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Old 12-08-2005, 06:29 AM
whitelime whitelime is offline
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Default Should I finish college? (long)

The overwhelming response from friends and family has been to finish college. However, I feel like they don't understand the decision as well as some of you poker players probably will. I'm expecting most of you will say to finish also, but maybe I'm missing some important reasons for finishing/not finishing. Here is some background:

I'm a senior at Stern (NYU's undergrad business school). I have a little under 2 semester's worth of classes to take before I can receive my degree. I am currently a double major in finance/actuarial science. I enrolled in the fall semester this year and then dropped my classes a week through because I realized I would never go to class. My apartment in NYC is about a 15 minute subway ride or 20-30 min bus ride (NYU provides free bus transportation) to campus. The ability to schedule classes consecutively isn't guaranteed. This means I could have a class at 9 AM and then one at 5 PM. I would then either have to stay on campus or take the bus/subway back/forth and waste a lot of time.

In terms of my study habits, I am the laziest kid alive. I will probably miss a decent amount of class and will procrastinate. My typical semester involves ridiculous cramming during finals week. Luckily I am gifted enough that I can get by doing this as long as it doesn't get too extreme.

As for poker, I am not one of those people who is completely against playing 40+hrs/week. I still enjoy the game greatly and can't think of many decent paying professions that I could enjoy more. Since I dropped my fall classes, I am probably averaging 35-40hrs/week of poker. Since I have no responsibilities whatsoever, I can easily go out 3-4 nights a week and get in 35-40hrs. My social life is somewhat negatively affected by poker as instead of interacting with people during class, on campus, etc. I am now playing poker. However, I still manage to spend a good amount of time with most of my friends so the negative effect is pretty small. If I play 30 hrs/week for 50 weeks a year, I expect to make over $600k. This assumes that games won't get significantly tougher. But it also assumes that I won't improve as a player or move up in stakes. Those two should balance each other out.

As for future plans, I intend to and have started investing most of my profits in stocks and mutual funds. At some point, I would like to start some sort of business. I don't care if it's a totally new start-up or a hotel. However, I plan to continue playing poker. The business would be more of a passive investment run by someone else.

Whether or not I get a degree, I have no plans whatsoever to ever work a 9-5 job. The idea of a 9-5 job is extremely unappealing to me. I feel like I have the skill set necessary to be successful even if poker goes to hell w/o ever working a 9-5 job. The main reason right now that I am considering getting my degree is sort of a social acceptance kind of deal. I feel like there will be times in my life I may regret only being a high school graduate. Also, if I plan to start a business and need to raise money, it might be easier with a college degree. I'm really interested to hear what other benefits there are to a college degree as I am sure I am missing something.

I have qualified for PCA (Jan 4-11) and the LA Poker Classic (Feb 17-21, but smaller tournies start a month earlier). I really like playing these big tournies because it gives me a chance to travel and seems like a nice one week vacation. There's also the chance of a big score. If I don't go back to school, I anticipate I'll play in one of these every month. School starts Jan 17th so it wouldn't affect PCA but I'd have to miss classes for the LAPC and for any other big tournies I decide to play in.

If I decide to finish, my parents will pay the tuition. Also, I could drop one of my majors. I would most probably drop the actuarial science major if I do this. AcSci at Stern is an extremely demanding major because all of the classes are taken with graduate students. If I drop AcSci, I have 2 finance electives I would need for my finance major. I would also need to take business law and an ethics course that every senior has to take. Other than that, I would need 12 credits worth of electives in the arts/sciences school. These could be anything from physics to the history of baseball to german.

I'm interested to hear any input you might have.
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2005, 06:38 AM
sthief09 sthief09 is offline
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Default Re: Should I finish college? (long)

you go to stern. 99.9% of kids your (our) age would kill to go to stern. you have one year left. your parents will pay for it. come on man. and your parents have already paid A HUNDRED TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for you to go there

this weeks sign the apocalypse is upon us?
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Old 12-08-2005, 06:47 AM
elmo elmo is offline
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Default Re: Should I finish college? (long)

sunk costs, blah blah
opportunity costs- a bunch of poker money
in the same situation i stayed because i wouldnt want to go back to school in the future
..one more semester
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Old 12-08-2005, 06:50 AM
elmo elmo is offline
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Default Re: Should I finish college? (long)

my approach is to just finish school and not worry so much about not getting a 100... i'm pretty much a perfectionist, so this is something for me. that being said, motivation is tough. i skip alot of classes and play alot of poker. i'm sure you are already dealing with these things, but they certainly don't get better senior year... even though there is less time left, you are giving up more by not playing poker
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Old 12-08-2005, 06:55 AM
sthief09 sthief09 is offline
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Default Re: Should I finish college? (long)

[ QUOTE ]
sunk costs, blah blah
opportunity costs- a bunch of poker money
in the same situation i stayed because i wouldnt want to go back to school in the future
..one more semester

[/ QUOTE ]


i dont think that applies as a sunk cost. and if it does, surely getting an NYU-Stern degree is worth $40k. as for opportunity cost, I'd guess Evan (junior at Stern) will make more money than him over the next 10 years if he gets a job and witelime drops out. even if he doesnt get a job, its nice to ahve a backup plan in case poker doesnt work out
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Old 12-08-2005, 06:55 AM
whitelime whitelime is offline
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Default Re: Should I finish college? (long)

I would not care one bit what my grades are if I decided to finish school. As one of my friends put it "C's get degrees".
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2005, 07:00 AM
sthief09 sthief09 is offline
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Default Re: Should I finish college? (long)

[ QUOTE ]
I would not care one bit what my grades are if I decided to finish school. As one of my friends put it "C's get degrees".

[/ QUOTE ]


getting a 2.0 >>> dropping out

if you were a sophomore, i could see a case. but youre so close. why stop now? your degree could be really useful.
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2005, 07:02 AM
whitelime whitelime is offline
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Default Re: Should I finish college? (long)

This is the basic speech everyone has given me but it doesn't really help me. Regardless of how "pot committed" I am, or the fact that it's a great school, there would have to be some sort of tangible benefit that is GREATER than the additional income/freedom/ability to travel to tournies/etc. that I would gain from not having class.
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2005, 07:16 AM
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Default Re: Should I finish college? (long)

You think poker's going somewhere after a year?

Continue doing what you're doing. You're obviously making enough now to contemplate dropping out of college for poker, while still being able to attend classes. Why ruin a good thing? It'll only get better after you graduate.
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  #10  
Old 12-08-2005, 08:22 AM
BK_ BK_ is offline
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Default Re: Should I finish college? (long)

its not as hard as you may think to do both. just drop one of your majors, do whatever you can to get consecutive classes, and do it.
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