Ray Dalio: College Is For Getting Blackout Drunk With Smart People

Put down the books, nerd, and start living.
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Ray Dalio (Getty Images)

Ray Dalio (Getty Images)

Sometimes, the things Ray Dalio says and writes seem as though they are the product of an ostensibly deep, substance-aided conversation among co-eds. There is a good reason for this. Asked by a college sophomore with the spectacularly college sophomore handle of “absurdistcamus” during a Reddit AMA how to get the most out of his or her college years, Dalio offered the best advice ever given on campus life.

Party like crazy and don’t make the grades your highest priority. Make the friendships and your experiences most important.

Yes: How will you skirt the legal drinking age during your first years in school? How can you sneak your illicit booty into the dorm? How well will you think on your feet when the R.A. catches you lugging 16 garbage bags full of empties to the trash chute? How will you explain the eight-inch height differential between what it says on the driver license you stole from your 44-year-old cousin and your particular physical reality?

Suffice it to say, this answer did not sit well with at least one Redditor, who reminds me of no one more than my own college roommate, who spent the first night of his first Spring Fling studying Roman history in an empty dining hall.

This surprises me. Is there not a "goals vs desires" trade-off here between discipline and pleasure? Will studying not yield the acquisition of principles?

Absolutely not, nerd. You cannot study your way to a principled life. You must blunder your way into them. Also, you have clearly not studied the Principles or the commentary surrounding them enough, or else you would have already known this.

I think it’s really important for children in school to learn that making mistakes is part of the learning process, that everybody has strengths and weaknesses, and I think it’s also important for them to learn how to think creatively for themselves rather than just follow instructions. I think that the school learning process often fails students in making them learn what the teacher wants them to remember and think that making mistakes is bad and a sign of their inadequacy.

And what better way to make mistakes and stimulate creativity (to answer questions you do not know the answer to) than to get plastered every night of finals week? Bridgewater will adjust your GPA based on self-reported alcohol consumption when you apply for a job there after graduation.

I’m Ray Dalio. Ask my anything! [Reddit]
Billionaire investor Ray Dalio has 3 words of advice for kids headed to college – and parents may not like them [MarketWatch]

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