Tag Archives: money

CollegeQandA asks: Should I be gaming the college system?

Should I be gaming the college system?

Gaming, in this sense, is pursuing an activity by satisfying requirements, but looking for and exploiting flaws in the rules of the system to easily and/or quickly achieve them outside the spirit of the system.  My definition does not make any mention that gaming a system is good or bad, and rule based systems are very difficult to make perfect and are almost all exploitable.

stacks of atari games

Gaming is fine depending on the goal

You have to have your own goals set to determine if gaming a system is a good or bad thing.  For example, in the tax system, if your goal is to maximize how much you and your family earn in a year, then any gaming rules that makes you pay less tax would be considered good.  Alternatively, if your goal is to help fund your societies infrastructure, then you should avoid loopholes and pay the tax that you believe your system requires.

What about education?

Again the goals you have are your guide.  Here are some examples of goals that suggest you should game the system and just get what you want:

  • I want a degree
  • I want to be called “Dr.”
  • I want letters beside my name
  • I want a 4.0 GPA
  • I want to say I’m an alumnus of school X
  • I want  degree Y so I can do activity Z

Here are some goals that suggest you should not worry about gaming the system, but instead learn the material and work hard:

  • I want to better understand how our world works
  • I want a career in field X
  • I want to develop my intellectual and cognitive abilities

Again, your goals are your goals, and I’m not here to judge there goodness or badness.  I’m, personally, biased to the later goals.  However, I think understanding the educational system and gaming it at certain times is a valid tactic.  For example, there are times in higher education where you are overwhelmed with work.  Tactically, selecting the highest priority/value work at those moments is a smart choice in my book.

Credits: photo titled: Games; by Axel Tregoning

CollegeQandA book review: How We Decide

Book Review: How We Decide

A (Mind/for) = Numbers book cover
 

How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer is a fascinating pop psychology book about how we make decisions.  This is the stuff I love to absorb, so the review is biased in favor of the book – regardless of verifying the science behind the claims.  Actually, most of the books I review are biased towards whether I liked reading them and learned anything new.  I, rarely, go out and confirm the claims.

Anyways, yes, I liked this book.  It takes you through 8 chapters of ideas on how we human make decisions.  Questions such as when should you trust your instincts and how does emotion help/hinder your decisions, are explored by the journalist with the help of research and experts in this field.   Each chapter is accompanied by a number of stories that illustrate the points.

The book is entertaining to read, and the complimentary stories are interesting and related to the topics.  I think I finished this book in a week because I it read well and was entertaining.  However, don’t expect any formula on how to make your decisions better.  The book is mainly about our current understanding of human decisions.

Does this book relate to CollegeQandA?

College is all about decisions.  Should I go to college?  Should I go to college X?  I don’t know the answer to this, how can I figure it out in the next 5 minutes?  What should I study next?  Should I go out with my friends.

This book fits into another one of those Meta-ideas books; basically, the more you understand yourself, the better you seem to be.

I would recommend this book to…

Anyone who wants a better understanding of how humans make decisions.  This comes with the advantage that the book is a good and entertaining read.