We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, February 26. 2012
From A Funny Book about Worthless Degrees at Minding the Campus:
$30,000? Try $200,000. People with curiosity, who love to learn, will always find a way. Books, libraries, Teaching Company, etc. Those without the gift of curiosity will never know more than they have to. Do you want to learn, or do you need a credential? A quote:
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Japanorama is giving out a free Ph.D. diploma in Japanology.
Download it at http://www.japanorama.com/images/diploma.gif.
It's worth every cent.
"Not to long ago"? Thirty-five years is quite long ago to me. My brother tells me he had an in at the phone company with his philosophy degree and our father having worked there but he went another direction, most immediately carpentry. I never got that off but I went STEM as by 1980 it was obvious if you were poor like I was, a job was a precious thing.
But I remember a scene from 48 hrs (1982) where Murphy ask Nolte what the issue with his girlfriend is and Nolte replies, "Same as everybody else, she can't find a job in her field." And just the other night I was watching a DVD of the single season series "Wonderfalls" (2004), which is about a Gen-Y underachiever. They specifically reveal Jaye, a clerk in a souvenir store, as overeducated and under employed, "Yep, went to Brown, did a Philosophy degree, now I work here", in the first four minutes of the series.
The days of a BA separating you from the high school grad crowd are past. Now, you compete in a labor pool overflowing with BA, BS degrees, while the employers have been conditioned to see BA to mean bad work attitude by previous hires who felt starting at the bottom beneath them.
You know, the thing that surprises me [which shouldn't, I suppose] is that today's recent college graduates seem to think that if they got a degree, employers will rush to hire them. We knew better back in 1951 when i graduated from Columbia. Getting the degree was only one part, the first part, of becoming a self-supporting human being.
In many of today's elementary and secondary schools, teachers apparently don't encourage their students to be proactive about what they learn, and what they plan to do with what they learn. I suspect that this is part of the meme the teachers present that the student mustn't judge other people, whether they are characters in books, or current people in the news. Why not? This curtails half of the value of what they have learned.
You may have been the cutest baby in the world, but every baby is a work in progress, not a finished article. Staying a baby with little experience and less good judgment is a recipe for a disastrous life. An important part of your armory of education and facts is the ability to make sound decisions with good judgments, wise judgments bolstered with facts and life experience. When you hear someone say to himself, "boy, I'll never do that again" you're witnessing a person smart enough to learn from his or her mistakes.
As far as education goes, I tend to feel that many of these "Occupiers" have never bothered to decide where they want to be in ten years. If they specialized in the wrong kinds of courses, if they didn't say to themselves "where do I want to be in ten years" they are setting themselves up for living on a couch in the parents' basement. A smart young person would never have put off decisions on what he wanted to earn his living doing until after he/she graduated. Taking courses like Gender Studies, Medieval Literature, Ancient Architecture et al may be fun while you're doing it, and you can probably fake your way through it to a passing grade, but they are essentially useless in impressing a possible employer, unless that employer is a school or a non-profit. And non-profits don't pay very well because they have an iron-clad excuse to not give you high paychecks and other perks. They are not supposed to make a profit -- and employee raises come from profits.
I think the BA is still good. As long as it's from a decent school and the graduate has decent grades, and can write well. The graduate will also need to demonstrate an understanding of business and that they get what it takes to make money.
A decent BA these days should also have pretty good computer skills with solid knowledge of statistical software packages.
A potential employee that demonstrates statistics knowledge, can write well, and has a good attitude?
But so many BAs these day, see the #OWS, are steeped in how evil corporate work is and they aren't smart enough to keep that opinion for their non-work hours and friends.
Classical Liberal Arts may be devalued to some, but not to me. Of course, I'm more inclined to opt for risk takers when I hire.
Similar degrees and backgrounds, but one has traveled? Take the traveler (depending on how/why, etc.).
A degree in business versus philosophy - if the philosophy major can tell me what his degree is about and why it's valuable, I'd hire him/her.
I actually am trying to get my son off the business track. I keep telling him what my father told me. "College is where you get an education, graduate school is where you get a job."
A college degree USED to be so difficult to obtain that it doubled as an IQ test.
A century ago you had to be both bright AND funded to go off to college.
And I can post with pride: one of my great-greats was the first female college graduate in the state of my birth.
A high school diploma at that time was as difficult - normally more - than today's college degree at anything less than an elite school.
Then again, computer software didn't exist... and a host of modern knowledge, too. It's this new knowledge that has ruined the economic value of a classical education.
The first stage in this melt-down was in the late 1940's when Federal grants went exclusively to STEM professors tied into the military industrial complex.
The humanities professors we outraged. THEY were the ruling elite on campus - and now - not so much.
By shunting the bulk of humanity through college we've utterly destroyed what made a college a college.
Procrustes as struck again.
With so many girls going on into college IQs there have dropped and dropped -- right on down towards the average.
That's what happens when everyone's in the boat: average.
And then, there's grade inflation and politicized degrees.
Who in their right mind would ever hire a lawsuit on two legs? ( Womyn's Studies, Black History in the Antebellum Era... )
Isn't everyone above average? With the internet and libraries, everybody has access to the fountain of knowledge. Not many want to drink at that fountain. If only people could be taught the desire to learn for learnings sake...
They don't need to be taught to learn. Look at any toddler. Now look at a kid after 5 or 6 years of formal education. If only we could stop educating the learning for learning's sake out of kids.
Instead, school makes them passive learners, they develop a school "helplessness" then along about the junior year of high school there is a panic but by then the kid is broken and few recover. Some hibernate and find learning in college but most are already conditioned to only learn by having it spoon fed by a lecturer.
We're having this issue with my 8th grade daughter - she's getting math, history, and science, but the language arts (English????) class is kicking her butt.
The teacher constantly wants to know "what was the author thinking when he wrote this?" First time I heard this, I answered "I gotta hurry up and finish this so I can get paid?" Probably not the answer she's looking for.
All the while, my kid does not know how 1) sentence structure (noun, pronoun, verb, ect), 2) how they interact in sentences, 3) how to diagram a sentence, 4) how to form a paragraph (and, its structure), 5) and tie it all together in an informative paper format.
If it wasn't for my Nikita Khrushchev-like Father-n-law whom was an NEA apparatchik, I'd have both my kids in home-school, and doing way better.
It is hard work trying to undo the schools incorrect programming and to give her the correct methods to accomplish learning. Kicking or screaming, I'll get her graduated, and the right way.
I see your daughter has an fallen victim to the English major, the literary theorist more precisely. Sadly, composition seems not to be the teacher's strong suit. Not surprising given the corrupted state of college composition instruction. We really need a lot less English instruction and a lot more old fashioned rhetoric instruction by competent professors who don't need to find some political/ideological theme for their classes. I guess once they start, the English majors just can't help themselves.
You comment reminded me of a quote Hemingway said about symbolism in 'Old Man and the Sea'. I googled and what do I find, a discussion thread deconstructing what he meant by the statement, complete with divining what he was thinking when he wrote it.
Point taken about language majors, but I'll say one thing for them. Without them, I would not have had qualified teachers for the languages I learned, which proved very useful when I traveled. I'm happy (in a very self-centered way) to report that language software for Japanese is not very good, which means my current career remains safe, if not terribly lucrative.
I have seen plenty of recent job postings asking for someone with a degree in English. Tech writers, grant writers, proposal writers...these are all people needed right now in the economy. I see job postings for these jobs all the time.
I am an English major, been in the writing field my whole life. The combo of that degree, plus an understanding of the necessary software...like Word, Excel, InDesign, etc. can get you a job.
So please leave 'English major' off the list of 'useless' degrees. It has gotten my foot in the door many times, and eventually led me to make quite a tidy income!
So please leave 'English major' off the list of 'useless' degrees.
I had a bad experience with English and History teachers in high school, which led me to an aversion to courses that assigned writing. A factor in my choosing engineering as a major was my perception that there would be little writing assigned in engineering courses.
My perception was was correct until I got to Senior Lab, where a team of four had to crank out a thirty page lab report every week.
While most businesses are not particularly interested in many things that many English majors learn to do, such as doing a line by line analysis of T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land, business want employees who can communicate clearly and concisely. Any professional needs to be able to write clearly and concisely. English courses can help.
A childhood friend with a Master's degree in a foreign language began with a temp job at a Fortune 500 company. When she saw that many docs in her company were abysmally written, she proposed setting up a course to teach new employees the ins and outs of good business writing. That got her a permanent job. Over the years and with different companies, she increased her skills to where she now manages various aspects of online instruction for her company.
My proficiency in Spanish helped me get a job working in Latin America. [I had no college courses in Spanish, however.] Over the years, I was able to overcome my aversion to writing by keeping a journal.
Apropos the employability of language majors, I've been working as a full-time Japanese patent translator since American coins clinked instead of clunked.
Though my case is anecdotal, there has been plenty of work for translators with a passing knowledge of various technical fields, as well as solid English and Japanese skills.
Translation software is no threat, since most Japanese is written so poorly that it's difficult for even humans to understand.
That said, I would never recommend becoming a translator, unless you want to read millions of words written by dullards.