License article

10 things young people can learn from #obamaIRL

There was more than a fist-bumping gif that came out of President Barack Obama's tete-a-tete with Tumblr founder David Karp at the White House this week. 

During the live Q&A session, which you can relive here, #obamaIRL discussed gun control, student debt, employment, drinking out of a coconut and his daughter's 13th birthday. He even used the word "sheesh".

Tumblr users, 40 per cent of whom are between the ages of 18 and 34, submitted the questions, which were then picked by well-known bloggers on the site.

Source: White House/Tumblr

Here are some of the stand-out things young people can take from POTUS's chat: 

1. Be proud of your arts degree


"A great liberal arts humanities education is still critically important, because in today’s global economy, one of the most important skills you have is your ability to work with people and communicate clearly and effectively."

2. Get creative with your social media usernames

David Karp: We didn’t get first names for everybody. So Haiku Moon asks..

Obama: That might be the first name. That’s a cool name. 

3. Don't be a negative nelly

"Guard against cynicism. I mean, the truth of the matter is that for all the challenges we face, all the problems that we have, if you had to be - if you had to choose any moment to be born in human history, not knowing what your position was going to be, who you were going to be, you’d choose this time."

4. There's a chance you might not become a billionaire entrepreneur

"There are only going to be so many Zuckerbergs or Gates who are able to short-circuit the traditional path."

5. It's OK not to own your own house, yet

"Well, first of all, this is a rental house. I just want to be clear.  My lease runs out in about two-and-a- half years."

6. All play and no work makes POTUS unhappy

"I think too many of us see college as a box to check or a place to have fun and extend adolescence, as opposed to a opportunity for each of us to figure out what is it that we’re good at, what is it that we care about, what is it that we’re willing to invest a lot of time and effort and energy into, how do we hone some skills or interests or attributes that we already have. And as a consequence, I think young people waste a lot of time in school."

7. Stay in school kids

"The point is that for the average young person an investment in college is always going to be a smart investment ... The overwhelming evidence is that a college education is the surest, clearest path into the middle class for most Americans."

8Find a job you enjoy

"If you really enjoy what you do, then the line between work and play starts vanishing a little bit. You still have to grind it out, but you can get into that mindset where the creativity or the effort and the sweat that you’re putting into what you do doesn't feel like a burden, it feels like an expression of what you care about."

9. Keep your education options open

"We tell our daughters - Malia is now - she’ll be 16 next month, and she’s going to be in the college process. And we tell her, don't assume that there are 10 schools that you have to go to, and if you didn't go to those 10, that somehow things are going to be terrible. There are a lot of schools out there. There are a lot of options. And you should do your research before you decide to exercise one of those options."

10. Be practical but take risks

"I think your career is not going to be a straight line all the time. I think there may be times where you got to take a detour and you got to do something practical to pay the bills. There are going to be times where you see an opportunity, and you’re making a calculated risk that I’m going to start some wacky company called Tumblr."