Sunday, December 5, 2010

Self-Education:Take Back Control.


The title of my blog: "Where are we going?", once provoked this very specific image for me. It was meant to be a question to the many others whether or not of my generation, facing insurmountable debt, confusion, with little hope for the future they worked for. They feel cheated, lied to, when they climb the mountain of expectation only to find another abyss. One we were not at all prepared for.


Taking time to reflect, research, and study the "alternatives" I find that the title of my blog provokes a new image. The title questions not only the future of those in my situation, but is now a rhetorical question to the person no longer in the driver's seat. The one who steered us off course. We have lost control over our own education, and therefore control over what we can do with it.



I want to reach out to anyone who feels they have veered off course. Those who feel that they followed the rules but were still lead astray. Everyone, whether or not they feel they belong outside the confined walls of the education system, or those who still have faith in it. Both should recognize the benefits of being in control and continuing to learn and thrive. This was the advice given to me by author James Marcus Bach.

Take the next step and encourage it for people who aren't talented enough for conventional education. Then you might as well include everyone who is exactly the right amount of talent... The notion of "talent" with respect to conventional schooling is just circular logic: if someone thrives in that environment, then they are deemed to be "talented enough but not too talented." But this is a fallacy. It's not talent. It's FIT. Some people, regardless of whatever talents they may or may not have, are good fits for that system.



"Buccaneering" or Self-Education

Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar is his book, one that has pinpointed some serious issues in the education system and thankfully, offers solutions. One solution in particular: Take back control of your own education!

Bach became one of the youngest technical managers at Apple computer with less than a high school diploma. Is he a genius? Technically, but he no longer attends Mensa meetings. More on that later. The genius of the man is not measured in numbers necessarily. Despite his high IQ, he did "poorly" in grade school. He was depressed by being classified by numbers, and not challenged intellectually, and how however unintentionally, began to take control of what number he was designated.

He intentionally failed tests, he ignored his homework assignments. Was it because he didn't care about learning? No. Did he do nothing with his time? On the contrary. Bach spent his time building and programming the very first computers. He studied physics in his spare time---but was failing physics! "See that 49 in physics? Looks like a low score doesn't it? But I loved physics. I studied it at home... I taught myself how to use sliderule and calculated trajectories...but none of that was part of my schoolwork, so it didn't count." So why would a genius not be a good student?
Something he refers to as "mental mutiny". Your mind is free to accept or not accept, to grow or not grow. Refusal of homework, failing tests on purpose, etc., are a natural response to not being challenged, to being disinterested.

The topic of interest, frequently reoccurs in this blog, because the argument of it's necessity in education. As noted before, colleges feign interest in your interests. They create "fluff" courses so you can have fun and become a well-rounded person. Education should be fun, and make you a well-rounded person, yes, but not for a one-sided pay out. As addressed before, the school gets your money, and you get nothing in return. No marketable skills or even usable credits, just memories.
But interest IS a necessity to learning. The brain only retains what it deems necessary! A professor, a teacher, a counselor, even an employer may not deem it necessary, but your brain has.

Buccaneering is Unstoppable Curiosity

Beginning in grade school, we are taught various subjects, math, art, science, etc. Are we ever asked to make connections between these varying subjects? Most often they are distinct and separate. But learning connections between various subjects is key to understanding why learning is important. A child needs to learn at a very young age that all learning is important, if he or she is to retain any information, and to continue to believe that as an adult. At high school and even college age a student continues to be confronted with old information in a brand new context, and most often reacts to it in the very same way. It is only when someone teaches new connections, charts new territory, and braves the unknown,that students are interested. Imagine a professor who teaches that a literature major can and should be interested in astrophysics for _____ reason, and makes that reason exciting. Students will make the connection. The education system is caught up in the alternative, and you are caught up in the hypocritical dichotomy of "why are these classes required of me, if I am not SUPPOSED to even be interested in them?" Alternating the dynamics of doing things excites the mind. Learning the exact same things over and over does not. It only causes burn out, mental mutiny, and, worse, depression. So many young people are depressed by what they consider their lack of ability, simply because they do not coalesce to a system that has no designation for them. Are they slow, stupid? Are they just *too* "gifted"?

"Guaranteed Not Stupid"

As a member of Mensa, Bach was told having a high IQ meant simply that he was "guaranteed not stupid" and therefore should never again doubt his ability to learn. Shouldn't that be the designation for everyone? What makes this particular group so elite, if they can't even call themselves "smart"? IQ is just another number designation by a grade, only dictated by a test that means just a little as a 7th grade history exam. Test and homework grades, IQ and SAT scores are all supposed to be the building blocks of our prospective list of credentials. But what do these credentials mean? What again does a high school diploma signify if a genius cannot earn one? What then does a Bachelor's degree signify, if the person possessing it has no idea what to put it towards?

Bach says his book "isn't about school". In his email response to me, he even seemed to argue that there was nothing wrong with the system and with people who fit in with it. But he does point out that there is something wrong with how education is fundamentally presented. It is purely presented as "facts", in context of the classroom situation. Anyone who has ever really learned anything, did so through reflection, by partially teaching him/herself. A person learns by literally becoming a better person of their creation, influenced by the information presented. Education is construction and reconstruction of your mind, and as Bach says, “Education is the you that emerges from what you learn”

Taking Back Control

Self-education in this economy is necessary for success, but self-education is most often discouraged within the education system. In my own self-education, I came across this book and many others that are helping steer me in the right direction. One could say the only thing I really needed to learn in school was how to read, how to write, and how to check out a library book. Everything else was superfluous.

This however, is a list of invaluable information I gleaned just from Bach's book:

1. Education can only happen in an environment in which people feel respected, and that their learning is necessary. They need love and encouragement from their teachers to succeed, not by way of high marks, but by formulating a personality that comes from knowing things and the curiosity to know more.

2.In school, and even in the working environment, most often others succeed when they have a sense of uniquely belonging. They want to be apart of something, but they want to bring to that something their own unique contribution. This is necessary in the classroom to a student who wants to learn, but doesn't simply want to follow along in the textbook, and regurgitate facts. Think of a pack of wolves rather than a school of fish. We want children and adults who devour their own sought out information, not passive fish who glean what they "can".

3.Criticism and intimidation are not the same thing, but in the school system are hand-in-hand. Most people who are "bad" at science and math, say it is because they are intimidated by numbers. People who are "bad" readers say they are intimidated by words. Numbers shouldn't be threatening, and speed reading should be discouraged. Criticism should be healthy, and failure should be funny.

4. People should be encouraged to take pride in what they can uniquely do, which encourages them to be successful at it, and other things. They should be encouraged to learn outside of school, and for that learning to count.

5. Adults in the workforce need to enrich their lives by continuing to learn. Learning after college, in the workplace, should always happen! Experts know that being an expert means knowing who to ask. Create your own syllabus of books to study. Create a syllabus of questions to spark your curiosity. Don't ignore your curiosity. Learn, explore. Know that you are smart, and no matter what your vocation, become a professional intellectual.


As a graduate do you have all the information you need to succeed in the working world? Of course not, no one does. I especially do not, that is why I am continuing to learn, and doing so for free. I may not have the degree but I will know as much as someone who does. I am taking control of what I am learning. I am in the driver's seat again. Are you in the driver's seat of your education?

Next time: What does it mean to be "gifted"?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

We lost our success, it's in the generation gap.

(...exerpt from a friend's livejournal)

My best friend just landed this AMAZING job, and I am so, so proud of her and happy for her, but I just can't help feeling discouraged because of everything she has achieved before age 25. She's just one of those people that good things always happen to, and I love that she has that kind of good fortune in her life, but at the same time, I am so jealous that she gets all of these incredible opportunities seemingly handed to her, when I am working my ass off to get just one shot at something worthwhile. When is it going to be my turn for that kind of success?

I have been working so hard, ever since college. Hell, ever since high school, where I shut myself away (perhaps a bit too much) to graduate with a 3.9 GPA. And I worked SO hard in college, graduated with a 3.6 GPA, Honors and two Bachelor's degrees and here I am, working this job that I dislike more often than not that stresses me out and makes me long for something I actually WANT to do. I hate for this to sound pompous, but I DESERVE chances like my best friend gets. I work just as hard as she does, but I wind up seeing so little return while she just climbs higher and higher.





My friend is struggling, as many of us are, with the disappointment that comes from lots of work and little payback. Success is most often gaged by how well we appear to be doing and how much we earn. For those of us with less than superficial values, it's not just about financial security, but self-confidence, self-realization, and the validation of our talents. However, success is conventionally determined by numbers. My friend's GPA, her list of achievements, the hours she has put in, all gage for others her rate of success. All of these things are not necessarily meaningless, per se, but any practical person like my friend would begin to ask herself, "If they do not lead to any sort return, what good are they?" What does my friend need to FEEL successful? A high GPA?, A degree? At one time, sure, but now she has passed that point. Realistically, success has an expiration date.

Rates of success: is it a generational thing?

My friend's "seemingly more successful" friend creates even more frustration as she is of the Y Generation: (ages 17-24.) It's common for GENXrs and Boomers to be irked with the success of Gen Y, especially in this job market. The problems that occur can be staggering. Boomers unwilling to "give up" their careers and retire, GENXrs floundering at the bottom of the ladder, and the GEN Y's reinventing the ladder and flying to the top.

Experts suggest the reason for this phenomenon is the technology boom, and Gen Y's swift grasp and manipulation of it. But research shows the GenXrs had that market cornered as early as 2001. In fact the surge of technological innovations seemed to have been motivated solely by the interests of GenX. "Gen X Lifestyles allow 'alternative' to enter the mainstream, separating today’s Xer from yesterday’s slacker." "Gen Xers have caused the Internet to not just be a part of the Gen X lifestyle, but a Gen X way of life" (Generational Market Research Bundle: Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y.)

The Boomers are now jumping on the bandwagon, but only due mounting pressures to compete with the younger generation in the workforce. "Technology is just another intergenerational flash-point", "Boomers see cell phones as tools, not toys, but Boomer use of cell phones, either for personal or business purposes, has definitely increased". Boomers still believe, however, that technology causes boundaries in office interaction, and still prefer the 'Human touch'. This ingrained tech-phobia is still holding them back from comfortably working from home, or creating their own entrepreneurial pursuits, thus freeing up more room in the office.(Generational Market Research Bundle: Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y.)

Regardless of the Boomer generation's slight efforts to adapt,the workplace generation gap still challenges the average Boomer's patience. Like Gen Xrs, experienced Boomers have found themselves annoyed by Gen-Y "newbies". The reality is all four generations now "butt heads" in workplace. (Somehow ages 40-44 get lost in the shuffle)






'Successful' people feel it too...

A recent article in Metro Magazine discussed the juggernaut that was the Conan O'Brien vs. Jay Leno controversy. The article acknowledges each generation's compulsion to take a side, determined by their own professional struggle. Metro argues for the younger generation, who held up Conan as an iconoclast to their own suffering. "What was largely taking place, was this huge amount of anger and animosity toward Leno for blocking the way of the next generation" (www.metro.us).
Thanks to GenX's tech-savvy, their voices were loud and clear, and all over the place. For a time, Conan represented the difficulty of being just on the fringes of the Boomer generation, knocking on the door, and still not being allowed in. Conan, 47, had paid his proverbial dues as a GenXr (15 years) and still "...saw his ambitions crushed" (www.metro.us). Success was quantified in numbers by NBC, but Conan sought the success of hosting what he considered was "the best show on television". Again, NBC bought Conan off, but all the money in the world didn't change the reality Conan had to face: a professional kick in the teeth. The reality of Conan's success, however, is clear to his fans. He captured the hearts and minds of a generation, that support him through any professional failure, and continue to keep him in the limelight. Success for Conan is in his creative accomplishments, and no longer his ability to bring in ratings or a higher paycheck. The man has a healthy attitude, that sets him apart.


So where does that leave the rest of us? I, as well as many 25-39 year olds I know, are still struggling to make use of professional degrees, but having to settle for working retail, and the service industry. Many of us are settling for "jobs", while Boomers (OUR PARENTS) for years have been beating us over the head that we need to find a CAREER. You know, like the one they have. Yeah, I caught the irony. I was, after all, an English major.


Next Topic:

What good is a Bachelor's degree? (James Marcus Bach's Self-education/Buccaneering)

Friday, May 28, 2010

No answers.

"Liam O’Reilly, who just graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in history, said he had applied to 50 employers — to be a paralegal, a researcher for a policy organization, an administrative assistant — but he had gotten hardly any interviews. While continuing to search for something he truly wants, he has taken a minimum-wage job selling software that includes an occasional commission." TheNewYorkTimes.com

Over the last few weeks, I have been applying to be an administrative assistant for various companies and corporations. I knew what I was getting myself into. Certainly the jobs appear to be there now, but at a closer look they are mostly plugs employment agencies, and private parties. Two things I have been trying to avoid. Not to mention half of the ads that appear online are just scams.


“Had I realized it would be this bad, I would have applied to grad school,” Mr. O’Reilly said.


Amen, Liam. But why are people like Liam and I even in school? What's the point?
And here we are my friends, back to where we started. Liam was a history major. Shouldn't Liam be able to pursue a career based on his field of interest without having the wade in the kiddie pool for a few years? Isn't that what college is for?
With those four years, what makes Liam more qualified for a job, than someone straight out of High School, if all employers are looking for is experience and seniority? Employers that won't give it out if it doesn't benefit them finacially, especially in this job-market, as we all know by now.

“I’d call it a just-in-time job market,” said Thomas Tarantelli, director of career development at Rensselaer Polytechnic. “Many employers are holding back, waiting to see what their profits and orders will be, to see if they’re able to hire.”


So, of course, it is all up to the employers to decide whether or not to put themselves out there. It's not about whether or not you are qualified enough to even hold your head above water. There are no jobs. Right?

Jenna Alt, newly graduated from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., applied for 20 jobs in construction management in New York beginning last fall, but came up empty-handed. While she was attending a tennis party at her aunt’s house, she said, “A friend of my aunt’s said, ‘You seem like an intelligent young lady. One of my brother’s friends owns a construction company in D.C.’ ”

Thanks to that referral, Ms. Alt will join Clark Construction in the Washington area in September, and she feels grateful.



And she's damn lucky. See what I mean about ass-kissing...I mean networking? It works out 8 times out of 10. So maybe there are jobs, but you can only find them through word of mouth.


This article is called 'Glimmer of Hope' and so it does have SOME positive outlooks on the current state of the economy:

Thomas J. Nardone, an assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said that the jobless rate for college graduates under age 25 was 8 percent in April, up from 6.8 percent in April 2009 and 3.7 percent in April 2007, before the recession began.

The 8 percent unemployment rate is lower than the nation’s overall 9.9 percent jobless rate, but it is high for college graduates, who typically have a lower unemployment rate than those without bachelor’s degrees. Mr. Nardone noted that for high school graduates under age 25 who did not enroll in college, the jobless rate was 24.5 percent last month, up from 11.4 percent in April 2007.



So are we college grads really better off than those without a degree? It would seem at least a percentage of us are. Well of course, the ones who have degrees for the jobs in high demand. The rest of us were duped into "pursuing our interests".

We should all face the facts: Some degrees are worth more than others.

PayScale.com shows in its 2010 report on the earning power of bachelor's degrees.

No surprise, engineering degrees continue to be top earners--and (also no big shocker) you have to go pretty far down the list before you see the liberal arts well represented.

But there's more to choosing a major than comparing dollar amounts. We salute and congratulate the graduates whose interests (and hard work) have led them to the following degrees--the lowest-earning degrees on PayScale's list.

10. Drama (starting annual salary: $35,600; mid-career annual salary: $56,600)
Some mega-millionaire movie stars with drama degrees (Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep, for instance) may be skewing these numbers upward--for every Denzel and Meryl, there are thousands of thespians struggling to make ends meet. But you don't study drama because you want to get rich--you study drama because you love the theater. (And an ability to act comes in handy in many professions.)

9. Fine arts (starting annual salary: $35,800; mid-career annual salary: $56,300)
Well, it takes an artist to make a thrift-store wardrobe look like a million bucks.

8. Hospitality and tourism (starting annual salary: $37,000; mid-career annual salary: $54,300)
Jobs that include tips may be skewing these numbers downward--and this is an industry that looks to be on the rebound as the economy improves. Plus, the perks associated with jobs in hospitality and tourism may compensate for the comparatively low salaries--many jobs in the industry allow extensive travel (or provide considerable travel discounts).

7. Education (starting annual salary: $36,200; mid-career annual salary: $54,100)
For the right people, teaching is an immensely rewarding career--and it's truly a noble one. The good news is, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment opportunities for primary, secondary, and special education teachers are expected to grow by 14 percent in the coming decade. And there will be plenty of new opportunities in continuing education for adults, as professional skill requirements change ever more rapidly.

6. Horticulture (starting annual salary: $37,200; mid-career annual salary: $53,400)
It seems that a green thumb doesn't necessarily bring in the greenbacks. But when you work among flowers and plants in a nursery or garden, who needs 'em?

5. Spanish (starting annual salary: $35,600; mid-career annual salary: $52,600)
As an old proverb puts it, when you learn a new language, you "gain a new soul." Who could put a price on that? And certainly, knowing Spanish--the language with the second-highest number of native speakers (after Mandarin)--in addition to English opens up a world of job opportunities beyond Spanish teacher or translator (as a plus, you can better enjoy a world of fantastic Spanish-language music, movies, and literature).

4. Music (starting annual salary: $34,000; mid-career annual salary: $52,000)
Hey, if being a musician were easy, everyone would do it. Some of us are guitar heroes; most of us just play the video game.

3. Theology (starting annual salary: $34,800; mid-career annual salary: $51,500)
This is the perfect example of a degree earned by someone who's "not in it for the money": people who choose to study theology often feel they're pursuing a higher calling (and often feel a strong desire to do good in the world, no matter the cost).

2. Elementary education (starting annual salary: $33,000; mid-career annual salary: $42,400)
Specializing in elementary education means a lower median salary than an education degree (number 7).

1. Social work (starting annual salary: $33,400; mid-career annual salary: $41,600)
They say that crime doesn't pay. As this list seems to point out, neither does helping people. So it's a good thing that many college students seem to believe that helping others is its own reward--social workers are an indispensable safety net for people who've fallen on difficult times. And the BLS reports that the outlook for opportunities in this field are favorable--particularly for social workers who work in rural areas or with senior citizens.


(Source: PayScale salary survey. Methodology: Annual pay is for bachelor's graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting salaries are for graduates with two years of experience; mid-career salaries are for graduates with 15 years of experience. PayScale also provides salary information by college; for more information, check out PayScale's Best Colleges Report.)



Funny how "English" isn't even on the list...

Economy fails College Graduates

Friday, April 2, 2010

The System is Down

"If life's really as short as they say, then why is the path so long?" M. Ward


A brilliant poet, M. Ward, and a valid question as well. I entitled this blog "The System is Down" because it addresses some of the of the final issues in the collegiate portion of this blog. First, the collegiate system, as we have established in previous posts, is failing. Why has it failed us? Well like any antiquated piece of machinery that isn't kept up to par, it starts to deteriorate and the holes start to show. Yes, antiquated academia has ailed us, and failed us, but I like to think there is still hope. I know it may have seemed that I am here as simply a whiny, dissenting voice. I am here, however, to instill that hope. I have some solutions to the problem. But until I get to them, let's review what we have learned so far.


As you may recall, we learned that a lot of the "success" of students comes from an early, and in some ways, premature relationship with professors. Now I know that most people read that and immediately their thinking goes south. I am not suggesting that everyone who succeeds does so because of an inappropriate relationship with their professors, although that has been the case for quite some time; let's be realistic. However, being on a friendly basis with your professors, when you are 18, 19 years old, can seem disingenuous, and feel like kissing up, but it works. I haven't exactly addressed why that is, but I will in a future blog dealing with the student/teacher dynamic. It seems that if you want anyone to perform their job appropriately, and act logically, kissing up is the only option you have. You can make a stink, but it has to be a pretty big stink. I have been told on more than one occasion that I should have sued the college I graduated from for what they put me through. I am not that kind of person. Some said I just didn't keep my mouth shut, and didn't suck up enough. Oh well, I'm not going to lose sleep over that.


We also learned that the average college student's career is dictated by the school's requirements. You may be in a "liberal" school of learning, but they still insist that you have at least a basic understanding of certain concepts regardless of what your Major is or if they even apply. We know these now as our old "friends" the GEN ED requirements. The concept of being well-rounded thinker is completely understandable in some respects. You really shouldn't give a degree to someone who can't add and subtract or write a full sentence, even though in some instances that is discriminatory. But the system of grooming "well-rounded" learners, which is hardly the case still causes many problems. 1)The schools do not always offer what they ask, no, INSIST you take. That does not bode well for completion of degree. 2)Some people are able, because of the ass-kissing, to squeak around the previous problem, is that fair to everyone else? Those people save money and others lose out? 3)Some people drop-out before their senior year as a result of the undue stress and confusion about the difficulty. The numbers are there, 33%, otherwise known as less than half, graduate. So the other 67% are too stupid? I think not. They got in, didn't they? C'mon now.

As intelligent readers and thinkers we know now, thanks to some valuable sources, that these schools do not care whether or not their graduation numbers are down, even though they pretend to. Schools only care about recruitment numbers, those are the numbers that get them funding. As a result, schools really only care about what is beneficial to the finances of the school and not what is beneficial or convenient for you. Especially if their numbers are high enough to do without you. And they will do without you.

So what are the solutions?


Well, maybe colleges should start caring about it's students again. That would be a start. But in a world with an economic crisis, I don't see that happening any time soon. Maybe we should start with something small. A simple change in format.

I think the collegiate system should do away with "required" GEN EDS. For the first two years make everyone a liberal arts major. Let them take whatever classes they want. Colleges are attempting to groom young people into adults right? So give them the option to make their own choices. I did this for myself somewhat when I changed my major from Communications to Liberal Arts. I had already gotten some of my requirements out of the way which is when I discovered many majors have mostly but not all of the same requirements. Still, it promoted growth and success in a way that my previous major did not.

To find out more check out this link, and I will post some of the examples here.

1)Self-Designed Major Program
The Self-Designed Major Program offers opportunities for self-directed students to arrange the courses offered by the University of Southern Maine in a way ... www.usm.maine.edu/cas/sdm2/index.htm

2)PROPOSAL FOR THE SELF-DESIGNED MAJOR
File Format: Microsoft Word - View as HTML
The General Management: Self-Designed major is intended for students who wish to develop an area of expertise outside of the major programs offered by the ...www.csom.umn.edu/Assets/35610.doc -

I like this idea of self-design. I think this is the best option available, but there is always room for improvement.

Now what I find interesting are some of the responses the OP received, which were little bit snarky in my opinion, to say the least.

Especially this statement:

"The purpose of an education is to receive one. All facets are important, otherwise we would only have technical schools."

Once again I pose the question, if all facets are important, then why do we have the distinction of major? Quit talking in circles, that's what I say.

And this statement:

"Oh dear. Do not make your own degree. That will not be worth anything to anyone, unfortunately, or very few people anyway. then you won't graduate. you need to take required courses in order to graduate. without degree, you can't get a job."


Why can't someone have a BA degree after taking a certain number of credits? That's ridiculous. And yes, you CAN get a job withOUT a degree, just ask all the unemployed college graduates making less money than their "less-educated" peers.


And the tongue in cheek response about taking a double major:

"...since you will be going for a bachelor's degree, there are plenty of courses that not only they allow you to take.....but you are required to take several courses that have nothing to do with your major. they do this to make you a well rounded learner. plus its a good way for them to get more money out of you, lol."

How is this a solution? Sounds to me like a symptom of a problem.


My sister also suggested that colleges should just give you the list of classes you will take each semester leaving no room for error. Completely mapping out your four years, and then if there is a mistake made the student cannot be held responsible.
But are you seeing the trend here? This is like the itinerary, and it lets those useless advisors keep their jobs. But, I think that with any pencil-pushing there is always room for error, and I don't think schools would be open to this idea. As I said they would have to claim full responsibility for any mistakes. I don't see that happening.


Another and final suggestion I would make would be to do away with stringent course requirements entirely. Not just getting rid of GEN EDS, but all required classes. This would, I think be another really easy change. Just set the requirement to be a certain amount of credit hours, and let them be filled however the student chooses. No forms to fill out, nothing to be approved. Just "take 125 credits and you have your degree".

You may remember from previous posts that by graduation I had completed 129/125 credit hours, but I was not allowed to graduate "on time" because I was "missing" the "correct" class requirements. Not five of the wrong classes, but one measly lower level French class. This one meaningless, pointless class was standing inbetween my well-rounded, well-educated 26-year-old self, and my degree. This is hooey. Are you with me?

Colleges shoot themselves in the foot completely, and do things that do not make sense. Sometimes extracurricular activities make credit hours available. Sometimes these credits go completely to waste because they are not a required part of the student's major. I say if a student is willing to pay for a class, make it count.
If all they care about is my money, take the money, and give me my credits. They feel that's a fair trade on their end, so make it fair!


Taking college classes should be like shopping at the supermarket.
In a way it's the same, you wouldn't go to the frozen food section first, you would go there last. Alright, fine. Let's pretend your GEN EDs are your canned goods, your dry foods, and your major is frozen pizza and your senior year is the carton of eggs and bread. But you can definitely get your chips and cereal at the same time, and you can't NOT get cereal if they are out of chips. You are getting enough food to sustain yourself on. You can live without chips. You have cereal under your belt. What if you already have cereal at home, why would you need to buy more cereal? They wouldn't not let you leave the store if you don't buy cereal. You can buy whatever you want, as long as you pay for it. And no need to make special friends with the produce guy. I mean he is hot, but you are really hungry and don't have time to talk. Are any of you still with me?



The next post about "Planning Ahead" will just be a silly, but somewhat serious collection of questionnaires, to give people an idea of how to plan ahead and what is in store for them. It may also be fun for people who already went through it. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

The final post will be a collection of interviews I had taken of college students and recent graduates and their experiences. If you don't take it from me, take it from them.

Stay Tuned.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Minor Problem

So, I realize this isn't Wednesday, and thank you for not calling me out on my tardiness. If you read the previous blog you should be up to speed on what I am discussing, if not, let me "bust a re-cap" which hopefully won't be too painful for you. Last week I discussed what I call "the Major problem" in academia. This problem, of course, addresses the distinction of major, and why it's a problem. Clever, eh?

Now, don't get me wrong, I think on paper, having a specific major is a great idea, and a wonderful way to pursue your interests, which I will be discussing this week. The problem really arises, when institutions make three mistakes.

THE THREE MISTAKES:

First of all, most colleges don't take your particular distinction seriously, and therefore, you do not get preferential treatment paramount to your timely success. Now, this differs depending on the institution and what it values academically. So really it's less about what major is most important to the student and more about what major is most important to the school; I will touch on this in a bit. The second mistake is the wastefulness of the first two years of the students life either re-teaching them things they should have learned in high school, OR teaching them things that are of no value to the student's later academic career. Now some may argue it's good to learn a little bit of everything to develop the mind. Unfortunately, it is not the intention of the school to make you a well-rounded human being. It is clear that you are simply a number to them, and all of these extra classes equals more revenue. The third, but not final mistake being made in academia, is the emphasis placed on the professor/student dynamic: the closer you are to your professors, the more chance you have to squeak around the impenetrable red tape. Close can mean one or two things: 1) you could be on a friendly basis ie. a first-name basis, 2)you could be on a friendlier basis, hanging out after class, getting a drink together. With two consenting adults there is nothing wrong with this. A problem arises because the ass-kissing really needs to begin in freshman year for it to really stick. And that's when the ass-kissing becomes a bit inappropriate and untimely for an 18 year old.

What 18 year old, fresh out of high school, wants to suck up to his teachers, and hang out with them after class? One whose been doing it all of his life, that's who. But I digress...

It seems that if you have not honed your ass-kissing skills, if you want to get anywhere in your collegiate career, you need to start on-a-honin'em.


And so, those are three of the Major, conflicting problems in academia. Now onto the
premise of this weeks blog:


The Minor Problem(s) :


Some prospective students completely avoid taking a minor. I don't blame them. Why add another year onto your collegiate life sentence? But, what is so tempting about the minor, is the individual choice you make in a sea of requirements. So I can see the draw in that. Not to mention it makes you look really smart on your diploma. John Jacob Jingleheimer, B.S., Major: Neurophysics, Minor: Ballet dancing. The choice of minor is completely dictated by personal interest. But as far as academia, and the final result is concerned, the major is supposed to be your core subject of interest, and the minor, not-so-much. Therein lies a problem.

Another problem has to do with what is available to students. Deju-vu, anyone?
Your major may be English because you are interested in theater, but your school doesn't have a theater major. So you major in English so you can write, and you minor Psychology because that is what is available. So much for pursuing your interests. This completely made up scenario was brought to you by the letter E. It may not completely illustrate the problem, but I think you might get something out of my own personal experience.


What did you take in college?

Thanks for asking!

After screwing around my first two years, because my B.S. detector's bells and whistles were going off like crazy, I decided to get serious. I transfered in a four year program at Cal State University to Major in Literature and Writing and minor in Sociology. I did this for two reasons, 1) I knew I wanted to be a writer, and after majoring in Communications, doing film work, working at a radio station, and your general putzing around, I still really wanted to be a writer.
2) I had finished my first two years of GEN ED becoming extremely interested in sociology. I loved the study of people and their behavior. I liked Psych too, but it was too scientific for me.
Soc was perfect! Somehow I got it in my head that Literature and Writing and Sociology were the perfect combination of interests. I thought: "This is great!" "I will study people and how they behave and then I will pool my knowledge and then write about people and how they behave!" It seemed highly logical at the time.

When I got to Cal State, which is a WONDERFUL school compared to some of the other slop-houses I've attended, I kind of hit a brick wall. I was faced with four more years of school if I wanted to minor in Sociology. This is after already doing two years.
So I dropped the minor. Funny thing, this "dropping the minor" business. You find out pretty quickly that even without your minor you still need 30 credits of electives for your major. Do you see what I'm getting at here?

So although my dream of seeing : Amy Marie Duda, B.A., Major: Literature and Writing, Minor: Sociology became, Amy Marie Duda: B.A. Major: Literature and Writing, I could live with that. Mostly because I ended up taking six classes of Sociology anyway, and then fell upon the "cursed" Women's studies. I'll get to that later!!

But, my interests are roller-blading, moonlit walks, and data entry.

So even though I only have a major in Literature and Writing now I have a wealth of knowledge in the Sociology field. How did that happen. So wait, let's rewind, I KNOW a lot about Sociology at this point, but I don't get credit on that incredibly important piece of paper for it... GAH!
At least those "electives" weren't wasted on things I was not interested in.
So let's consider this issue of "interest" shall we? Many colleges, with their shiny and colorful recruitment packets, pretend to care what it's students are interested in.
But, I'm sure you have guessed, by now, they don't. They care about what THEY are interested in, for the most part, and what brings them in money. They could have a booming Women's Studies program, that many people are attending, but some nutjob on the board is going to say that there are more students in the Sciences than the Arts and the arts should be cut and Women's Studies falls in the fluffy not-needed arts category. Ok, Ok, enough rambling, I think I have come up with a solution.

Sigh, What's the point?

Hey, now, buck up soldier! I know this all seems bleak. You don't really have much say in what you want to take, and even when you do, you don't have much say in how long that will take. And once you get to be adult-age you will be wondering why you still have no say in the course of your own life and how your time is spent. But all is not lost! The solution I have come up with is simple. It starts in Kindergarten. Decide in Kindergarten what you will want to do for the rest of your life and never, ever change your mind! Remember that question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Don't answer it in passing. Study for it like it's an entrance exam. Don't say "Fire-fighter", or "Mommy" say "Business Executive", or "Brain Surgeon", or "Fast Food Restaurant Manager" and be certain about your choice! Puff up your chest and say it with authority! That way, by the time you get to college, you will know exactly what school to attend that is fitted to your needs, instead of having to cow-tow to some institution's idea of what your needs are. While in school, and having your needs met you will know exactly what classes to take to fit your interests. No wishy-washy, party-harty freshman here! You are all business! Plus, you've been studying your area of interest since Kindergarten, so you know a lot about it. You're practically in genius standing! You could probably test out of all of your classes! No need to kiss ass when you have the genius-pass!

Where was I going with this? Oh, right. PLAN AHEAD. That is the bottom line. Unless you have money out the whazoo and can afford to screw around. My next blog will talk about how exactly you can plan ahead, regardless what stage of the game you are in.


Stay tuned.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Major and Minor Problem.

Hi there, and welcome back. This blog is going to address the issue of colleges getting in the way of it's students' success. That's quite a mouthful, but let's begin. First I want to discuss what I prefer to call:


The Major Problem.


If you are unaware, this is a play on words, really. The most pressing problem I see in academia is the distinction of Major. First of all, so many majors are seemingly distinct by name, but really have you taking many of the same courses in the first two years. At the blissful first hours of orientation, as far as the student is aware, they are a Literature major and in fact in a separate faction of learning than their friend the Dance Major. They would do well however, to get to know each other. Maybe even room together. They will be seeing a lot of each other in the next two years. The school most likely views the Literature and Dance major as cut from the same cloth. Students both pursuing liberal arts degrees, they are viewed as similarly ineffectual, but fiscally necessary. Schools attempt to be somewhat transparent about this. They will tell you that your particular department is either in the "Arts" or "Sciences" and you will receive a degree based on that distinction. What they do not tell you is, that because you chose a "creative" mode in life, you will be forced to be savvy and creatively teach yourself. I'll get to that in a bit.

Before I do, I need to concentrate on one particular part of this problem. Whether you attend University, Community College or a Private Institution, you have to know going in, that your first two years are completely useless. That is not to say that you will gain nothing in those first two years, on the contrary. But the classes you choose to take have no impact on your eventual ambitions whatsoever. In fact, I suggest not making any decisions about the classes you take in the first two years. Have your advisor print up your itinerary of required classes, hand it to you, and create your life around them. If you have done everything "correctly" up until this point you will only be 17 or 18 years old, so you can be flexible. On this itinerary, there will be roughly 60 credits worth of GENERAL EDUCATION. These classes, about 20 or so, can be split into 5 classes per semester, 2 semesters in a year. There you have it. So simple. If you take all of these classes, and of course when you should, you will have learned enough highly useful information to qualify you to enter into studying your major! If you do it that way you will be done your first two years... in two years. Bravo!

What?

It's not that simple, you say?
Well how can that be? You are told the classes you need to take, which are the same, whether you major in Psychology or Basket-weaving...what's the problem?

Oh look! more “Major” Problem(s)...


What schools are offering vs. what they require, is one of the major problems in academia.Imagine this scenario. You are a 19 year old college Sophomore. You have taken 57 of your required General Education credits. You do fairly well for a Dance major forced to take Advanced Biology and Trigonometry. You look at your itinerary that your wonderfully helpful advisor has given you and see that you have checked off all the required classes, all but one. English 102. English 102, is a course required for you to complete your degree. You are anxious to start taking your first Dance Choreography workshop, so you go to your advisor. He/she agrees that you MUST take this class next semester, and would be foolish to put it off. He/she has a plethora of information about how you can get around the class, but is either fiscally or morally obligated to keep quiet. He/she looks at her computer screen for what is available next semester. English 102 is not on the list. How can this be? Isn't English 102 required of all of it's students? It's an imperative course, in which a student learns how to properly indent and use commas! How can you even be a successful dancer without this information?! Biting your lip and praying for a solution you ask your advisor what can be done. Play-acting bewildered they say:

We're clean out of English 102's, might you try Native American History?

There are so many things wrong with that scenario, I do not know where to begin. Well, I guess I do. First of all, remember how I mentioned that your advisor knew ways for you to get around taking the class, but for some reason, didn't say anything. Yeah, I have a big problem with that. I am still in the process of figuring out why this is, beyond the most obvious and glaring reason, to get more money out of you, which is a recurring theme here. So you take Native American History (good for you). You fill the hole in your schedule with a "useless" class, not one with useless information per se, but one that does not give you the required credits to check off. You leave Native American History with a renewed understanding of injustice, still three credits shy of being a Junior. Ah, the irony. Yes, you wasted your time, Yes, you wasted your money, but you know what you have now, my friend? Something that isn't measured in credit hours: Life Experience! Yes, life experience doesn't get you a degree, but it will get you further in life than a degree would in some cases. So what did you learn from that experience?

Wut tey learn-ned mee in skool

Yes, of course life for this would-be Junior, and Dance major isn't all bad. She has her friend the Literature Major, who she spends a great deal of time with. They both sat in much of the same classes, taking Adv. Bio and Trig, one that the Literature major almost failed. But the Literature Major is highly upset when she finds out about the English 102 class from her friend. Not only is it a GEN ED REQUIREMENT FOR EVERYONE, but it is affiliated with her major and is all the more required for her to take. Luckily, the Literature major is friends with one the professors of English in her department. She confides in her professor friend who tells her that she will talk to the prof who usually teaches English 102. She is on sabbatical this semester, but she is more than likely to come to campus and give such a promising lit major a test-out session for English 102.

:D !!!!

What's a test-out session?

:/ Oh.

Well, it's...

Hey wait you don't know about it? Well you're going to have to find out for yourself, because, evidently, it's a huge secret in academic circles!

>:P

Just kidding.

the first amendment gives me the right to tell you, so I will.
A test-out session is when brown-nosers, I mean, students who are friendly with faculty, take a written test made up by the professor who teaches the class that is unavailable. Sometimes it's even for classes that may be at an inconvenient time or in some cases, too expensive for the student. All the student has to do is somehow prove to at least one professor that he or she is brainy enough to "not need to take the class". Then the professor, who has a pre-made test all ready for such an occasion, will administer it in a hush hush top-secret after class "in my office" session. If the student passes (hallelujah!) they just squeaked around taking an expensive English course and spared about 6 months of their life. Get the picture? This is just what the Literature major did. Wouldn't you do it? The only problem is, the Literature major is in a moral dilemma. She cannot tell the Dance major who could benefit from taking the test. Why not? Well, it would only cause confusion, and problems between her and her favorite professor. Because the Dance major is well a dance major, she cannot get permission no matter what she does. In fact even if she asks the very same professor about the very same test, she will be give the stock response "You're not an English major, so I don't think you could pass it." Translation: "You're SOL, baby"Thus driving a wedge between the Literature major and Dance major,who got an A in Trig but is too dumb to test out of ENG 102. That's OK, that just gives her more time to go to the Y and take a dance class, since she still hasn't taken one at her school!!!!!

I like you, you hate me, that's what college is for me.

So, I mentioned earlier about being savvy, and learning to creatively teach yourself. Well, it's situations like the previous one and many others in which you will find yourself having to do so. Hopefully you will have people close to you, who will help you out. For God's sake, listen to these people, especially if they are giving you advice on how to find scholarship money, or just make your time easier or more enjoyable. You will find, however, that some people are very
competitive, or arrogant and will withhold information that could be very helpful. Something that I have noticed that most colleges encourage. Every woahman for her/himself!


Let's bust a re-cap

So what have we learned so far about a successful collegiate experience:

1. The first two years are highly unnecessary to your major and what you want to get out of your college experience, so get them over with as soon as possible. In fact try your hardest to just take all of the classes required of you with 100's and 200's in them NOW. You'll thank me later.

2. If you did your first two years right, you know just as much as everyone else who did them. Now the next two years are about being put into a caste system of how much ass you kissed. Enjoy!

3. Kiss a lot of ass. Kiss as much ass as possible, especially ass you don't know very well. The more ass you kiss, the more favors you will get from people. It's unbelieveable. You can try asking questions, pestering, and being annoying, but then people will just ignore you.

4. Don't take any classes that make you a more intelligent, more well-rounded human being. They aren't required of you and you're just wasting your money.

5. Make friends with cool people, or don't. They're just getting in between you and the asskissing anyway.

6. Spend a few hours in the library reading up on your major. Or take classes outside of school on the subject of interest.You won't get any of this information for two whole years remember? And you'll be ahead of the game once you do.

On Wednesday I will be discussing ....The Minor Problem as it has to do with interest vs. necessity as well as what I like to call "the major segregation".

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Long week of 2 blogs.

So I have a long week ahead of me which gives me time to make three blogs!


One as you know will be called the Major and Minor problem, which should be up Sunday.

The other will be up Wednesday. It will be about my current occupation, it's pros and cons, and the like.

The last will be up that Friday. Not sure what it will be yet, so stay tuned.

In the meantime enjoy this video by The Specials.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr2HTUlUrDo

It's quite fitting.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The post-graduate limbo.

How low will they go?

In keeping with the tradition of my blog, so far, I must begin by mentioning my 22 year old sister. While doing research for this blog, I received a text message from her that stated simply "Longwood isn't letting me graduate in May...". This, of course, struck a chord with me, as the college that I recently departed from committed the same offense against me. But "Why?", you may ask. Was our GPA too low? Did one of us get kicked off campus, because we were caught selling weed out of our dorm room? The simple answer is: No. They just want more money out of us. That IS the plain and simple answer you will find once you cut through all of the B.S.


The particular B.S. my sister was fed, back in September, was that she had completed the required amount of credits to graduate. The fact that she was, for the lack of better words, lied to, really upsets me. For one thing, she went into that meeting with her advisor, armed to the teeth, fully prepared to do what she needed to. If she was given the correct information, in a timely matter, she would have taken the classes she needed to take and would be walking in the graduation ceremony that should be available to all students. Another issue of contention with me and the collegiate system.

Excusez-moi?!

She had seen the same thing happen to me, a year and three months earlier, when a similar bomb had been dropped about an unnecessary, yet profoundly necessary, French 101 class. Long story short, I had taken French 101 in high school (in the 10th grade), taken French 102 in college after being APPROVED to take it, having the necessary knowledge to do so. I saw that there was still a gap in my transcript where the French 101 class should have been, so I contacted my French prof and said "you mentioned to me about being able to test out of that lower level class we both know I don't need, please contact me about that." I left my email address and phone number. I never heard from her. Over the next year I had talked to my advisor and she suggested I take electives to get the 125 credits needed to graduate(which should be the ultimate factor). I ended up getting to May 2009 with 129/125 credits. When I approached my advisor with this information she said "No, you need French 101 to graduate." I panicked, said, "What do I need to do?" I went through a LONG, arduous, and unnecessary (the key word here), process of filling out forms and phone calls, and emails, and it was a big mess. Ultimately I ended up doing everything I needed to do to walk in May, including taking the class by correspondence through University of Wisconsin (which was something I had to fight for). When I got to my graduation day, all dressed in cap and gown and ready to rock, my name wasn't on the list. They "accidentally" took me off of the list. The story is almost too exhausting to retell, but I gave out a bunch of evil stares and I got to get my empty diploma case handed to me on stage, sans diploma The diploma I would have to track down, on foot, six months later.


That aside, My sister is short six ELECTIVES that magically appeared out of nowhere.

Why? Well that leads me to the topical part of this blog.


The Topical Part


"Colleges and Universities are businesses and students are a cost item. As a result, many institutions tend to educate students in the cheapest way possible."

It seems that they also tend to profile students who can give the most fiscal input/output.

According to DAVID LEONHARDT, writer for the NY times business economy page, the numbers don't look good, and profits are the number one concern. But somehow everything they do to make profits go up, are shooting their numbers in the foot. For one, the number of college students who dropout during their Junior year has increased dramatically in only the last ten years. According to Leonhardt: "In education, the incentives can be truly perverse. Because large lecture classes are cheaper for a college than seminars, freshmen are cheaper than upperclassmen. So a college that allows many of its upperclassmen to drop out may be helping it's bottom line." It seems there is a clear incentive to make completion as difficult as possible for students in the hopes that most of them lack ambition and funds. That they will eventually find the struggle to "finish" too difficult, give up and move on.


FAIL!

Only about 33 percent of seniors graduate "on time". The definition of "on time" has also changed drastically in the last ten years. Four year institutions on average "release" six year graduates. Many graduates refer to their program as "the five year plan" which is a tongue in cheek reference to how the four year program is not realistically four years. So the average upperclassman has paid five to six years worth of tuition, rather than the initial numbers they may have considered as a freshman. Leonhardt suggests:"Conservatives are wrong to suggest affordability doesn’t matter But they are right that more money isn’t the whole answer. Higher education today also suffers from a deep cultural problem. Failure has become acceptable. Graduation delayed often becomes graduation denied. Administrators then make excuses for their graduation rates. And policy makers hand out money based on how many students a college enrolls rather than on what it does with those students. " Practices like this lead economists like Mark Schneider to refer to colleges as “failure factories”.


To Graduate or NOT TO, there's no question!

I'm not advocating dropping out once you are in, and I am certainly not suggesting not graduating after working hard for that degree, but is there another option?
In my opinion, the evidence is clear, the less students who graduate, the more revenue is made for the colleges. Either upperclassman stay in school longer and dole out more tuition, or they drop out, making room for less expensive underclassman. Either way profits are increased. Should we assume as intelligent and critical readers that colleges don't care about the success of it's students? Should we delve even further to see if a B.A. or B.S. is viable or even necessary in this economy?

If a student is "lucky" enough to graduate, they may not have as many choices as they initially expected. A Bachelor's degree isn't today what it was ten years ago. Certainly, the average student in a liberal arts college, does not have the resources for a clear future ahead of them, so they have to be creative and ambitious. In some cases a student can transfer from a four year institution directly into a graduate program and usually have more success gaining skills, and finding a career with the knowledge they are given there. Many graduate schools need students and will GIVE OUT FUNDING to get them. Graduate schools work with their students, prepare them, and treat them like viable adults.

The system as it stands, isn't working. College should be an enjoyable, enriching experience. Many students now are in a hurry to get out and find a 50K/year jobs that they can get with a high school diploma, and do very well having avoided the debt of tuition altogether. Some people still want the creative and intellectual exposure of a college career. Next week I hope to discuss some more problems with the education system and some improvements being made at the graduate level.


Stay tuned next week for : The Major and Minor Problem

Sunday, February 28, 2010

This is the very first official entry!

Welcome! This is the obligatory introduction post, so I hope it doesn't bore you to tears. Please don't cry. I decided last night in a haze of wine coolers, that it was about time that I started my own blog. As an aspiring writer (take that how you like) , I have had many "blogs" over the years, but none so public and accessible. As an intern for their summer college program, My 22 year old sister now has a vlog affiliated with Disney. I am so excited for her, but at the same time asking myself why I've been dragging my feet. I think the hardest part about getting started is figuring out what on earth to write about. As a creative writer (mostly) I usually just write about whatever comes to mind. I do have "ideas" I research and address, but it's not like "Ok I will spend the next 7 weeks, only writing about endangered species on the Galapagos islands".

I honestly don't think that would go so well. I think also that vlogs are easier than blogs. I might make a few of these vlogs. Doing them, and watching them I find they are much more freestyle and conversational, and the occasional "um" and "uh...what was I talking about, OH YEAH!" can come up, and is forgivable. Not entirely so when it comes to it's communicative cousin-the written word! I love writing, but my personality makes being in <---this little box--->, a bit confining. But we can do it! For we must be very careful when it comes to dangling participles and such! I am sure my audience here will be forgiving, still I assure you I will attempt to stay on task for most of the blog, with only the occasional tangent....Now, where was I....OH YEAH!

I want to give you a bit of an idea of what will be addressed on this blog. Here is a little outline of some of the things I will be writing about, both for my sake and yours.

Would you-could you be my neighbor?
1. Obligatory Intro Post- which we are in the middle of right now-- explains the purpose for the blog, outlines the blog's progress and may have a little bit about your fearless leader towards the end.

So what is this?

2. Well here we are at the most exciting part of the blog, finding out what on earth I will be writing about. Now are you getting an idea of what you will be dealing with here? This blog is called "Where are we going" for a reason. In this fabulous economy, many of us ranging from ages 22-30 have absolutely no idea what is in store for us in the future: monetarily, creatively, emotionally, and what have you. Part of the problem I have noticed is that time spent in college, an institution meant to get our career path on track, fails us, feeds us false information and honestly, doesn't really help us plan for our futures at all.

Can I use keyboard?


3. Part of the struggle here, I find is mostly with the job market, having very little need for what our generation was encouraged to pursue. Those of us encouraged to pursue the arts, whether in writing, music, drama, or the fine arts, well "we just should have known better". I find that my peers who sucked it up and went after jobs in either in engineering or computers, are doing quite well for themselves, but they are miserable and not doing what they really want to do. And what are the colleges teaching us? What are we gaining from our education that we really take with us? Are we on the right track to doing what we want to do?

So what is that?

4. Last night I was talking to my mother about my plan this summer: to scope out all of the publishing houses in the area, find one that's hiring and get my big ole' foot in the door.
Her quick answer back was: "I thought you wanted to be a teacher?"
I did want to be a teacher. Unfortunately it seemed the closer I got to my goal, the more things I had to do to even be considered a real teacher. As a result, I've subbed, I've been an assistant, I've even worked privately as a nanny, and a tutor. This past year I've had experience doing some very rewarding things, but all the while feeling like I wasn't doing what I really want to do. I realized that many of us aren't really doing what we want to do, but we're doing something like it, so we can lie to ourselves and say we made it, or we are just doing what pays the bills, and squeaking in our true passion only as a hobby. I realized, I do enjoy teaching, but I want to write. If I do teach, I only want to teach others to do the same. I want to teach valuable and necessary things, but only in the field of writing. I want writing to be valuable and necessary again. My ultimate goal is to get my MFA, and get published, and possibly put to use the teaching experience I would get from the fellowship. In the meantime the only contacts, and work I want to be doing is for the publishing industry. I'm done selling myself short, and getting paid to get apple sauce in my hair and on my pants.

But, aren't children our future?
5. Remember when we were the future? Well what happened to that? I'm not quite sure. I feel like we were only given a small window of time to get ourselves together, before the younger generation competitively steamrolled us out of their way. I mean good for them and all, but hey!
Some of us aren't even in our 30's yet, and we're supposed to give up? No fair! No tag-backsies, ya little bastards!

...

The rest of the ideas will eventually flow out I assure you.

Until then I am going to start on these ideas. I will attempt to keep myself well informed, and do all of the research necessary to not sound like a noob. You are in good hands here.

Stay tuned for next weeks blog:

Let's do the post-graduate limbo

Labels

about.com (1) Alexandra Nikolchev (1) Andrew Leonard (1) Anya Kamenetz (1) arts (3) asskissing (1) becky lang (1) book review (2) business (4) careers (17) cartoon (4) children (7) colbert report (1) college (8) colleges (12) comic (1) Conan O'Brien (1) creative (2) Dana Faccine (1) dance (1) debt (3) degrees (4) diane ravitch (1) doctor (1) documentary (1) Dr. Seuss (1) drawings (1) Drew Grant (1) drinking (1) economy (7) education (9) ELIZABETH HAYS (1) fail (9) fails (1) first entry (1) for-non-profit (2) Forbes (1) FRESH IS BACK (1) friends (1) frontline (2) Gene Marks (1) generation gap (6) george carlin (1) gifted (3) graduate school (4) graduates (4) graduating (4) graduation (6) HBO (1) hotel finance resourse (1) humor (3) ideas (1) intelligence (2) interests (1) IQ (3) James Marcus Bach (2) Jay Leno (1) jobs (15) jon stewart (1) LAURA PAPPANO (1) learning (3) Leslie Helm (1) letter to the editor (1) literature (1) Los Angeles Times (1) lying (7) major (1) majors (4) MB Quirk (1) Metro Mag (1) minor (1) minorities (1) minors (2) money (3) NPR (2) NYDAILYNEWS (1) NYtimes (2) onlinecollege.org (1) pay (7) PBS (1) PhDs (2) planning (1) profanity (1) rat race (1) reading (1) reform (6) Rutgers (1) s (1) scams (7) science (1) Seattle Business News (1) self-designed major (1) self-education (11) statistics (3) success (7) tangential (1) teaching (9) ted talks (1) testing (1) the Consumerist (1) the Nation (1) the Onion (3) the Salon (2) the specials (1) the Week (1) the young turks (1) Tony Cox (1) toothpaste for dinner (2) tourette's (1) truth (1) universities (8) video (10) WAWG (11) Weird Al (1) William Deresiewicz (1) women (1) writing (4) xkcd.com (2)

It's all about me.

My photo
wife. poet. humorist. friend.