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

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tho come to think of it my friend's evil ex girlfriend spent four years at Hampshire designing her own actuarial science major and is now an actuary no foolin

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:42 (eight years ago) link

'actually an actuary' is the name of her forthcoming autobiography

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:44 (eight years ago) link

or the name of a lesser-known Tennessee Williams play

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:46 (eight years ago) link

like in my plan the lazy kids would be working on farms. would get the laze right out of em

― max, Wednesday, November 9, 2011 5:42 PM (5 minutes ago) Bookmark

this is basically the premise of deep springs

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:47 (eight years ago) link

yeah that's awesome for the 26 dudes who get to go there. Also I keep wanting someone to do an expose of Deep Springs having like weekly mandatory orgies or something

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:48 (eight years ago) link

because come on

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:48 (eight years ago) link

i think a lot of people in this thread might suggest that those kids would be better off not going to college

yeah, basically

the green (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:49 (eight years ago) link

or only to college later in life maybe

Euler, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:52 (eight years ago) link

college should start at age like 26 probably

max, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:57 (eight years ago) link

i would be so much better at college now than i was back then

max, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 22:57 (eight years ago) link

yeah i appreciated the last two years of my undergrad way more than the first two and i'm actually excited to be in school now

plax (ico), Thursday, 10 November 2011 02:08 (eight years ago) link

euler's tirade against the lazy generation ignores what I said earlier- most of his students have absolutely nothing to gain from working very hard in his course! (other than personal betterment - but surprisesurprise that's not why most people are paying tuition)

if the top 20% of his class were guaranteed good jobs - similar to the situation at a lot of law schools - there'd be incentive to turn in the best goddamn paper you could write. (watched 'the paper chase' a few nights ago...good movie)

right now there are two groups who are gonna do well:
a. do really really really care about plato
b. want to go to grad school or one of a handful of careers where yr gpa matters

the rest prob want white collar jobs and an A+ in your class is really not gonna directly affect their prospects at one. there's really no reason not for them to be out having fun. maybe they should care about plato cause plato is pretty interesting but that's not why they're there. they're not lazy, they're rational w/r/t the value of their time.

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 03:39 (eight years ago) link

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/feature/college_dropout_factories.php?page=all

i basically had no idea there were tertiary institutions anywhere in the world with < 50% graduation rates until i read this.

caek, Thursday, 10 November 2011 12:33 (eight years ago) link

I wanna see the list of dropout factories that went with that article because based on the comments they accidentally put Concordia College in MN on it

sex-poodle Al Gore (DJP), Thursday, 10 November 2011 14:34 (eight years ago) link

iatee that's nonsense: they're not rational with their time, they're fucking around, playing video games, getting wasted, watching tv. that's rational? for fuck's sake they could learn how to write! or fucking scrub dishes, if they're not going to learn to use their minds.

I mean if your point is that most people don't want to be part of the ~knowledge economy~ then fine; but I gather you're prepared to see massive wage drops compared to now? if I'm a business owner I don't want to pay some know-nothing good coin to enter data into a computer; I want someone with ideas & energy to carry those out. & you don't develop those playing xbox or watching Jersey Shore while cased out on Schlitz.

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 14:50 (eight years ago) link

Listen, when you work as an office drone, having ideas will kill ya.

It means why you gotta be a montague? (Laurel), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:01 (eight years ago) link

getting wasted and interacting w/ modern technology is prob more related to the life of a modern office worker than reading about plato

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:10 (eight years ago) link

I'm sorry but you expect everyone to be steve jobs or something, yes I am prepared for massive wage drops and your field is included in that btw

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:13 (eight years ago) link

yeah that's just a failure of imagination, on your part & on the part of so-called college students today. no wonder everyone's depressed these days!

i.e. tl;dr; goodbye America

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:14 (eight years ago) link

I'd like some evidence that hard-working philosophy majors have been something that contributed new *ideas and energy* to the american economy, iirc they just become lawyers

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:16 (eight years ago) link

why are you hung up on philosophy majors

sex-poodle Al Gore (DJP), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:17 (eight years ago) link

cause euler's a philosophy prof complaining about his lazy students

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:17 (eight years ago) link

ah, so you're using the rhetorical stratagem known as "being a dick"

sex-poodle Al Gore (DJP), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:18 (eight years ago) link

i feel like ive lost the thread somewhere, what are the two sides of this argument

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:19 (eight years ago) link

you could start with "what do philosophy majors do" About 5,940,000 results (0.21 seconds)

& yes this oughtn't just be about philosophy; I think it's nuts to say it's rational for people to waste their time rather than work hard at learning (& yes I'm aware that I'm on this message board right now rather than writing today's lecture but this is a kind of meta-work for me right now as I try to sort out how to handle my classes today).

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:22 (eight years ago) link

euler: our generation is lazy / has a failure of imagination / needs ~ideas and energy~, his evidence is some people in his class go out and party and play xbox
me: sorry dude they don't really have any reason to care about your class they just want a BA, that is why they are there, this is nothing new btw, they might not have been there 30 years ago when they coulda gotten a decent job w/o a BA

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:22 (eight years ago) link

as I understood the argument, iatee's claiming that it's more rational for future "office drones" (his expression) to fuck around than to work hard at university

I disagree

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:24 (eight years ago) link

I think "office drone" may actually have been my expression but carry on.

It means why you gotta be a montague? (Laurel), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:25 (eight years ago) link

making personal connections + being sociable is more important to your future job prospects than being rly good at writing papers on socrates

another one of those 'true value of college' things

xp

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:25 (eight years ago) link

also iatee you act as though as a BA has no value aside from signaling which I guess is your "conceit" on this thread but I'm saying: it's not just that you have a BA, but what you learned getting it, that gives you value. are you saying that you wish students could just go to class & give minimal effort & get great jobs w/o investing intellectual effort? because if so, I think I understand what you're longing for, where you're really coming from, at least.

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:27 (eight years ago) link

Great jobs?? I think they'd be okay with just getting JOBS remotely in their field of study.

It means why you gotta be a montague? (Laurel), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:29 (eight years ago) link

Euler's point, though, is that getting a job in your field of study when you never actually studied it is... somewhat entitled.

sex-poodle Al Gore (DJP), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:31 (eight years ago) link

right; he said decent jobs, that's fine too: minimal intellectual effort, decent jobs, that's the dream that this country was founded on, right?

is this just longing for blue collar America, get a factory job making solid buck? or do you want the jobs of the 90s, white collar management / consulting type work for the minimal effort folks?

xp DJP otm

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:33 (eight years ago) link

this has nothing to do with what I 'wish', we're looking at the situation irl for your students

I think a BA has value beyond signaling, just more personal-fulfillment type value than value that'd directly translate to the workplace. generally. it's a good experience and people should make the most of it. I loved college, sometimes I think I'm giving the impression that I didn't.

but someone who's there entirely for signaling reasons is not crazy or even necessarily lazy. it's not entirely irrational to not care about that personal-fulfillment aspect!

xp

euler teaches in a field where there is literally no job in the field beyond teaching more people about the field.

xp

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:34 (eight years ago) link

I think there's a distinction between "great" jobs and just jobs...people at the top part of the field will obv be those who excelled in their studies, but they will burn out and die if they have to do all the immeasurably boring and repetitive grunt-work done at the bottom of their field, so those jobs are structurally slated for those less ambitious, less studious.

I'm on hold w my dental insurance so I'm a little fragmented but that's roughly where I was going.

It means why you gotta be a montague? (Laurel), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:37 (eight years ago) link

It's not merely personal fulfillment, though; you can actually develop skills! like how to write clearly! how to work with statistics! how to plan & set up & run & interpret experiments!

iatee has no idea what majors in my field go on to do but if he wants to do the search I recommended he'll see

what you're calling IRL: as though that's independent of the attitudes toward learning & accomplishment amongst students! what you're calling "the real world", I'm calling a failure of imagination. likely the truth is somewhere between but I think it's a lot closer to me than you.

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:38 (eight years ago) link

is this just longing for blue collar America, get a factory job making solid buck? or do you want the jobs of the 90s, white collar management / consulting type work for the minimal effort folks?

I'm not doing any longing I'm just trying to understand what's going on in the world. I don't see someone working hard in your class as something that's gonna affect their economic future in a significant way. why not play xbox? they're there for a piece of paper w/ important signaling power not because they think it's worth paying tuition to hear you talk about plato. as long as that's the case, you don't get to complain about their work ethic.

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:38 (eight years ago) link

we don't have to write-off an education in the humanities - we could work on having more employers see the advantage in hiring people who can think critically

but there is def major grade inflation in the humanities, hard to see if a lit major got her degree the right way or by writing about how much she really sympathized with molly bloom

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:40 (eight years ago) link

iatee's approaching this from the other side of 'what does the job market look like/what does it require.' you can obv argue for the value of a good education in and of itself without any consideration of whether or not it'll get you a job. then the question becomes, what value should we pay for an education in and of itself. $40k a year? seems high.

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:42 (eight years ago) link

again I think a good contrast is law school where how well you do *very very directly* affects your economic future. and people work pretty hard! you can argue that there's a difference cause that's a professional program but really it isn't in the way we teach law.

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:50 (eight years ago) link

I don't really know where iatee is coming from, actually. What he's calling "what's going on in the world", as if it's an immutable fact, I think is wrong. If students are putting in minimal intellectual effort, then why should an employer want to hire them?

maybe you just had lousy professors or a silly major? I don't really get the resentment here.

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:55 (eight years ago) link

his point is that students do sometimes put in a great deal of intellectual effort at their philosophy majors but graduate and face the same job prospects as someone who cased a 6 pack of schlitz while playing battlefield i.e. 0

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:57 (eight years ago) link

wait euler are you implying that unemployment is high because kids dont get good grades in college?

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:58 (eight years ago) link

I know you live somewhere where panera will pay somebody $20 to slice bread but there are many parts of the country, where fresh grads graduate and they can't get jobs that are commensurate with how hard they worked in college!

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:59 (eight years ago) link

it's not about grades, because of grade inflation. if we had realistic grading & mediocre students got Cs, then maybe grades would be enough. as it is, grade-hungry students without any appetite for knowledge or self-motivated drive end up striking out because what can they contribute to this economy? maybe in the 90s just showing up was enough. it's not now.

does that mean I'm wishing everyone were Steve Jobs? no, just come to class! do your homework! come to my office with questions! ask questions in class!

I'm probably just repeating now what DJP said yesterday concerning the infantilization of Western culture.

Euler, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:06 (eight years ago) link

?? how does a philosophy major differentiate between grade-hungry students and those with an "appetite for knowledge" or who have "self-motivated drive"?

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:08 (eight years ago) link

euler, in terms of employment prospects/"investment", how does a philosophy major justify itself?

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:08 (eight years ago) link

as it is, grade-hungry students without any appetite for knowledge or self-motivated drive end up striking out because what can they contribute to this economy?

heh, this is a pretty.... unique explanation for unemployment

max, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:10 (eight years ago) link

again I loved going to college and I went basically for free, I'm not personally bitter about how things went, but you should check the 99% tumblr if you want evidence that there are about a million people who are very disillusioned. the most disillusioned are the ones who *did work hard and don't see the fruits of their labor*. maybe they worked hard ~the wrong way~ but if there's any evidence w/r/t what ~working hard the wrong way~ is, it'd point to working hard during your 'mostly a signal' BA.

the fact that people in your generation are so incapable of understanding how the general dynamic has shifted so violently is amazing! and sad!

I'm not sure how you miss this again and again: employers don't want to hire lazy people but at the same time don't judge work ethic based on how they did in your class. internships, jobs, outside of class stuff generally gets more attention. that is pretty good evidence that the market doesn't currently place much value in 'how hard you worked in class' and considers it mostly just a hurdle to jump over.

xp

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:11 (eight years ago) link

and again, a clear contrast is the law market. that's a market w/ a ridiculous dynamics for its own reasons (and again a place where this generations has things so, so, so much worse) but it's a job market that directly rewards working hard in class.

iatee, Thursday, 10 November 2011 16:14 (eight years ago) link


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