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Other University or cryptocurrency?

  1. Sep 14, 2017 #1


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    I was planning on going to university the coming academic year, just for the sake of learning and pushing myself to see what my limits are. I realize my chances of succeeding are slim. I'm not a genius, and I do not think I have natural smarts for solving abstract problems. I have to work hard to master something. I'm not dim-witted or anything, but I do occasionally feel pretty stupid; for instance: "How did I not make that connection? It's so obvious." I always found STEM fields and math alluring, especially as a kid, but I think it has never been a 'passion'. By lack of better words, as a renaissance soul—not renaissance man—I frequently jumped ship once a certain project in a certain field of interest was finished. Sometimes I feel bad about that, not being a master in something, and sometimes the converse is true; not being stuck somewhere. I enjoy learning and building new things.

    That being said. My initial idea was to study physics to develop counter-intuitive problem-solving skills. But—the eclectic person that I am—by reading The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, my eyes fell on evolutionary theory which subsequently introduced me to Artificial Intelligence. A master in AI now sounds very attractive. Not as a job prospective, but as an incredibly interesting topic to master. To get there I can either major in math, computer science, or some customized physics-science engineering program.

    Then, suddenly, I met Bitcoin and Ethereum, and the rest of cryptocurrency. As I want to be working for myself, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology seems to have a lot of potential. Being part of something revolutionary sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, I wonder if I would be better off by going to university first; to develop some decent technical and analytical skills. Or, to self-study math, physics, programming, etc., while helping to make bridges from blockchain to the real world. My problem is that I probably have too much freedom, or at least too many choices, which paralyze my ability to make a clear-cut decision. There's also an ever lingering concern that I'm going to regret not having earned a diploma. However, I'm not certain if that concern is my own, or instigated by what society expects. Regardless, I'm in my late twenties, I saved some survival money from working, and if I'm ever going to study a STEM-field in university, I feel it has to be now.

    I'm sure there are people who have answers or perspectives I haven't considered yet. It would help a lot to hear some second opinions. I don't mind criticism.

    tl;dr: Should someone who does not exactly know what he wants, go to university, for the sole purpose of learning, and not a career?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2017 #2
    Not that I didn't read the entire OP; but, I believe that you're taking a little too much of a black and white stance on the issue. In other words, why not do both things? The Bitcoin interest can serve as motivation to do well in an AI field and complement each other financially (to pay off college) and platonically (serving to satisfy your interests). Just my two cents. I'm pretty sure colleges are interested in the blockchain and can find like-minded people at college with similar interests. It's hard to beat an investment in knowledge much moreso an accredited expert in a field.
  4. Sep 14, 2017 #3


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    I've heard that before, and you're not wrong. Trying to find some different shades.

    I've posted this question somewhere else, and a similar answer resonated with me as well; it will open a lot of doors that I now can not see. I guess I'm a bit hesitant or afraid to take the plunge.
  5. Sep 14, 2017 #4


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    The university option sounds like a more solid plan, or at least a path with the potential to be a solid plan. I.e. it has a specific end-point, a timeline, a specific set of sub-goals, and it's reasonably achievable by most people who work hard enough at it. You'll have to decide on a direction of course, but you don't have to know what that is, immediately. You can enrol in some first year courses - maybe even at a community college for your first year. Just be a general sciences major until you get through those courses and have a better idea of how you'll do.

    In contrast "being a part of the blockchain currency revolution" is much more amorphous as far as a plan goes. While it can be exciting to get involved in this in one way or another, if you're really going to make a career out of it, you'll need to have a more specific plan. What can you currently contribute to this field? How would you go about implementing that? Do you have any ideas that aren't already being done? The plan doesn't have to be perfect. Indeed, waiting for it to be idea can hamstring you from accomplishing anything. But for most people the way that you figure out questions like these is by getting an education from people who have experience. And that points back to the university option.
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