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ComeBackZinc

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She seems shocked that any of us have put any thought or effort into, you know, starting a career. There's a bizarre tone of entitlement in this piece --the author comes in with an image of graduate school as a haven for dreamers putting off entering the "real world," discovers that, in fact, we kind of take this shit seriously (like, presumably, all of her former professors), and proceeds to lament the passing of a totally-not-made-up halcyon period where people would go to graduate school just to, like, you know, hang out and stuff.

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This is the sentence that gets me, in addition to overall tone (which is totally as marbles describes it):

"In this rat race, the ivory tower morphs from a reassuring backup plan into a source of social and existential terror via its mysterious admissions policies."

As if a) the "ivory tower" isn't a pejorative term in the first place, dismissing us "scholars" as detached from the real world, and B) there is any way programs such as ours, accepting 10% of applicants or less, aren't going to be a "rat race." I mean, really. Who spends the time and money to apply to such a program "for fun"? Our author is clearly bitter that her reasons for grad studies don't match up with reality.

Also kind of an insult to our intelligence that we don't fully recognize that our speculations stem from anxiety and/or are totally inaccurate. Anyway, every school has its own quirky process. I came to this forum knowing blanket statements about admissions wouldn't be too reliable; but then again, isn't it somewhat nice to lament with people in the same situations? Make some connections before starting in the fall? (Also, we sometimes talk about things other than admissions.)

By the way, it's apparently impossible to type a b with a parenthesis after it without ending up with sunglassface there.

Edited by anxious_aspirant

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This author obviously doesn't know anything about graduate school, the admissions process, or the people who want to go to grad school. She's assuming that the only reason we would ever want to be in academia is because we don't want "real" jobs. I can't count the number of times on here that people have stated they think about dropping the whole academic thing for the LESS stressful world of "real" jobs. Academia is a real job because we're pursuing teaching positions -- getting your MA or PhD is just another step along the way to the final outcome of professorship. Of course there are those who want to forgo the "real" world a few more years, but this isn't the majority of the people I see posting on here. And of course we're anxious -- we're freaking academics! Look at who you're talking about -- the job attracts the person, and I am personally not ashamed to state that I am an anxious academic and stating that I'm only anxious because I want to feel validated is a huge misunderstanding because I'm anxious for varying reasons. Perhaps I should have my therapist call her.

Secondly, this author obviously knows nothing about the use of FORUMS which have been around since, oh I don't know, the beginning of the internet. Forums are a place for people with similar interests to come together and discuss issues that are prevalent to those people. You can't just target a forum on graduate school and act like this the only place where there's misinformation. Has she never heard of the internet and what people use it for? Also, I'm pretty sure that all of us know to take the information here with a grain of salt. None of us are experts -- we're just expressing our own experiences with information we may have heard. I don't take anything on this site as "fact" -- rather, this site is used for people to discuss things that are important to our line of work. Would you equally criticize a forum for new mothers for giving incorrect information about infant care? No, because we all realize that it's just people talking -- not experts. In fact, the audacity of someone to say that an online forum is used only to promote anxieties and dish out inaccurate information is ridiculous. It's just a forum -- it doesn't even really warrant an article written about it. There are quite literally thousands if not millions of forums on the web where people come together to discuss issues that they are interested in. We're no different than any other forum about child care, baseball, or cars. Why damn the grad cafe of all online forums?

This article seems as though it were written to be offensive and cause us to all freak out. I realize I just proved this by ranting as I have just now, but all the specific info about this forum aside, it appears as though this author knows little to nothing about how online communities work.

This is a strangely self-indulgent article. I'm not entirely sure what the point of even writing it was from her point of view. Slow news week? (now that was catty -- sorry)

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My goodness, what a self-satisfied little sparrowfart.

+1

As far as the article is concerned, the author knows far less than most any user on this site does about academe and the mysterious entity, the "real world," that people love to put into scare quotes. She's a moron.

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The author writes that on this "awful grad school admissions site," "the ivory tower morphs from a reassuring backup plan into a source of social and existential terror." If somehow--after the colossal swarm of IHE and CHE articles about why not to go to grad school and about how grad school is not an escape from the universe (to name a mere few: "Just Don't Go," parts one and two; "The Big Lie About the Life of the Mind"), after the multiple "So you want to be a PhD in the ..." shorts, and so on--this person truly still managed to believe that grad school is "a way of opting out of the endless search or a better job," that academia is "[a]iry" and will "save" her "from the grind," that schools are "magic citadels where you can weather the recession" (does she read the news? ever? it feels like every second I read something about some program being slashed somewhere), then I would say that in destroying these illusions, these forums probably gave her exactly what she needed to hear. If this site really was the first thing that showed her that grad school is not "a reassuring backup plan," more power to this site.

She writes: "In my alternate life, I am applying to grad school. Not so much to individual programs as to a singular gleaming citadel called Grad School that perches above the workaday world, winking at passersby...In real life, of course, I have a job that I like and a professional future I’m pursuing avidly. But Grad School represents the life of the mind. It makes worries about grown-up responsibilities like money and promotions and rent melt away. And for a lot of twentysomethings, it’s a safety valve as well as a fantasy destination." And again I repeat: seriously, if this site was the first thing that taught her that grad school won't cause money and its associated responsibilities to cease to exist, that grad school does entail a "workaday world" (what on earth doesn't?), three thousand cheers for this site.

Further, if she truly got to whatever age she is believing that "crummy real-world concerns" are only relevant to "post-college life" (as opposed to simply "life"), she should consider herself very fortunate.

I'm mortified. Not because I use this site, but because this writer has termed herself a spokeswoman for the "twentysomethings" who are interested in grad school, a category in which I fall.

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http://www.slate.com...rch_angst_.html

And, with that, I think I'll bid this forum adieu. Creepy....

I don't understand your comment here, ComeBackZinc. Is it because "bloggers" (or whatever this woman calls herself) are writing about GradCafe in a public forum? GradCafe itself is public, so I imagine that anyone who was riled up by that article would already know about GradCafe and be concerned. Certainly we've already established that there are profs, adcoms, and DGSs that are aware of the site's existence.

Also, can someone still be a troll if they're not directly trolling the community? I think Katy Waldman might count in that case. In fact, I would argue that at this point, anyone flogging the "academia is hard to get into AND there are no jobs after so you just shouldn't go" horse at this point needs to be kicked to the troll category and ignored. Can't they all go back to worrying about Global Warming or Facebook privacy or something?

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Although I don't think it true for most of the people on GC, she does sort of embody the current generation's view on graduate school. That is, the view that graduate school will save you from the hustle and bustle of everyday life; that it is a continuation of your undergraduate experience in which academia played a secondary, if not tertiary role next to partying, frat house gatherings, and the like.

She is one of those people who talk about applying to grad school because they don't know what else to do with their lives. Those people really give me the jeebies.

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Although I don't think it true for most of the people on GC, she does sort of embody the current generation's view on graduate school. That is, the view that graduate school will save you from the hustle and bustle of everyday life; that it is a continuation of your undergraduate experience in which academia played a secondary, if not tertiary role next to partying, frat house gatherings, and the like.

She is one of those people who talk about applying to grad school because they don't know what else to do with their lives. Those people really give me the jeebies.

Thankfully, most of those people don't get accepted to graduate school (at least, I'd hope so, with how competitive the whole process is!).

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Thankfully, most of those people don't get accepted to graduate school (at least, I'd hope so, with how competitive the whole process is!).

I think most never even apply; hence her "other" life where she is applying to "Graduate School"--the general concept of it, not an actual university.

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I don't wish to bash the author of the article, mostly because the errors of her thinking are so many and so clear that not much needs to be said here. I do regret, however, that her blanket statements equating graduate school with some kind of deferral of reality simply reinforces an already-existing ideology that sees us (and graduate careers, etc.) as exactly that. In this era of far-right assault upon education and the generally anti-intellectual rhetoric we hear, I'm disappointed that Slate chose to give credibility to such ill-informed junk.

That's all.

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I agree that the focus of her criticism seems to be the essential nature of online forums. Look at almost any specialized forum and you'll see misinformation, morons, jerks, and anxiety and/or panic on the one extreme, and support, good advice, humor, and positive networking on the other hand. As functioning human beings, it's up to each of us to sift through to get to the type of info/exp we happen to be searching for.

She also seems to remind folks that we are still in a rough economy, one that is causing those just entering the work force or not yet in stable or fully satisfying positions to consider multiple options, none of which is a "sure thing." -- something I don't think anyone has forgotten, actually.

So, in the end, her article is nearly useless and non-impactful, except that it does advertise the existence of this particular forum to those who may not know about it yet.

So those of you just tuning in - welcome!

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The reason I applied to graduate school, where I will spend somewhere between 6-9 years making just about minimum wage (where some fellow undergraduates are making $50,000+ and starting to save/invest their money and work towards retirement), and where I will face untold sleepless nights reading dense and complicated texts, and where I will stress constantly about trying to finish my own course and manage the courses I'm teaching, and fret about comprehensive examinations, and then write a 300 page dissertation on a topic nobody else knows about (and very few care) is because I'm trying to avoid the struggles of the real world.

That's just me though.

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One of the professors I consulted with told me to leave this site and never come to it again after I told her about it.

My professors have had mostly negative reactions when I tell them about this site. They are thinking about the potential hazing/attempts at intellectual intimidation that might happen, and I think their opinions are based upon their own experiences as graduate students/at conferences where, unfortunately, that stuff can happen.

I have been overwhelmingly pleased, however, with how supportive everyone has been on here, at least in the Lit/Rhet/Comp section. I really feel like there's a community of sorts here, and I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone in person B)

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Yeah, like coming on a site sneaking around and reading people's information then writing it online line is a real job. Give me a break. She should keep her self-centered tush to herself. Someone always has to knock other people down to make them feel good about themselves. Come on here with a username and say that! <_<

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Grad Cafe is depressing because it exposes a dismal truth: Going to graduate school is no longer a way of opting out of the endless search for a better job, the best job, any job. It’s become an element of—a strategy to be deployed in—that search. The escape I dreamed of is only an illusion. Airy academia will not save me from the grind of being an adult. Rather than magic citadels where you can weather the recession and mute its related stresses, Grad School is now part of a larger calculation—one in which love of learning defers to crummy real-world concerns, just like in the rest of post-college life.

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One of the professors I consulted with told me to leave this site and never come to it again after I told her about it.

For a particular reason? (i.e. similar to the posted article, or something else?)

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Obviously, the only reason I am applying to grad school is so that I can sit on the front lawn of my campus in a circle with my peers who live in the abstract and beat drums (sarcasm).

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