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MoJingly

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As if all the outsiders who don't understand why someone would want a degree in a "useless" field isn't bad enough, what really gets to me are all the apocalyptic warnings from those who already have similar degrees and are frustrated with their perceived lack of prospects. Of all people, you'd think they would understand why I want to pursue this field, but unfortunately there can be a LOT of bitterness and negativity. I just met someone yesterday finishing up her PhD in my field who told me not to do it and that I will never find a job; that college is a doomed institution so good luck with your pipe dream of teaching; that PhDs are a "racket." I understand that humanities PhDs are not the most lucrative thing... but I've worked very hard to get into a top Ivy-league program, I've been successful so far, and you know what? Even if all fails and I never attain my dream job as a professor, I think getting paid to learn stuff is a decent way to spend your 20s. Besides which, my BA is in the same useless field, and I'm the only one of my friends who got a job offer before graduating, so go figure. 

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I've been bowled over at the number of people telling me they "don't believe in school" and that "the school of life is enough!" and my favorite, "when are you going to stop stalling, and start growing up and having a family?" As though I'm moving to NYC to begin a doctorate at one of the best universities in the country just to get out of having babies. 

 

This reminded me of one of my irrational irritants:

 

The first time, and every time since then, that I heard someone say they were going to school or taking time off work to "go and discover themself" I get irrationally angry.

 

In regards to people not believing in school:

 

College, like as the university as a place for higher learning, is for sure not for everyone. I take that as a self evident truth as I encounter people clearly not willing or able to exercise a "higher" level of thinking. This truth is similarly identifiable when I try to paint a house and fail miserably or how I will never be capable of being a successful power-lifter.

 

I think many people are better off learning a trade; the problem now I think is how college oriented our society is and the indistinguishable university as a pseudo place of learning, pseudo trade school.

*Note: I have an equal respect for people in the university setting versus various trade fields, my frustrations stem from our society's expectations of a person and people not working to their strengths. It is super 'un-American', but fundamentally, not everyone can be anything they want to.

Edited by Sword_Saint

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I understand that humanities PhDs are not the most lucrative thing... but I've worked very hard to get into a top Ivy-league program, I've been successful so far, and you know what? Even if all fails and I never attain my dream job as a professor, I think getting paid to learn stuff is a decent way to spend your 20s. Besides which, my BA is in the same useless field, and I'm the only one of my friends who got a job offer before graduating, so go figure. 

 

PhD's in general I would say are not normally very lucrative. Many of my professors point out how some of their high school peers who never went to college are now charging 100 dollars an hour as an electrician or plumber. There are for sure other careers that will pay better sooner than getting a PhD; those jobs don't generally afford someone the same level of autonomy, the ability to contribute to the world's understanding of your discipline, or the distinction of being a topic area expert.

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This reminded me of one of my irrational irritants:

The first time, and every time since then, that I heard someone say they were going to school or taking time off work to "go and discover themself" I get irrationally angry.

In regards to people not believing in school:

College, like as the university as a place for higher learning, is for sure not for everyone. I take that as a self evident truth as I encounter people clearly not willing or able to exercise a "higher" level of thinking. This truth is similarly identifiable when I try to paint a house and fail miserably or how I will never be capable of being a successful power-lifter.

I think many people are better off learning a trade; the problem now I think is how college oriented our society is and the indistinguishable university as a pseudo place of learning, pseudo trade school.

*Note: I have an equal respect for people in the university setting versus various trade fields, my frustrations stem from our society's expectations of a person and people not working to their strengths. It is super 'un-American', but fundamentally, not everyone can be anything they want to.

Very strong believer in this also. We push everyone to go to college when it reality, not everyone is meant to go to college. My dad is an electrical contractor, owns his own business, and makes a great living. He also dedicated four years to an apprenticeship- same as four years of undergrad, except he got paid and had a guaranteed job at the end!

A system like Germany's could be useful here- you get sorted into three levels at high school. Trade school, in-between, or college bound. (I don't know much about this, someone feel free to correct me.) Although I'm not sure how I feel about people's futures being decided by how they perform as teens.

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I agree.  I don't think everyone needs college.  And I see people getting degrees that are economically useless, getting into piles of debt, and then not being able to get a job with them.  There is nothing wrong with those degrees, but they are for learning and understanding the world around you, not for making a living.  It would be better for a young person to obtain some sort of marketable skill and then study whatever they want in their spare time and with a stable income, instead of getting into piles of debt up front for something that will not benefit them financially in the long run.

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I agree.  I don't think everyone needs college.  And I see people getting degrees that are economically useless, getting into piles of debt, and then not being able to get a job with them.  There is nothing wrong with those degrees, but they are for learning and understanding the world around you, not for making a living.  It would be better for a young person to obtain some sort of marketable skill and then study whatever they want in their spare time and with a stable income, instead of getting into piles of debt up front for something that will not benefit them financially in the long run.

 

I disagree, to a certain extent. I agree that not everyone needs college, however some people want college. As for myself, Japanese linguistics isn't inherently marketable or providing of a good stable income in the future -- as a fun hobby. But as a career which I study hard for, which takes up many hours of my days, I've made this interest a skill worth all the hardship. I would get into piles of debt for this, because I know my hard work will make it financially beneficial in the long run. Based on my hard work (and a good amount of socializing with the profs in my field), I can make a degree that appears "economically useless" a perfectly wonderful career. 

 

I say this, because I truly believe that hard work will get you everywhere. It may be initially thankless, but it's worth it. 

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A system like Germany's could be useful here- you get sorted into three levels at high school. Trade school, in-between, or college bound. (I don't know much about this, someone feel free to correct me.) Although I'm not sure how I feel about people's futures being decided by how they perform as teens.

 

One of my former co-workers was Serbian and I definitely agreed with parts of their educational system. Specifically have distinguished schools for technical expertise versus art schools and having a greater emphasis on doing things you not only enjoy but are really good at (more realistic/stricter entrance requirements for example). My co-worker lived down the street from a sort of mechanic shop where they stripped, repaired and replaced engines for different manufacturers throughout Europe; he had been working in some capacity at the shop since he was 11 or 12. Fourteen years later he finished his degree in mechanical engineering, with a decade of experience working on vehicles. That must create unparalleled expertise in that field, its mind blowing to me because thats just a totally different lifestyle, to wholly dedicate yourself to something from a young age.

 

I disagree, to a certain extent. I agree that not everyone needs college, however some people want college. As for myself, Japanese linguistics isn't inherently marketable or providing of a good stable income in the future -- as a fun hobby. But as a career which I study hard for, which takes up many hours of my days, I've made this interest a skill worth all the hardship. I would get into piles of debt for this, because I know my hard work will make it financially beneficial in the long run. Based on my hard work (and a good amount of socializing with the profs in my field), I can make a degree that appears "economically useless" a perfectly wonderful career. 

 

I say this, because I truly believe that hard work will get you everywhere. It may be initially thankless, but it's worth it. 

 

The thing for me is that the burden to make your degree useful is solely on you; if you think you can complete whatever you think the most useful degree is and just sit back and wait for job offers to come to you, you're going to have a bad time. Conversely, those people that get a degree and then complain forever about it, those people lack the creativity and imagination to show the world how useful and applicable it is. I guess I would posit that there is no degree that is totally useless, there are only people who the degree is useless for. 

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I disagree, to a certain extent. I agree that not everyone needs college, however some people want college. As for myself, Japanese linguistics isn't inherently marketable or providing of a good stable income in the future -- as a fun hobby. But as a career which I study hard for, which takes up many hours of my days, I've made this interest a skill worth all the hardship. I would get into piles of debt for this, because I know my hard work will make it financially beneficial in the long run. Based on my hard work (and a good amount of socializing with the profs in my field), I can make a degree that appears "economically useless" a perfectly wonderful career. 

 

I say this, because I truly believe that hard work will get you everywhere. It may be initially thankless, but it's worth it. 

As long as you are fine with not making a lot of money with your degree and understand that to be successful you are going to have to work your butt off, then it is fine.  But I feel like a lot of people get degrees in art or whatever from a mediocre school, with a 2.5 GPA and 40k in debt, thinking they will come out making good money, just because they have a degree, when that isn't the case. So then, when that doesn't happen, they blame the teachers and the education system rather than themselves for not doing what they needed to do to be successful.  When I was in my masters program, I advised freshmen, and some of them should have taken some time off to figure out what they wanted to do before going to college, because they didn't have the grades or motivation to make the grades that they needed and all they were doing was wasting their parents money.

But, my grandfather doesn't have a college degree, and he is one of the smartest men I know, and a millionaire. He could have gotten a degree in whatever he wanted and still been monetarily successful, because economics was a game, money was the scorecard, and he wanted to win.  Granted, money isn't everything.  I would rather make less money and enjoy what I'm doing. But you know, he could have made that art degree worth it if he had wanted to get one.

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As long as you are fine with not making a lot of money with your degree and understand that to be successful you are going to have to work your butt off, then it is fine. But I feel like a lot of people get degrees in art or whatever from a mediocre school, with a 2.5 GPA and 40k in debt, thinking they will come out making good money, just because they have a degree, when that isn't the case. So then, when that doesn't happen, they blame the teachers and the education system rather than themselves for not doing what they needed to do to be successful. When I was in my masters program, I advised freshmen, and some of them should have taken some time off to figure out what they wanted to do before going to college, because they didn't have the grades or motivation to make the grades that they needed and all they were doing was wasting their parents money.

But, my grandfather doesn't have a college degree, and he is one of the smartest men I know, and a millionaire. He could have gotten a degree in whatever he wanted and still been monetarily successful, because economics was a game, money was the scorecard, and he wanted to win. Granted, money isn't everything. I would rather make less money and enjoy what I'm doing. But you know, he could have made that art degree worth it if he had wanted to get one.

I actually have friends with art degrees and they never did it thinking they'll made oodles of money. :)

Moreover, they're doing pretty well for themselves-- the one released a photography book that has been sold out on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble since December and is always in the news for his work (NPR, The Guardian, NBC, LA Times, and major east coast papers), while the other two work steady photog jobs for architectural firms.

Also consider: your grandfather was active during the post-WW II era, right? AKA the largest expansion of wealth in this nation's history? Things were different -in every sense of the word- back then.

I agree that college isn't the golden ticket to a cushy job, but the market is typically a bit uglier without a college education. To be honest, I don't know what is the golden ticket to a cushy job for our generation, short of being at the right place at the right time or working for uber wealthy parents (I.e., I knew a girl who made 50k in the summers as a college kid by filing paperwork for her hot shot attorney father)

Edited by TheMercySeat

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I mean, I argue both sides.  I do think that a college degree is a check in the box, and you are better off with one, if you do it right and don't get into mountains of debt to get there.  It isn't the end all, be all, and if you are going to get one, make sure it counts and you do it right.  An art degree from SCAD is worth something.  An art degree from Nowheresville University... not so much.  I have friends with art degrees too, and most of them are working some dead end job, if they have one at all.  I know a couple of successful photographers in my home town have degrees in communication, or something like that.  My cousin has a degree in English and he is selling paintings left and right, but he didn't go to school for that, he's just innately talented at it.  And I have a friend who is 180k in debt for a Psyc degree+ masters and she is working as a nanny.  So it doesn't always work out.

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I know unemployed people with business degrees!!!

Business!!!

Haven't had a stable job since they graduated ~2 years ago from a fairly well-regarded institution.

It's a gamble. All of it. The PhDs I know from Princeton and UCLA didn't expect the market for academic jobs to crap out when they started doctoral studies 6 years ago.

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I have no idea what will happen after graduation. I keep telling myself if I just continue working hard something good is bound to happen. As someone who's family never made more than 26k a year in a fairly expensive state, all I really want is to be able to have my own apartment for a year or two before I head off to graduate school. While in the mean time studying and continuing to work towards my goal (PhD). 

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I know unemployed people with business degrees!!!

Business!!!

Haven't had a stable job since they graduated ~2 years ago from a fairly well-regarded institution.

It's a gamble. All of it. The PhDs I know from Princeton and UCLA didn't expect the market for academic jobs to crap out when they started doctoral studies 6 years ago.

My dad runs his own business without a degree- always tells me "you're either good at it or you're not. The degree won't teach you that!" And my mother got a business degree in ~1988 before the economy went to shit and still made more money bartending than she would have at an entry level business job. It's tough out there, that's for sure.

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People who smoke in front of entryways and bus stops. Look, I don't care about your health. I really don't. I do unhealthy things too, so you can smoke away. But my unhealthy habits don't make people walk through clouds of crappy smelling smoke, making them cough and their eyes water when it's particularly heavy, just to get to class, or just when waiting for the bus. You're not meant to smoke within 25 feet of entrances or at bus stops anyway. :\

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In the past couple of days, I've gone from a vaguely sore throat to an almost-completely lost voice, with coughing fits and pain from my sternum, to my throat, to my ears. Yesterday I slept for 17 hours (not consecutive, at least), and missed 3 classes and 2 homework assignments. I tried to go to work and they were like "girl no".

Organic chemistry lab can't be made up, though, so I forced myself to go... and was a hot mess all around.

 

I've never appreciated breathing more than I do now  :(

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http://www.nh1.com/news/nh-lawmakers-brutally-kill-4th-graders-bill-in-front-of-them/

There are reasons that people dislike the government or have no interest in politics. This is a shining example. Sure, I get that picking out a state raptor isn't really important. Although we have state birds, flowers, trees, insects, drinks, dogs, fossils, etc., so what's the big deal? These politicians really slammed the bill that these 4th graders put together, and the comments were completely out of line. Aside from being an idiot and complaining that the proposed state raptor rips its victims apart limb by limb (what the heck do you think raptors do? And I don't hear anyone complaining about the Bald Eagle), but saying that it would be a better mascot for planned parenthood was really just... awful.

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http://www.nh1.com/news/nh-lawmakers-brutally-kill-4th-graders-bill-in-front-of-them/

There are reasons that people dislike the government or have no interest in politics. This is a shining example. Sure, I get that picking out a state raptor isn't really important. Although we have state birds, flowers, trees, insects, drinks, dogs, fossils, etc., so what's the big deal? These politicians really slammed the bill that these 4th graders put together, and the comments were completely out of line. Aside from being an idiot and complaining that the proposed state raptor rips its victims apart limb by limb (what the heck do you think raptors do? And I don't hear anyone complaining about the Bald Eagle), but saying that it would be a better mascot for planned parenthood was really just... awful.

Oh my god. That is appalling.

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http://www.nh1.com/news/nh-lawmakers-brutally-kill-4th-graders-bill-in-front-of-them/

There are reasons that people dislike the government or have no interest in politics. This is a shining example. Sure, I get that picking out a state raptor isn't really important. Although we have state birds, flowers, trees, insects, drinks, dogs, fossils, etc., so what's the big deal? These politicians really slammed the bill that these 4th graders put together, and the comments were completely out of line. Aside from being an idiot and complaining that the proposed state raptor rips its victims apart limb by limb (what the heck do you think raptors do? And I don't hear anyone complaining about the Bald Eagle), but saying that it would be a better mascot for planned parenthood was really just... awful.

LMAO these state reps have time to collect money from donors and do their bidding in the state legislature but passing this bill is too much work? I hate our political system.

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http://www.nh1.com/news/nh-lawmakers-brutally-kill-4th-graders-bill-in-front-of-them/

There are reasons that people dislike the government or have no interest in politics. This is a shining example. Sure, I get that picking out a state raptor isn't really important. Although we have state birds, flowers, trees, insects, drinks, dogs, fossils, etc., so what's the big deal? These politicians really slammed the bill that these 4th graders put together, and the comments were completely out of line. Aside from being an idiot and complaining that the proposed state raptor rips its victims apart limb by limb (what the heck do you think raptors do? And I don't hear anyone complaining about the Bald Eagle), but saying that it would be a better mascot for planned parenthood was really just... awful.

I feel bad for all of those parents and teachers who had to try to explain that Planned Parenthood "joke"...

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http://www.nh1.com/news/nh-lawmakers-brutally-kill-4th-graders-bill-in-front-of-them/

There are reasons that people dislike the government or have no interest in politics. This is a shining example. Sure, I get that picking out a state raptor isn't really important. Although we have state birds, flowers, trees, insects, drinks, dogs, fossils, etc., so what's the big deal? These politicians really slammed the bill that these 4th graders put together, and the comments were completely out of line. Aside from being an idiot and complaining that the proposed state raptor rips its victims apart limb by limb (what the heck do you think raptors do? And I don't hear anyone complaining about the Bald Eagle), but saying that it would be a better mascot for planned parenthood was really just... awful.

I've recently gotten into watching The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight (Jon Stewart and John Oliver, respectively) and i've become so frustrated with the corruption and unnecessary crap that goes on behind the scenes.

 

Edit: Also, Achilles tendonitis grrrr please go away. Soccer is my one true love! (lol.)

Edited by SublimePZ

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Must vent.

 

I was admitted to a master's program last summer early July-ish, and I was thrilled. I was admitted and paired with a professor who was an expert in the skills that I applied to the program so I could develop. So, the week before school started, I get a notice that this professor took a job elsewhere. I am told by those who know these things the departure was amicable and while sudden was for legitimate reasons. I get reassigned to someone who is the kindest person and very sweet, but is aligned to research philosophy in the exact opposite way I am. 

 

I have dealt thus far because I managed to take up with a visiting professor and we've been getting TONS of work done! It has been great! This professor is of course taking a full time position out of state in the summer.

 

So, since I am not part of a "lab group" and this is a pretty disjointed group I am pretty much back to being an undergraduate who is doing advanced course work... wouldn't be terrible, but it is neither what I signed up for nor the model under which ANYONE in the department claims to work.  Really, none of the other professors will give me the time of day, and when they do they forget about my appointments or just don't show up to their offices.

 

I have been getting involved in student government and making the best of things, I am trying to develop systems where students who follow me do not get stuck in this sort of situation particularly feeling isolated without resources. I am good at that, making the best of things, just pushing through. That is literally what I've done my whole life. Not even joking, I feel like I'm always getting pushed to the side or forgotten about. I volunteer for things and try to get in the fray but I am passed over, I have no idea why.... I get wherever I need to go through sheer tenacity and by just always being ready to do, learn, or figure out things by myself.

 

I actually got a resource set up and a discussion forum all set up and running and full of good stuff, almost a month later a faculty member comes to me and says "we should talk about this ...blah blah... this other graduate student is getting a department blog set up." This is a thing she has been setting up all semester... and it is still not a cohesive method of two way communication... erg *sofrustrating* I mean no one has asked me to take it down and I think the concern is technical so I don't think it is MAJOR problem, we will see... but damn I have volunteered for all sorts of things I have asked the aforementioned grad student if I could help her etc... I have skills that when used produce brilliant projects, I am a wonderful tutor I can facilitate and coordinate, I can create and build! I need to use these things I WANT to use them to help people... 

 

I am venting because WTF it is damn improbable that I get the short end every time. And I am talking about things that keep happening that really could not have been planned. I'll survive I know I will make it to where I need to eventually, but can you just imagine, with what I can get done on my own, what kinds of amazing things I could do if I had someone who already knew the ropes helping me?

 

I am sick of being ignored because I can be ignored. I have been told it may be because people know I'll get by. That's crap if you ask me... I'm sorry "too busy to fulfill my side of this agreement is just not a good excuse."

 

*sigh* I'll just be over in the corner by myself kicking ass even though you can't give me the time of day... 

 

So, how do I adopt a "squeeky wheel" attitude without being a dick? 'cause just asking for help with this hasn't worked so far.

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Must vent.

 

I am sick of being ignored because I can be ignored. I have been told it may be because people know I'll get by. That's crap if you ask me... I'm sorry "too busy to fulfill my side of this agreement is just not a good excuse."

 

*sigh* I'll just be over in the corner by myself kicking ass even though you can't give me the time of day... 

 

So, how do I adopt a "squeeky wheel" attitude without being a dick? 'cause just asking for help with this hasn't worked so far.

 

Reminds me of a former co-worker who always was the first to get his hours cut for some reason. All of us were pretty sure he was going to come into work some day with a firearm. Or the situation would turn sideways and up like the ending of "Office Space" (1999).

 

Not sure if question at the end was rhetorical- assuming its not, my two cents:

 

Some of it is a matter of perspective, lets take being a dick for instance. At a recent academic conference I got tired of listening to bad presentations, so I started asking the presenters difficult questions, or giving critical feedback. "So...you didn't make research questions?" and "What rationale did you use to conduct a study not supported by similar previous research [like these 10 recent studies]?"  It may have been considered a dick move, but it is beyond me how they got that far without having asked themselves those questions, or been asked by others. It'd be a disservice to let that slide in my discipline.

Your situation as you've described it, some things are worth being a dick about. The pursuit of your goals, that's definitely one of those things. Fellow grad student is failing to demonstrate any progress on something they claim to have been working on for months? Sounds like a personal problem to me. Not to burn ALL the bridges here, but if you've got physical proof of having done something that can be implemented, something you've taken the initiative on that serves a coherent and useful purpose, you should run it past whoever it needs to get run past and get it going. That's the aspect I disliked about group projects, some group members fail to meet deadlines and its like "well...I'll have the entire project done this week, and you can bet I'm not going to be kind when we're presenting and a member of the audience asks who did which part."

 

Throwing this out there also: there are a lot of interesting "TED Talks" about female leadership. They cite a lot of relevant studies in my opinion about confidence and when its necessary to be sort of aggressive about accomplishing your goals. Down below are links for some of them that I thought were worthwhile to watch (then again, I think most of the TED talks are worthwhile to watch).

 

Why we have too few woman leaders-                  https://youtu.be/18uDutylDa4

The career advice you probably didn't get-           https://youtu.be/JFQLvbVJVMg

Edited by Sword_Saint

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