generation limbo: 20-somethings today, debt, unemployment, the questionable value of a college education

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(sorry I actually don't want to know the answer to that)

dayo, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:22 (seven years ago) link

xp - it was Reed College in Portlandia

sarahel, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:23 (seven years ago) link

fwiw I didn't know quite what I wanted to do and was mystified by all the college application stuff so while my peers had parents who were helping them around on it or looking at schools I felt oddly guilty -- I didn't know what I wanted to do, and that would help me pick a school, so why am I going to spend money and time applying to all these schools?

It didn't take me too long to figure out I was wrong once I was in college, but then I was all mopey and just tried to explain this to my parents so it'd count in for my sister, but then she ended up going to the state university, too, since she had reasons to stay close at the time and they gave her a full ride scholarship

unwarranted display names of ilx (mh), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:23 (seven years ago) link

kinda lol at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for such a huge tutiotn and there are no grades just at the end of the semester "pass or fail" based on them looking at your stuff - why pay for that

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:25 (seven years ago) link

It's a decent article, though who the fuck thought that the example "girl gets swept into a fairly popular American rock band" was somehow
even remotely appropriate? Maybe a reunited LCD Soundsystem will save me from my temp job?

I'm certainly jaded after college and I find the most terrible thing about it is my current career path. I was able to get a student
employment job working medical admin and have since been bouncing from temp admin job to temp admin job for the past three years.
I can't complain about being gainfully employed, but the fact that I'm 26 with an MA and was only able to afford to turn my hot water on a month ago
is certainly depressing. Lately I've taken to working on my writing as a full time job. Though I'm reaching mixed success with that, it at least makes me feel like I'm not wasting the years I put into school.

Ryan, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:25 (seven years ago) link

One though I keep having is that despite my ambivalence about having children (I don't believe I should reproduce personally, and adoption is a lot more of an ordeal than signing up for free baby delivery), I will be saving for their hypothetical college educations until I am quite positive that they are never going to manifest themselves in my life. Or my sister's life.

Do not go gentle into that good frogbs (silby), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:26 (seven years ago) link

(xp to Latham) I dunno, it kind of makes sense to me? Why should you be graded on your output as a Masters' candidate artist? You either do the work or you don't, and the feedback is valuable but the grade is irrelevent.

remy bean, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:27 (seven years ago) link

well then I will pass or fail you and your work for 30$ - don't worry - I'm awesome

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:29 (seven years ago) link

i'm interested in your 'just go to a state school argument' because how much does that then start closing doors to possible future careers? or at least certain career paths? i mean the % of ppl who are ever going to sit on the supreme court or be an svp of an investment bank or write for the simpsons or w/e is negligible already but the idea that anyone who cant afford/doesnt want to risk huge debt to pay for a private school shldn't even dream of it is p dispiriting

There's another thread about this somewhere - I remember posting a study from five or six years ago that looked at the socioeconomic class of students who attend the top-tier colleges (public and private) - 75% were drawn from the top-quarter of the socioeconomic scale, 3% from the bottom quarter.

Given the representation of those institutions in the arts, upper echelons of the business world, politics, etc., it's essentially a self-perpetuating oligarchy.

It's one reason I didn't finish my fine arts degree from a run of the mill public 'national research university' (UT-Arlington, god knows how national it actually is) - what the fuck does that piece of paper do for me? Am I really competitive getting into a good MFA program vs someone with lesser work from SVA/an Ivy/etc.?

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:30 (seven years ago) link

in the art world that presumably these students are preparing for, it really is often just an issue of pass/fail

sarahel, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:31 (seven years ago) link

is there an art world anymore?

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:32 (seven years ago) link

what is art?

dayo, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:33 (seven years ago) link

last year, i participated in a group discussion of art school MFA students and recent grads about a "just arts economy." it was very frustrating and i felt like an asshole.

sarahel, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:34 (seven years ago) link

must have been painful

remy bean, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:36 (seven years ago) link

what i meant to ask was whether the conversation flowed smooth and easy, or was hard and uncomfortable?

remy bean, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:36 (seven years ago) link

the upshot was that 90% of them were upset that they had paid $30k-$40k a year in tuition and were not making a living as artists.

sarahel, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:36 (seven years ago) link

I mean I think the "art world" was this rich patron thing that eventually just become irrelevant - Andy Wrhol was the last vestige IMO

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:37 (seven years ago) link

my friend Sean, who has an MFA and makes a living as a financial planner tried to raise the issue of supply and demand, but they shot it down as hegemonical bs or something like that.

sarahel, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:38 (seven years ago) link

There are more obscenely rich people today than when Warhol was alive.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:38 (seven years ago) link

Oh no, there still some very wealthy people supporting artists. I think we call them "trustafarians" now.

unwarranted display names of ilx (mh), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:39 (seven years ago) link

"the upshot was that 90% of them were upset that they had paid $30k-$40k a year in tuition and were not making a living as artists."

Shocker.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:40 (seven years ago) link

I call them "people who should be gving ME money instead to make my shitty songs"

http://www.meca.edu/news/support-meca
actually we have one here - Roxxame Quimby

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:40 (seven years ago) link

I'm kind of sad that democratizing art via the Internet has kind of taken the form of 20x200 (and similar), which is okay for photography but renders everything else they put out more decoration than art (because it's all just scans and inkjet prints, more like a poster you buy at the mall than 'art' with any kind of engagement with the artist).

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:40 (seven years ago) link

yeah like this is why we can't be telling people that college is a purely economic decision (even though the BLS indicates that it still has that effect). If you want to spend four years training as an artist, that is awesome and you might have a great time, but nobody should be telling you that you are going to graduate into a well-paying sculpture job.

Do not go gentle into that good frogbs (silby), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:41 (seven years ago) link

I was in "the art world" allot at least in academics as a youngster and now I am fille dwith a sense of fear and loathing when ever I pass Maine COllege of Art

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:41 (seven years ago) link

Is anyone telling sculpture students that? Cuz that would be truly irresponsible.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:42 (seven years ago) link

do you know what they do? ... they ask your for an ARTISTS STATEMENT

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:43 (seven years ago) link

COL!!! (crying out loud)

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:44 (seven years ago) link

yeah s'what I'm saying, I don't know if anyone is telling them that, but cf. sarahel's anecdote; plenty of people still have an expectation that going to college and learning a lot about something could launch them into a career doing that thing. whereas to actually make that work out you need a lot of luck and tenacity.

Do not go gentle into that good frogbs (silby), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:45 (seven years ago) link

genius art IMO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUpWMN9Rm5Q

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:45 (seven years ago) link

I don't know anyone who went to or considered going to a high-dollar art school (grad or undergrad) who thought of it as a wise investment monetarily. They either considered the debt and didn't care, had family money enough to not give a shit, or were too starry-eyed to consider the implications - but none of them thought it was a guarantee of income afterward.

One of my first photo professors has been a "senior lecturer" for a decade, which cured me of any desire to get my MFA and try to find a teaching job.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:47 (seven years ago) link

hey at least he has a job

iatee, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:48 (seven years ago) link

ALIHAJ - "at least I havea job" is everyone's current self-soothe

http://www.losanjealous.com/nfc/perm.php?c=38&q=22

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:49 (seven years ago) link

maybe the difference between this generation and Gen X is that Gen X art students had a more realistic perspective on working as waiters and strippers to support themselves financially.

sarahel, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:52 (seven years ago) link

ok let me get to Lamp's post above:

i'm interested in your 'just go to a state school argument' because how much does that then start closing doors to possible future careers? or at least certain career paths? i mean the % of ppl who are ever going to sit on the supreme court or be an svp of an investment bank or write for the simpsons or w/e is negligible already but the idea that anyone who cant afford/doesnt want to risk huge debt to pay for a private school shldn't even dream of it is p dispiriting

Who's to say whether a public school undergrad can't end up on the Supreme Court? Scalia went to Georgetown, which is quite a bit worse than the top public universities in America. but anxiety about closing doors on certain ~dreamy~ careers is legit---you're weighing risks when you make these choices, & you might think massive debt is worth the risk in order to get a chance, no matter how remote, of such a career. Or you might not! My argument is that aside from those dreamy choices, a public degree can be/generally is (unless drugs/laziness/etc) just as valuable as a private degree. To the extent that it's not, it's because "top" hs prospects choose private schools w/ big debt b/c they think those degrees signal ~success~. & then they get articles like the one atop this thread written about them.

i mean 'private colleges are really expensive so don't go to them' is reasonable advice except: public schools are getting more expensive, only have so many spaces and is at odds w/ the idea that at least certain private schools are the 'only way' to make it certain professions. also at my large public university the % of tenured professors who did not attend an elite private college is hanging right around 15% w/ most of the coming from oxbridge/my own school. so, yknow...

yeah I mean this discussion is hard b/c things depend on the locale. like the UC system has to reject pretty good people...or send them to Davis! whereas in other states, of the flyover type, we have lots of spots, & our grads go on to do lots of terrific things, albeit generally not on the coasts (which I know is a basic good to many of you). But another reply: I don't know which "certain professions" you have in mind; same as the ones above? most of my (fellow private school) undergrad friends have tech jobs of one sort or another, or are lawyers. Those are pretty normal upper-ish-middle-class things to do. I tend to worry more about "average" (upper-ish-)middle class people's aspirations; dreamers oughta know they run big risks no matter what school they choose.

lastly: in my world of tenured professors no one knows or cares where any one went to undergrad, & I've sat on several hiring committees in recent years.

Euler, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:52 (seven years ago) link

nothing wrong with being a stripper, that IS art

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:54 (seven years ago) link

like the UC system has to reject pretty good people...or send them to Davis!

The UC system and the CA State system have doubled or tripled tuition and fees in the past decade! If I were going to grad school now, there's no way that i'd be able to pay even part-time tuition with wages from a part-time job (which is what i did, except for my thesis semester)

sarahel, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:58 (seven years ago) link

I really never hear good things about California's governance, economy, zoning laws, or flammability at this point.

Do not go gentle into that good frogbs (silby), Friday, 2 September 2011 20:00 (seven years ago) link

I don't know anyone who went to or considered going to a high-dollar art school (grad or undergrad) who thought of it as a wise investment monetarily. They either considered the debt and didn't care, had family money enough to not give a shit, or were too starry-eyed to consider the implications - but none of them thought it was a guarantee of income afterward.

― Kiarostami bag (milo z), Friday, September 2, 2011 12:47 PM (4 minutes ago

I went to a high-dollar art school (albeit writing for screen/ tv) and thought - based on the statistics quoted by the program that it would be a wise investment. I considered the debt, did care, was reassured by the financial advisers at the school, and went for it. Never recouped, not even close.

remy bean, Friday, 2 September 2011 20:01 (seven years ago) link

lol

markers, Friday, 2 September 2011 20:05 (seven years ago) link

The thing is, my writing career probably would have been successful if I'd had 3-5 years after graduation to focus on it intently, w/o distraction and as a full-time profession. Some of the people in my graduating class did: and they were successful or are becoming very wealthy/respected/acknowledged now. But I was poor going in, poorer coming out, and unable to devote myself sufficiently to the pursuit for which I'd gone to school . So while the employment statistics (quoted as like 50% success rate, IIRC) I was told upon entry be accurate, and an okay gamble, the odds of me succeeding were always a lot, lot lower.

remy bean, Friday, 2 September 2011 20:08 (seven years ago) link

"I went to a high-dollar art school (albeit writing for screen/ tv)"

brothers in foolishness arms.

strongo hulkington's ghost dad, Friday, 2 September 2011 20:09 (seven years ago) link

Mike Schmidt had no use for art school
http://i623.photobucket.com/albums/tt316/soydevon/101-mike-schmidt-action-front.jpg

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 20:11 (seven years ago) link

xp - yeah, my next door neighbor freshman year did that (the intent focus w/out distraction), i did not. She is now a celebrated playwright. I work in accounting.

sarahel, Friday, 2 September 2011 20:11 (seven years ago) link

The thing is, my writing career probably would have been successful if I'd had 3-5 years after graduation to focus on it intently, w/o distraction and as a full-time profession.

couldn't you have found a really cheap place to live though--like in a weird part of the country, lived there, worked on your craft for a few years? just wondering/thinking out loud.

Mr. Que, Friday, 2 September 2011 20:13 (seven years ago) link

like you know

http://www.rentals.com/Kansas/Wichita/

Mr. Que, Friday, 2 September 2011 20:15 (seven years ago) link

is that a recent trend, or one making a resurgence -- "community discussions" about establishing artist/writer colonies in cheap areas of the US? 10 years ago everyone was talking about Detroit. Now I think it's South Dakota.

sarahel, Friday, 2 September 2011 20:20 (seven years ago) link

I think they just call it the ghetto - oh wrong thread

did you c/p that randomly or what (Latham Green), Friday, 2 September 2011 20:21 (seven years ago) link

couldn't you have found a really cheap place to live though--like in a weird part of the country, lived there, worked on your craft for a few years? just wondering/thinking out loud.

I did learn a lot when I was there – I got to make films, visit sets, talk to people who'd worked inside the industry, spend time with like-minded writers, chat it up in targeted groups and be mentored by "industry insders" while receiving incredibly profound and honest feedback. I paid a lot for 'access' and was provided it unstintingly. Maybe if I were more of a, err, go-getter, I could have arranged that access on my own and written and honed my craft for 4 years. But, honestly, I don't have anything negative to say about the quality of my education - it was good, and I don't regret it. I do regret not understanding the necessity of stockpiling $$$ or finding a crap job to let me work full-time on the writing after I left. I dislike that there wasn't a little caveat underneath the "50% of graduates work in the field of TV/film in ten years" that said "and they are often working in it when they enter/have family connections/come from wealthy backgrounds that allow them a single-minded pursuit of their craft" but really that is not too realistic to expect.

remy bean, Friday, 2 September 2011 20:22 (seven years ago) link


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