go away. There are probably a million different reasons that people procrastinate, but this was probably the biggest one for me. It wasn't that I thought that I would prefer to do something later-- it's that I sort of subconsciously thought that if I didn't do it now, maybe I'd never have to do it.

In real life, though, this isn't how things work. If I don't do something right now that needs to get done, then I'm going to need to do it later.

I remember the first time I came face to face with this. Two thousand three was the first year I made a significant amount of money gambling online. I think it may have also been the first year my parents stopped filing taxes for me. They told me to take care of my taxes and even told me how to take care of them. April fifteenth came around, and I kept thinking about how I should realy get to those taxes, knowing I wasn't actually going to do them. On the sixteenth, taxes felt just like a missed assignment. Too late to do anything about it now!

Thoughts on college, work and having a framework

On Ideas in the Making

I currently go to college, and if it weren't for the fact that it is so cheap due to scholarships and financial aid, and because my parents really want me to graduate, I would have probably dropped out already. It's been said by various bloggers and other minds already : College just isn't an effective place to get the skills required to succeed in life. Unless you're going for a profession that requires a lot of credentials, or need access to institutional level equipment or processes to get your research done (such as say an electron microscope) College just doesn't work. Here are the main problems.

1. Its expensive. I want to mention this one first and underscore it substantially. College isn't cheap, even a state college can end up costing 10-15 thousand dollars a year. or about 40-60 thousand dollars for your diploma. And its not only that, you have to look at the differential, in other words you can't compare going to college versus not going college, you have to compare going to college, with what you give up to go to college. Not only could you have used that time to make 40-60 thousand dollars working minimum wage, gotten some real life work experience, but that gave you money. Thus the actual cost of going to college, comparing it to a minimum wage job, is actually 80-120 thousand dollars. And this is for state 4-year colleges, if its private, I hope you have a scholarship or have very rich parents.

But, it doesn't stop there, College isn't just expensive in dollar terms, but also in terms of time. It is very easy to feel very time-deprived in college, and it can be hard to get side projects done do the cognitive switch penalty (every time you shift attention you have to spend time rebuilding attention or refocusing) When you have 4-5 classes spread around a couple of subjects, maybe a club or sport, a social life, and want to tack on a side project such as a startup, or maybe something like learning some programming, poker, or just relaxing, your time really starts going through the door. You spend countless minutes doing the minutiae like going to and from class, having to meet up with groups, email professors, switch from math, to politics, to a film class, to psychology, then you want to go exercise, maybe go out to eat with friends and still have time to maybe watch a TV show or read up on a passion of yours. It all takes a large toll on your attention.

2. It doesn't train you. Everyone talks about getting an education left and right and how important it is to be educated. Then you go to college and all the professors talk about how important it is to be in class. The truth is I've noticed 90%+ of classes teach you things you could have learned just easily, or probably even better, by just buying 3-5 books on the subject on amazon, and watching a couple of documentaries on the subject. The fact of the matter is humans get better at what they do most, not at what they are taught to do. But wait, isn't that the same? No. A person who spends all day analyzing tennis matches and tennis players gets better at doing just that, analyzing tennis matches and tennis players, they don't get better at tennis. The same goes for college. if you spend all day studying management strategies you get better at doing just that.

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