Thursday, January 03, 2008

You should have two long-term objectives in college

A couple of days ago I was reflecting on how aimlessly I wandered through high school, college, and even grad school. I had no plan, and no idea how to think about my coursework (or even about my life, to be honest). I did well grade-wise because my older brother was very smart and I wanted to emulate him.

What I wish I had had, in retrospect, was someone to help me put it all in context, and in particular to help me balance the competing demands of what is fulfilling and what is needed to make a living.

Today I ran across a blog post by Paul Gowder that I wish I had read in 1979. Its relevance goes well beyond what to do in college. Here is an excerpt, but there is much more, and it is funny as well as serious. (He promises that a future post will be entitled "So you went to law school; how to get out of this mess.")
You should have two long-term objectives in college. The first is to learn what you love and try to make a life where you can be personally fulfilled and hopefully contribute something to the rest of the world, be it in art, in politics and community service, in knowledge, or (even) in wealth. The second is to handle the economic realities of the world and maximize your human capital to enable you to meet your material needs.
PS: I got this link from the same older brother....