Should I actually attend university? I have been pondering that ever since I left the school education system. There are good reasons to attend one, especially one like Harvard or MIT. Besides giving those who manage to get in a sense of superiority and an enormous boost in self-esteem, top universities in the world offer great opportunities for an individual’s personal development. Looking at statistics, it is also clear that people graduated from these universities on average have higher salary. But to me, it is the amazing people (professors, roommates, coevals who share the same interests, etc) one gets to meet and interesting social connections one gets to build during her or his few years of university life that makes studying in elite universities so appealing. Having screwed up my SAT1 and failed to develop and launch M., for the first time in my life, I discovered that I wouldn't be considered qualified for these universities. In their eyes I would just be another arrogant naive kid who has successfully deluded himself into thinking that he is cognitively more advanced than most people on Earth and getting into elite universities should be a no-brainer to him.
Apparently, I will need to retake the test and go for the semester in 2015. (Of course this is provided that they are impressed by my CV. If not, I am pretty sure it is quite impossible for me to be admitted to any of these universities even if I manage to get perfect scores in my SATs.) But the more I thought about it the more I realized university may not be the right place for me. Earning a bachelor’s degree is never my intention. If I’m ever planning to get onto Forbes List
, an academic degree is not an necessity and may not help much. If I want to dedicate my life to computer science, neuroscience and theoretical physics - things that I am interested in - having a bachelor degree is not going to make much difference since I will be aiming for my MDs and PhDs. All I have to do is to make sure I am capable of enrolling in a graduate school. Being an autodidact and living in an era where one does not have to be a university student to gain access to textbooks and academic journals, or attend lectures, I consider it plausible. Thus it turns out that the only two reasons why I am going to a university are
meet people and make friends
have an interesting undergraduate experience (such as joining with the faculty in ongoing research projects)
If this is really the case, rather than going to a university, I should go for internships, especially to big companies like Google and Apple. And during my free time I can go on learning things that intrigue me while trying to solve¹ the P vs NP problem
as I prepare for graduate school, or work on side projects and study how a large cooperation functions and survives so that I know how to better manage my own companies in the future, if I want to live an affluent life.
This way it is not going to be costly at all. But I will have to work harder. (Or, more precisely, I will need to intrinsically motive myself
solve¹: I am fully aware that it is highly unlikely that I will be able to solve the P vs NP problem in my life time, given our current level of understanding in computer science. But I believe I will get to learn a lot as I try my best solving one of the major unsolved problems in computer science.