On Parental Advice

Parents want the best for you, but most of the time what they want is low-risk high security.  Study computer science so you can find a job.  Go work 20 years in a government job and get a pension.  For the love of god, don’t go haring off on some random startup that might not be able to pay your rent (and of course don’t even think about getting that art history degree).

Sometimes a bit of common sense is useful.  After all, a degree these days is mostly useful to get a good job.  If you only cared about learning, you should do self study, experimentation, and apprenticeships and skip the student debt.  (Or perhaps you were far-sighted enough, or well trained enough, or lucky enough, to get a scholarship.)

But generally in life, some amount of risk taking is required if you want higher returns.  And fun.  Fun is correlated with risk-taking to some degree.

So basically, you should listen to your parents knowing that they mean well, but weigh your other options and preferences.  After all, it’s your life, and what’s the point in being safe and secure if you’re also bored out of your mind?  As the Hunter S. Thompson quote goes, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!'”

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