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Prisoner’s dilemma: the dream that never died.

My dream used to be to play professional basketball in the NBA. I was seven years old at the time. They were shattered when I didn’t make the cut for the team in middle school. Since then, I’ve visited, abandoned, and rethought numerous career aspirations that have been bestowed upon me. Even now, my current dreams of working in the UN/being an ambassador to China/Taiwan, or becoming a Peace Corps Officer aren’t wholly set in stone.

Having spent five on-and-off years in college, a friend of mine recently acquired the necessary certifications to be an automotive technician (mechanic) this past Spring semester. Having done so, he hastily dropped those plans without ever having entered the automotive industry. His actions resonate in his subconscious, which told him that he never wanted to become a mechanic, but only tolerated it as an accepted career. Instead, he is now pursuing his “true passion” of playing poker professionally. The dream that never died.

I could relate to my friend’s situation. I was never passionate about physical therapy, the contention being my hobbies for exercising and physical health not coinciding with an actual career path. I’m glad I was denied acceptance to the schools in which I intended to manifest that goal. However, I no longer had a rough plan of my future in mind so I ventured out of my comfort zone and sought what I feel would be [somewhat] realistic for attaining income. I eventually found international relations and am now manifesting those plans here at UC Berkeley.

The difference between my friend and I, from the bottom of my heart, is the attitude. I am discontent with being static. Wasting time is a lot of fun, but to be in a stump without having the motivation to overcome it is not part of my ideals. I am making the most out of “rational” reflections and experiences.

Now, who am I to disagree with my friend’s dream, let alone anybody else? Who am I to stop someone from pursuing an absolute want? I have no right of doing so, but I am thinking from a purely realistic perspective. There is no regret in dropping my dreams of being an NBA player, for the cost-benefit analysis simply shows that I made the right choice. Gambling (oh, the irony) my time and effort for a chance of getting spotted, recruited, and having a contract signed is simply not worth it. People have many wants, but only a marginal portion of the population actually receive them.

Needless to say, I am greatly disappointed. As a friend who sacrificed several hours of time for friend-therapy, I feel insulted that none of my advice (or the advice of many others) were taken seriously. Not just this newly revitalized dream of becoming a professional poker player, but for the greater half of his actions for the past year.

If you’re reading this, my friend, I mean this with utmost sincerity. I love you a lot, and you have taught me so much during the course of our friendship. But that doesn’t suffice to garner my support for your dream. If you’re reading this, my friend, I am absolutely against the choice you’ve made, and the choices you’ve been making for the past year. A good friend may support you, but I argue that a true friend would tell you how absurd it is that you believe professional gambling is a viable career option for you. You’re also not simply gambling money. You’re gambling your social connections and relationships as well. Is my relationship included in this equation?

Good luck, my friend. Literally.

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