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Somone who doesn't sugar-coat grad school & academia


hejduk

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I'm not saying that advice isn't right, because I have no idea, but everyone's grad school experience is different, and her experience may not necessarily be indicative of the 'typical'. Also, job prospects and the related points she makes depends on field and location; I'm not saying up here in Canada the prospects are better, but I don't think we're experiencing those kinds of problems (budget cuts; 'attacks' on unions, etc.) to nearly that extent.

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How many blogs like this are there? We all know it is hard, we all know the pitfalls, we all know the difficulty. Some people need to vent and tell everyone else how big of a mistake their decision is going to be despite being at a different program in a different field and a different person. Some are bitter at their choices.

I wish all these people would just man up and quit if they hate it so much. You read and write for a living in an air-conditioned building. You aren't working in a factory or on a construction site or in a nuclear reactor core. You could have it worse.

Edited by The Dudester
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I agree. I am tired of all the people who say the profession is crap. It is, but so? Sometimes there's no other choice.

I'm a teacher and a writer. Writing will never pay the bills. I don't have a credential, so I can only teach part-time. I make almost nothing, and can't even afford to live in my own place. Without a ph.d, my options are limited. The only obvious one is to get a credential and work in public school. That job is HELL. I've substituted, I know. You ever see a happy elementary school or high school teacher in the public school system? That's because there aren't any. You want to talk about low pay and bad working conditions? Ask a high school teacher. And they have to deal with just as much politics and administrative bullcrap as a prof at a university.

I originally thought my MA would help me get a job at a community college. It didn't. These days, even community college profs have Ph.Ds. Sometimes, getting a Ph.D. is the only way. I'd take an adjunct position; hell, I'd take any position where I don't have to slave for 7 hours a day with surly high school kids who don't want to be there, and who try to set things on fire and/or attempt to kill you/their peers on a regular basis. The state of higher education employment in the humanities is abysmal, but for some of us, the alternative is even worse.

Edited by Amalia222
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I'm not saying that advice isn't right, because I have no idea, but everyone's grad school experience is different, and her experience may not necessarily be indicative of the 'typical'. Also, job prospects and the related points she makes depends on field and location; I'm not saying up here in Canada the prospects are better, but I don't think we're experiencing those kinds of problems (budget cuts; 'attacks' on unions, etc.) to nearly that extent.

I also thought the same thing about ones chosen field. If your field is "Medieval Stuff," I'm sure the politics are horrible, and the job prospects are dismal. Do people with PhDs in computer science or engineering feel this way too? Also, she mentions giving up 6-10 years of "prime incoming-earning years." Since about 2005 or 2006 or so, these have definitely not been "prime" years for a lot of us. The job market has been dismal, and a lot of us working stiffs have been working for a fraction of the income we used to have before the economy tanked.

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I wish all these people would just man up and quit if they hate it so much. You read and write for a living in an air-conditioned building. You aren't working in a factory or on a construction site or in a nuclear reactor core. You could have it worse.

Somewhat related to this quote but unrelated overall....I feel sometimes manual labor is more satisfying than reading and writing in an air-conditioned building. If it weren't so stigmatized, especially since I attended an Ivy League school, I would seriously consider something with a considerable physical component.

"considerable physical component" sounds so dirty, actually. :P

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Somewhat related to this quote but unrelated overall....I feel sometimes manual labor is more satisfying than reading and writing in an air-conditioned building. If it weren't so stigmatized, especially since I attended an Ivy League school, I would seriously consider something with a considerable physical component.

"considerable physical component" sounds so dirty, actually. :P

I know what you mean - I paid for my degrees by working as a cleaning and ironing lady. Not exactly hard hard labour, but there was definitely something satisfying about seeing the ikea bags full of perfectly white ironed, folded and stacked linen piling up. Definitely felt like more of an accomplishment than the staring-at-a-blank-page days that seemed to characterise my academic work!

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Somewhat related to this quote but unrelated overall....I feel sometimes manual labor is more satisfying than reading and writing in an air-conditioned building. If it weren't so stigmatized, especially since I attended an Ivy League school, I would seriously consider something with a considerable physical component.

"considerable physical component" sounds so dirty, actually. :P

I don't know about the stigma part, since that's really up to you and your perception of yourself, but I completely agree that, in the short-term, manual labour can sometimes be more immediately satisfying than academic work. However, I think the big difference is that, for many workers doing manual labour, that's all they'll ever do. There's little hope for advancement or something substantially new or creative. There's not a lot of opportunity for a long-term sense of accomplishment. Academic work can offer those kinds of rewards.

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I don't know about the stigma part, since that's really up to you and your perception of yourself, but I completely agree that, in the short-term, manual labour can sometimes be more immediately satisfying than academic work. However, I think the big difference is that, for many workers doing manual labour, that's all they'll ever do. There's little hope for advancement or something substantially new or creative. There's not a lot of opportunity for a long-term sense of accomplishment. Academic work can offer those kinds of rewards.

Well, I was very surprised during college to discover how blatantly people (in and out of college, of all ages) will tell me how anything less than doctor/lawyer/finance industry/engineer/[traditionally high paying white-collar field] was an absolute WASTE of an ivy league education. A significant portion of my family is involved in a "blue-collar" field that DOES require a lot of thinking and planning...but people assume they're uneducated and unintelligent and that I defied the odds with my academic success.

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Somewhat related to this quote but unrelated overall....I feel sometimes manual labor is more satisfying than reading and writing in an air-conditioned building. If it weren't so stigmatized, especially since I attended an Ivy League school, I would seriously consider something with a considerable physical component.

"considerable physical component" sounds so dirty, actually. :P

Yep!! It's why I could never be a theoretician. Being in lab is frustrating but fun.

And I really, really, really am going crazy without a house to fix up. I think I am going to buy a fixer as soon as my divorce is final...

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Somewhat related to this quote but unrelated overall....I feel sometimes manual labor is more satisfying than reading and writing in an air-conditioned building. If it weren't so stigmatized, especially since I attended an Ivy League school, I would seriously consider something with a considerable physical component.

"considerable physical component" sounds so dirty, actually. :P

My point wasn't that those jobs aren't satisfying. It is that the bellyaching about how bad one has it in academia is laughable to most of the population, especially those working these manual labor jobs for 25 years. I would like the "this is so hard!" critique to drop.

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