18 years old and scared shitless

36 posts / 0 new
Last post
zooted's picture
zooted
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 14 2011
Posts: 3
18 years old and scared shitless

Hey guys,

I just recently stumbled upon the Crash Course via http://www.theamericandreamfilm.com/. I've always been a pretty critical thinker and would consider myself a healthy skeptic, although recently I found myself getting more and more cynical with regards to American politics. After watching the short film about the Fed through the above link, watching the Crash Course, reading Chris's recommended books and all the while paying attention to the news (not MSM), I AM SCARED SHITLESS.

I'm 18 years old and soon I'll be going to university. As of now I plan on double majoring in Philosophy and Economics, with the intent of going on to Law school. My dad, luckily, has saved up enough for my undergrad education and told me he won't need to take out any loans. That said, is it a good idea for me to go to university and then later to Law school in the current and impending economic climate?

Basically, what can someone still in high school do to ensure future well-being in the face of current global predicaments?

sheryl909's picture
sheryl909
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 15 2010
Posts: 10
Trying to find the recent

Trying to find the recent Subprime JD thread for zooted, but not having any luck.  Can anyone else find and post the link to that thread?  His blog might be helpful to an aspiring attorney.

Lemonyellowschwin's picture
Lemonyellowschwin
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2008
Posts: 561
zooted . . .

As someone who majored in philosophy and went on to law school feel free to PM me for advice . . . .

As for being scared shitless, don't be!  Consider yourself very fortunate to live in interesting times.  With preparation and foresight anyone your age ought to be able to do great.  Its the folks in their middle years, whose futures are intertwined with maintance of the status quo who might  stand to be a little freaked out . . . .

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Stop Being Scared, You Have Opportunities
zooted wrote:

I AM SCARED SHITLESS.

Stop being scared. You, of all people, probably have the best chance at doing things right because you are young and full of life, and you are willing to listen. That puts you 100% ahead of most other people out there.

First of all, if you are in the U.S., you may want to consider going to community college for the first two years before transferring, and ask your father to let you invest the savings. If anything, that might help you pay to for graduate school. We all know college is expensive.

Philosophy
I think you should definitely consider taking philosophy classes, especially on logic and rhetoric. However, I'm not sure if having philosophy as a major is as useful in case you need to find a job right after getting your bachelor of arts degree. Besides, you can always pick up on philosophy by reading books and having discussions with philosophy major friends and professors.

Economics
If you study economics, you'll probably find that the math skills you have to learn - statistics, calculus, etc. - will be very helpful no matter where you go. But as you have probably figured out, the Crash Course and a lot of the books recommended are not the kind of mainstream economics being taught. Which of the various schools of economics do you plan on studying. How important will it be for law school - or if you have to find a job with just a bachelor of arts or science degree?

Law
You've probably noticed that there have been articles about discouraged law school graduates not finding jobs yet being saddled with $100k to $200k in student loans (here's one from the New York Times: (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html). One of our members runs Subprime JD (here's an insightful post there, especially some of the comments: http://subprimejd.blogspot.com/2011/04/fall-of-biglaw-ivy-league-grad.html) a blog about his experiences. If you truly want to go into law, make sure you have a very specific plan for what kind of school, what kind of firm, and what kind of job (in the kind of future that will arrive). By the time you are starting your first year, you should already be networking with partners at law firms (maybe your father has connections), making sure you get into the law review, and trying to make sure you get an early offer.

No matter what you decide, I highly suggest first and foremost to continue to be aware and work on being resilient. Help your father and family and friends be more aware and resilient. Read some of the things in the "What Should I Do?" series, and learn some practical skills as a backup (basic mechanics, carpentry, gardening, self defense, advanced first aid, etc.). Especially because you are young, you can develop yourself for a post-peak-everything future - moulding your body and mind and spirit in synergy. You will easily find a solid place in your community and family as a substantial contributor and respected leader.

Poet

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
Welcome

Hey zooted,

I hear you. I'm 55 myself but have kids and a grandchild. There are other younger folks on this site. It's a pretty good place to get information without a lot of hysteria. You have rich and poor, young and old, conservative and liberal hammering out solutions to how to handle peak oil, crumbling fiat economies and the carrying capacity of the earth. We try to stay focused on Dr. Chris' Three Es - Environment, Economy and Energy. Practical advice on next steps is in the "What Should I do" series of posts. A lot of it might not be tailored to your specific situation but odds are there will be a post in the forums that covers those. I seem to recall a thread that talked about quitting law school because it would be a bad idea to run up student loans. Thankfully you say you don't have to worry about loans.

Let me give you some encouraging thoughts.

1. You're young and healthy.

2. If hyperinflation reallly kicks in older folks will not have the advantage that younger ones have - you can demand wages that keep up with inflation, while they have to live off a fixed income. ( I am not at that point yet,, but my in-laws are.)

3. Fear is a healthy reaction to the facts. What's scary is how few people "get it."

Anyhow, Welcome.

Safewrite

 

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Online)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2606
Welcome

zooted -

Welcome to the site.  Let your fear help focus your efforts and preparations.  Understand that it is something we all went through to varying degrees when we first got here.  Just ask yourself if you would rather be "18 and ignorant" or "18 and scared shitless"?

Look forward to seeing more posts - I think you are the youngest poster we've had in a long time.

FWIW, I take a lot of comfort in the following words from Publilius Syrus 2000+ years ago:

"'Tis foolish to fear what cannot be avoided."

 

I also take a lot of comfort in the words of the great 20th century 'philosopher' duo of Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia:

"Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right."

passantgardant's picture
passantgardant
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 22
You are right to feel

You are right to feel disturbed, disillusioned, and anxious.  It is important to remain calm though.  There are steps anyone can take to prepare for what's likely around the bend.  

You didn't say where you're planning on going to school.  I would recommend avoiding major cities.  Somewhere like Dartmouth or Cornell, in the boonies relatively speaking, would be preferable to Columbia or University of Chicago... unless you specifically WANT to witness the disintegration of civil society, which could be a learning experience in itself!  

I would suggest that your father put the considerable savings needed to send you to school into a diversified portfolio heavily weighted in precious metals.  EverBank has precious metals CDs which are both FDIC insured against principle losses but also tied to PMs to the upside.  This would be ideal for at least part of your college savings.  

Also, even though you have these savings, it is beneficial to get loans because they are government subsidized and provide tax write-offs for both you and your parents.  And since you can get fixed-rate loans or variable-rate loans with tight controls on increases, at historically low interest rates currently, hyperinflation will make any such debts virtually disappear.  And it's completely risk free if you have money in an account appreciating, standing by to pay off the loans if needed.  There's no better investment than to incur fixed-rate debt for a capital asset (including education) when you're anticipating hyperinflation.

Make sure your parents, siblings, friends, and extended family take steps to prepare for a currency crisis -- those steps are found throughout these forums.  

I highly recommend at least a minor in Philosophy, with a concentration on ethics -- particularly for lawyers.  If you find you can't handle a double major, downgrade Philosophy to a minor.  I found minoring in Philosophy to be very rewarding.  I'm not too sure how Economics or Law will fare in the future, depending on where we end up over the next decade or two, but they would probably be safe bets as long as you don't overpay for the degree.  

And building some hobby skills in more technical pursuits such as fixing cars, home repair and construction, or farming would be a good fall-back for if the social break-down is pervasive and persistent.  These times call for everyone who hopes to survive and thrive to be jacks of all trades, not specialists.

benb331's picture
benb331
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 14 2011
Posts: 4
Zooted - I'm 24 and happy as

Zooted - I'm 24 and happy as can be that I am able to get a head start.  Thanks to my skepticism, curiosity, and a little luck stumbling upon the right resources, I now have the opportunity to exchange paper money for real wealth (resources).  We may not be so lucky in the future.  I'd like to strongly second two things mentioned earlier:

 

1)  Community college - without a doubt, do this.  The financial savings is immense.  The quality of education is a little worse, but a curious mind and a library card can more than compensate.

2)  Youth is indeed an advantage.  The wages/inflation comment earlier was spot-on.  Same to the health.  You also have the ability to learn skills that aren't so easy to learn when you're going gray.

I'll add a 3rd - lifestyle creep.  Don't let it get started, and it won't be a burden later.  Check out earlyretirementextreme.com - even if you don't want to retire extremely early, this is a good resource for figuring out how to live on little.  If you get used to little now and learn to appreciate it, then you won't feel so deprived if/when you have no choice but to live on little.

And a 4th - learn some real skills while you're in college.  Apprentice at a responsible farm, learn to build things, learn to fix things...

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2244
Hey Zooted-     Charles

Hey Zooted-

    Charles Hugh Smith posted an article today about getting an education nowadays that you might find interesting.  It is "What Are The Alternatives to 100k In Student Loan Debt?"  at http://www.oftwominds.com/blogapril11/alternatives-to-100K4-11.html .  Coincidentally, he  talks about having gotten a degree in philosophy himself.  Charles also has some unique thoughts on apprenticeships and finding a master/mentor to learn from that you may or may not find interesting.

   Your eyes are open and you are a critical thinker; those attributes will serve you well in creating your path in life. 

   Good luck!

  

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 9 2009
Posts: 1443
Hi Zooted Welcome to CM As

Hi Zooted

Welcome to CM

As of now I plan on double majoring in Philosophy and Economics, with the intent of going on to Law school.

Ok. I know this is just going to sound negative but I'll just cut to the chase.

IMO all 3 of these ideas are very bad. Let me explain. You don't need to go to school to learn about philosophy. You can learn on your own for free. Unless you plan on teaching it at some point you will just be throwing your money away.

If you study economics at a university you will be taught Keynesian economics, period. Ask some people who have taken economics as a major and they will most likely tell you its all BS.

Law school - Yikes. Just google it. Where is bearmarkettrader when you need him?

Sorry to be Debbie Downer here but I wish someone had been straight with me before I wasted so much time and money at a university.

earthwise's picture
earthwise
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2009
Posts: 848
Education in a post-SHTF world

Hey Zooted,

Here's some insight on getting an education from Charles Hugh Smith:

http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/charles-hugh-smith/what-are-the-alternatives-to-100-k-in-student-debt

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2236
Welcome zooted --

-- nice to see some young blood here in the community!

I think everything I'd have recommended has already been said.  So -- I'll just say:  make yourself at home here, ask questions (or use the google search box on the upper R of the home page to see if something you're curious about has already been exhaustively handled) and make good use of the many very sharp and friendly folks here at CM.com.

Viva -- Sager

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
never Ever(bank)
passantgardant wrote:

EverBank has precious metals CDs which are both FDIC insured against principle losses but also tied to PMs to the upside.

passantgardant,

I'd agree with much of your advice or at least not disagree with it but regarding the Everbank CDs, I would STRONGLY disagree.  Read the fine print on these babies and avoid them like the plague.  As one who is involved in a class action suit related to their CDs and having investigated the issue closely, I would urge extreme caution..

nigel's picture
nigel
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2009
Posts: 145
hmmmm

This is probably the one time in history that the chance to signifcantly change your social situation is available to almost anyone. It's a time of upheaval and change. The time when smart people can prosper.

What I really dislike about doomers is the sub text that American Exceptionalism is dead. What made america great is a can do attitude, and a belief in fundamental values that really changed the world. While not unique to americans, the attitude of independance and achivement is something that americans used to excel in. Why are you scared? Do what needs to be done to survive first and then do what needs to be done to thrive.

Fear and doubt are the byproduct of spare time. Fill every waking moment with making your life better and what you are worried about will fade away.

I remember being 18, and I remember the next question; How? With your mind! Sit down with a bit of paper and write down what life will be like in 5 10 and 15 years. Write down the things that the world can not do without, and make and sell that. Don't work for anyone else, do it your self. Set an example for how to survive.

Even in the worst times in the great depression people were making fortunes.

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2236
Hey Nige
nigel wrote:

What I really dislike about doomers is the sub text that American Exceptionalism is dead. 

Well Nigel, FWIW, it's not that American Exceptionalism is dead, it's just on an overlong sabbatical, IMO.  Folks have gone from "What I imagine, I can create because in America I have the freedom to do so" to "It's all coming to me, because I'm an American."  And when I say "folks" I mean the average (and below-average) individual out there.  There are still plenty of fired-up freethinkers here who are surfing the chop and Making Things Happen.  I know, because I am one.  And IMO anybody who wants to thrive in the coming times will have to similarly step up.  What's the alternative?  Handouts from an insolvent gov?

My wife & I own two small businesses in a field where (it just came to my attention in a new way on Tues) other similar businesses have disappeared.  We're making it, but it remains to be seen if the field has changed so much that it's better to say enough and move on to other enterprises.  (I had a short but telling convo with the owner of a biz in the same building our main location is in -- he's in about the same place we are.)

But if this business becomes unsustainable, my wife & I will move on to the next possibilities, the next dream.  To do otherwise would be unAmerican.  It wouldn't be the first time my life got completely demolished and I dusted myself off and rose up again.  YMMV.

Viva -- Sager

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Where are you?

Welcome Zooted

"I'll be going to university" is a very British phrase.  Most responses assume you are in the US.  You might get more helpful advice if you clarify your country of residence.

Travlin 

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Last One Standing
SagerXX wrote:

My wife & I own two small businesses in a field where (it just came to my attention in a new way on Tues) other similar businesses have disappeared.

Sager

Maybe that means you'll get the remaining business they would have had if they had stayed open!

Poet

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2368
General Advice

Zooted,

I was about to identify myself as another of the "younger" members here, and it dawned on me that I'm actually not so young anymore. 
A few things about your proposed major(s) have been discussed, but if we trace the reasons these majors are non-viable back to their roots, we have a more comprehensive idea of where you could dedicate your energies:

1. These majors are all rhetoric based
2. These majors have no valuable skill attached
3. None of these are vital for a primitive society

Now, it's speculative as to just how primitive our society can/could end up - personally, I don't think it'll slide much passed the standards of 1910 or so. The most important figures then were people with hard skills. 

There will always be a demand for tradesmen and useful academics such as engineers and doctors. They have high levels of education, necessary "hard" skills, and improve community well-being by providing needed services (depending on the specialty - a plastic surgeon or gadget engineer might be less useful than a hydroelectric specialist or general surgeon).

To be totally blunt with you - you have nothing to be scared of. The very thought that your parents had enough forethought to plan for your tuition tells me that you've at least got a leg up. Get started as soon as you can, 

I'm not a big fan of worrying - take a systematic approach to learning skills, devote time to developing a professional and personal skillset that can be of use anytime, but will truly help you shine in emergencies. 

Cheers,

Aaron

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2236
Poet wrote: SagerXX
Poet wrote:
SagerXX wrote:

My wife & I own two small businesses in a field where (it just came to my attention in a new way on Tues) other similar businesses have disappeared.

Sager

Maybe that means you'll get the remaining business they would have had if they had stayed open!

Poet

Perhaps.  I'm ever-optimistic!  We have had a small uptick in biz recently, but it's been mostly former clients (who went away over the last 2 years) coming back -- but there are a couple new ones mixed in.  

Thanks for the encouraging words.

Viva -- Sager

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Online)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2606
Opportunity???
SagerXX wrote:

Perhaps.  I'm ever-optimistic!  We have had a small uptick in biz recently, but it's been mostly former clients (who went away over the last 2 years) coming back -- but there are a couple new ones mixed in.  

Sager -

Interested in some side work? 

My Trinidad Scorpion Tail peppers go in the ground in a few weeks along with orange habanero, white habanero, chocolate habanero and scotch bonnets.

I will need a taste tester............Surprised

joesxm2011's picture
joesxm2011
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 16 2011
Posts: 259
Zooted, I will sidestep the

Zooted,

I will sidestep the question about the worth of the university other than to suggest that you should have at least some sort of higher education.

My advice to you is to realize that you have all of your earning years ahead of you.

You should "invest" in things that will give you skills and allow you to earn in the coming years.  As you grow older the percentage of your true net worth that is made up of your expected future earnings will decrease and the percentage that is based on your assets will increase, but right now (unless you are a trust fund baby) most of your net worth is your future earning potential.

Another thing that you should do now is develop the habit of "living below your means".  That means do not waste your money on things that everyone else seems to think that they should have.  Instead spend enough to cover your true needs and do something productive with the remainder of your earnings.

Also, with such a long life ahead of you, be prepared to adapt and change.  As CM points out, things in our world are changing at an ever accelerating pace.

Make sure to concentrate on being healthy, eating right, avoiding environmental poisons, excercising etc.  With the rate of improvement in medical science you probably will catch the wave where if you stay healthy long enough (and civilization does not crumble) you might reach the point where they can start replacing parts and fixing most of what might go wrong with you.  Check out Ray Kurzweil's books for an optimistic look at this topic.

To summarize what I wish that I had known/done when I was your age:

Make sure to be really healthy.

Live below your means and invest/save you money.

Make sure to develop marketable skills and be prepared to retool those skills as things change from decade to decade.

Don't forget that learning is a lifelong process and does not necessarily have to be taught to you in a school.

Good luck.

Joe

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2236
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:
SagerXX wrote:

Perhaps.  I'm ever-optimistic!  We have had a small uptick in biz recently, but it's been mostly former clients (who went away over the last 2 years) coming back -- but there are a couple new ones mixed in.  

Sager -

Interested in some side work? 

My Trinidad Scorpion Tail peppers go in the ground in a few weeks along with orange habanero, white habanero, chocolate habanero and scotch bonnets.

I will need a taste tester............Surprised

Ooh.  That's a high overhead job -- have you seen what it costs to insure a tongue these days? Laughing

zooted's picture
zooted
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 14 2011
Posts: 3
Thanks for all the input

Thanks for all the input guys. It seems like the general consensus here is that my initial two majors are pretty much worthless in today's economic climate. The advice has also generally been to stay healthy, live below my means, and develop practical skills. I live in the US but I am originally from India; I mention this because I get a lot of familial and social pressure to go on to a good university, study hard, get great grades, and then land a white collar job somewhere. I realize that none of this may be feasible currently. So, does anyone have a particular major or path to take in college that they recommend? And a particular list of practical skills for me to work on? Someone earlier posted that I should develop skills that would be needed for a primitive society, and gave one example as a doctor. Would going to med school be a viable option and if so, are there any particular majors you guys recommend? Or does med school fall under the whole higher education scam that is so prevalently exposed here?

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2368
RE: Primitive societies

Zooted, you said:

Quote:

Someone earlier posted that I should develop skills that would be needed for a primitive society, and gave one example as a doctor. Would going to med school be a viable option and if so, are there any particular majors you guys recommend? Or does med school fall under the whole higher education scam that is so prevalently exposed here?

That may have been me - I'm going to answer as if it was, and if someone else gives more advice, groovy.

The Medical Doctorate is "viable", but even in the very shallow end of the pool I'm in now, it can't just be a whimsical choice. If you aren't absolutely sure that it's what you were made for, I'd suggest there are probably better options out there. As to whether or not it is a scam... well, I'm not in Med School so I can't vouch. All I can say is that the M.D.'s that I have had the privledge to know are the types of people who are:

1. Problem Solvers
2. Self-motivated
3. Generally Good Natured

This combination of traits is useful, and certainly not exclusive to any one profession. 
My advice would be cultivate the traits, and let us know what truly interests and inspires you.
Medicine for me is the logical next step of the skillset I've been developing most of my life, so it's a practical and motivating choice - for me.

Further, no matter how dire things become, a person who can diagnose and provide even rudimentary treatments of malady are going to be of great use. At present, the M.D./M.P.H. degree is very enticing, because it incorporates epidemiology and sanitation into the cirriculum. 

Being able to generate power, devise and plan construction, salvage machinery, grow and preserve food, fight effectively and the like - these are all things that create resilency. 

Again, let us know what interests you, and maybe we can help you out more.

Cheers,

Aaron

sheryl909's picture
sheryl909
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 15 2010
Posts: 10
medical school

Hi, Zooted.

The medical field can offer lots of options for you.  I got my RN degree at the age of 40 and love nursing...  so many options within the field from hospital to clinic to nursing home to education, etc.  For family reasons my only option for school was an expensive 4-year degree, but there are other less expensive ways for folks who are flexible and mobile.

My husband is a physician and has been practicing family medicine for 22 years.  He loves what he does and loves going to work everyday.

Our daughter is in her 3rd year of med. school and loves her program at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.  She will choose a residency program soon, and after one more year here will go on to 3 years of residency; more if you choose a specialty field.

It can be very expensive, but medicine has real shortages and there are definitely options available for reducing the costs; folks willing to subsidize your education.  For exceptional candidates who are flexible, facilities are more than willing to find ways to pay for a good portion of your school costs in exchange for a block of years working for them.

If you are really interested I would be happy to share your contact info so you can connect with my husband and daughter to get their personal perspectives on school and real life practice.

From there it would be great to give you the opportunity to have a site visit.  We just built a new clinic (family, internal med. and pediatrics) that is 4 years old now, and we are in the process of adding a hospital which is scheduled to open this time next year.  I am obviously biased, but I love our community (only about 25,000), and I really love our clinic.  It's a great family of folks here. 

We would also be very happy to speak to your parents if they would like to check things out first.  Give it some thought, and message or email me if you would like more info. 

SteveW's picture
SteveW
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2010
Posts: 490
zooted wrote: I live in the
zooted wrote:

I live in the US but I am originally from India; I mention this because I get a lot of familial and social pressure to go on to a good university, study hard, get great grades, and then land a white collar job somewhere.

Remember you have your own life to live and decisions to make and while you might feel some obligations to your family it is solely your decision.

You have got lots of good advice here and whatever you decide don't forget that those with a University education earn more and have lower levels of unemployment, generally speaking. Good luck.

 

passantgardant's picture
passantgardant
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 22
ao wrote:I'd agree with much
ao wrote:

I'd agree with much of your advice or at least not disagree with it but regarding the Everbank CDs, I would STRONGLY disagree.  Read the fine print on these babies and avoid them like the plague.  As one who is involved in a class action suit related to their CDs and having investigated the issue closely, I would urge extreme caution..

Please do explain.  I haven't invested in them myself because I personally prefer a little more risk & reward, but I've pointed others to them because of the FDIC insurance against principle loss.  What is the issue?

passantgardant's picture
passantgardant
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 22
zooted wrote:Thanks for all
zooted wrote:

Thanks for all the input guys. It seems like the general consensus here is that my initial two majors are pretty much worthless in today's economic climate. The advice has also generally been to stay healthy, live below my means, and develop practical skills. I live in the US but I am originally from India; I mention this because I get a lot of familial and social pressure to go on to a good university, study hard, get great grades, and then land a white collar job somewhere. I realize that none of this may be feasible currently. So, does anyone have a particular major or path to take in college that they recommend? And a particular list of practical skills for me to work on? Someone earlier posted that I should develop skills that would be needed for a primitive society, and gave one example as a doctor. Would going to med school be a viable option and if so, are there any particular majors you guys recommend? Or does med school fall under the whole higher education scam that is so prevalently exposed here?

I wouldn't say your first choices are worthless.  They can certainly be put to good use in any climate.  Note that the American founders were mostly lawyers (and philosophers) -- we may be in a similar climate now.  I think it's most important that whatever you choose to pursue is something that really interests you.  You shouldn't even really be thinking too much about a career because if you pursue what you love, you can figure out how to make a ton of money at it -- and you probably won't even need to think about it that much; it'll just be the natural result.  On the other hand, if you choose a line of work that tends to pay well but don't love it, you'll probably be in the bottom quartile of earners in that field and spend your life despising work.  

If you're interested in medicine, it has pros and cons.  Medicine is increasingly being very regulated worldwide, as seen recently by the passage of Obamacare.  That means that in order to work in medicine, you'll largely become a slave of the state.  However, as the quality and availability of medicine decline as a result of government interference, it would be great to always be able to consult a doctor (yourself).  

Personally, I find science and engineering to be my calling, and I absolutely love working as a software engineer.  The various engineering professions (chemical, mechanical, civil, etc.) will always be in high demand and pay very well.  And as a side effect, you gain great knowledge about how the world works and the ingenuity to make it work for you.  I used my engineering education (even though I got a Computer Science degree, the core curriculum included general materials and engineering topics) to build myself an off-grid home, acting as architect, carpenter, roofer, plumber, electrician, et cetera.  Few other fields of education give you such a breadth of knowledge to be such a jack of all trades.  

Even though I'm inclined to agree that you can self-educate and save the money, I happen to highly value my education and I doubt that I would have had such a broad foundation of knowledge without a specific curriculum.  We tend to self-teach only what we're most interested in, not what will best enable us to learn in the future.  That's the primary advantage I see to a formal education versus self-teaching or vocational schools.  It's easy to learn how to be a specialist, but difficult to learn how to be a generalist, short of either formal education or jumping wildly between many disperate careers.

 

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
PPNs
passantgardant wrote:
ao wrote:

I'd agree with much of your advice or at least not disagree with it but regarding the Everbank CDs, I would STRONGLY disagree.  Read the fine print on these babies and avoid them like the plague.  As one who is involved in a class action suit related to their CDs and having investigated the issue closely, I would urge extreme caution..

Please do explain.  I haven't invested in them myself because I personally prefer a little more risk & reward, but I've pointed others to them because of the FDIC insurance against principle loss.  What is the issue?

I don't have the paperwork in front of me and I'm not an attorney but there are "escape" clauses favoring Everbank and not favoring you, the investor.  Also, you're not investing in what you think you're investing in, just like GLD (i.e. you're buying the possibility of physical metal backing not a guarantee of physical metal backing).  Call Everbank and request all the paperwork involved in opening one and read through the prospectus and you'll find it.  Ditto for other principle protected notes such as those from Wells Fargo.  I wouldn't trust any of them.

Mirv's picture
Mirv
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 105
Reply to zooted

Dear Zooted, of all comments Oxygen is probably most right.
EVEN IF the economy were not going into melt down mode, you should concentrate on studying reality before studying "economics' or law.  learn some chemistry, physics, biology. Develop a trade in growing things, harvesting energy (solar heating or solar electricity) as a job as a college major (preferably) or as an outside job/hobby at least.  I did that before  becoming a lawyer and it made me a better lawyer.  After learning about reality and how to create wealth  first, you will be in a better  position to understand the value and role of make believe ("economics" and human made "law") and how you can contribute (and receive) from society with those other less important skills.

 

Ken C's picture
Ken C
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 13 2009
Posts: 753
What is a Habanero test?
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:
SagerXX wrote:

Perhaps.  I'm ever-optimistic!  We have had a small uptick in biz recently, but it's been mostly former clients (who went away over the last 2 years) coming back -- but there are a couple new ones mixed in.  

Sager -

Interested in some side work? 

My Trinidad Scorpion Tail peppers go in the ground in a few weeks along with orange habanero, white habanero, chocolate habanero and scotch bonnets.

I will need a taste tester............Surprised

So Dogs,

Let me quess; If Sager does not immediately burst into flames then the Habaneros would be considered only mild.Cool

Ken

 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments