Request for Advice: Unschool or High School?

by Brendon_Wong 6y9th Sep 20131 min read47 comments


I have not made significant progress in my life since I started reading Less Wrong. I was always really enthusiastic to improve myself, especially after I learned about all these new ideas and projects several months ago.

However, I didn't seem to be able to get myself to work on anything useful.

I believed my inability to get things done was the major contributing factor to my lack of success until recently. Akrasia is still a big problem in my life, but I noticed an interesting trend: every day I was effortlessly working on projects that would make me more effective with no problems, but I had severe procrastination when I had to do homework.

I realized that I was not really procrastinating because I did not want to work on my goals, rather I wanted to work on my goals but I knew I was "supposed" to finish my academic work first. I procrastinate on homework, which takes up time, and that stops me from working on my goals.

I could be wrong, but that made since, especially after I cut my main projects like reading The Sequences once school started although I had plenty of time.

I currently want to create a large positive impact on the world, but I did not wake up one morning and decide that school was the best way to accomplish that goal. Instead, like most students, I was never given a choice and instead shoved into the system. I never thought there could be a different way even though I really disliked school. Attempts to share the idea of unschool were met with strong resistance. Learning about Less Wrong and the Effective Altruism community was the push I needed to break out of my beliefs of how to become successful and influence the world.

I would still be willing to subject myself to what I see as unhelpful and inefficient activities if it helps me help others later on in life, as unappealing as it seems. My question is: Is staying in high school the best way to improve the world while still having financial stability, or is unschooling during high school then applying to a top college a better way to learn useful skills and get all the benefits of college admissions, or is dropping out all together and working on Your Most Valuable Skill 24/7 the best way to get on the path of world improvement? A significant obstacle to unschooling is that unfortunately my parents will not tolerate an idea as risky as that.

I'm not sure what to do...

But I am ready to go beyond tsuyoku naritai and Make an Extraordinary Effort. May the wisdom of Less Wrong lead me to take the best course of action!

Edit: Please choose one option and support your answer:

1. High school and then admission to a top college

2. Unschool during high school, hope to get into a good college (is it likely?)

3. Drop out completely, work only on useful world saving skills