Personal Reflections: Was college worth it?


Of course both I and soem friends were/have been on the job search grind lately.  I wouldn’t call it a grueling process, but it is hard, moreso because I personally am more accustomed to the academic environment— You want an essay on why I deserve funding for x,y, or z I can handle that, you want to give me three finals and 2 papers all due in the same 3 day stretch, no sweat,

but you want me to squeeze my essence into a one page bulleted outline? Sorry haven’t got as much experience in that area… oh well. Time to learn.

As I write cover letters and prepare for interviews, I’ve started to think about the jobs I can’t do, not because I am personally opposed to the ethos of a particular industry, but rather because I simply can’t do them.

I was talking to friend who was an anthro major in college and now works for crap pay at large research museum/institution, (not really sure what to call it), and we joked about going to get some vocational training, because we would make enough money to eat, travel, raise kids and save for retirement.  Maybe it wouldn’t be as much “prestige” involved, but who cares. CAN I GET PAID!!!!!!

This is the first time that I am thinking— I mean really thinking, not about some random concept or about the ills of society as a whole and how I can solve them, but rather on a more practical level.  Did I really spend 6 years and thousands of dollars for this?   …lol.  Why didn’t I focus and do I-banking, consulting or something more lucrative?  Why did I buy into the “study what makes you happy” schpeel and not get on the common sense train a lot earlier?

whose fault is it?  I blame my  liberal arts education– so far I am a Jane of many trades, yet master of none in particular.

I blame Mr. —- my 8th grade Algebra I teacher who didn’t teach me anything, who gave us a college level Algebra book and said, “Do these pages,” leaving us to figure out the rest on our own— that started the downward spiral in my love for math.

I blame Arabic and the Middle Eastern studies departments, and the Spanish departments for being new and fun and interesting to me.

I guess I just blame myself for buying into the hype…


4 thoughts on “Personal Reflections: Was college worth it?

  1. Congrats on obtaining ur degree…welcome to the real life, haha. JSTOR rocks and it is one of the things I miss from college.

    The statement made by your acquaintance/friend is sad but very common. As human beings we can get violently affected by others behaviour and then make broad generalisations. It’s hard to shy away from from or be objective. I gues sthe only solution is for each and everyone of us to correct our behaviours and improve our decency and characters.

    Your last post made me smile and took me back to 2005 when I ahd those same debates, except that I studied economics but wasn’t interested in banking at all. You’re right to be practical, at the end of the day a sister needs to feed herself and can’t be hustling for a whole lifetime. To be honest, one always questions the relevancy of one’s job and asks oneself so what? I know I do and I work in the publci sector, I’m supposed to be “making a difference”. Sometimes, I just want to go into consulting, work for some 5 years, earn my bucks and on the side do my own philathropic projects and add my 2 cents to society. I came to realize that it can happen that my job [now and future] although ethical and interesting and relevant might not be perfectly aligned with whta my contribution to this world will be. I’ve come to terms with it and try to develop something on the side.

    All the best and I pray that you find a good job opportunity. Although with your background, it’s much easier in DC, there are opportunities out there…

  2. KG

    (How come old blog posts are showing up as new posts?)

    My attitude pretty much mirrors yours right now. I don’t regret undergrad. (Although, yes, I maybe could have picked a better major–my major pretty much required a graduate degree if you wanted to continue in that field…so, yeah, my decision there is debatable.)

    Definitely could have picked a better graduate degree, though, especially considering I’ve now decided I don’t want to continue in research. No one recognizes my graduate field (“What is that?”), and my former advisor can’t get himself a job, let alone help me. And as a post-doc, I’m doing work that, realistically, a high school student could do. (Not that I have an “I’m too good for this” attitude–I’ll do anything that pays me–but one doesn’t really need a higher degree to be able to count seeds or enter data into an excel spreadsheet.)

    Unfortunately, that’s the way science (and a lot of jobs) are–you need a degree to get your foot in the door, but do you actually need that degree to do the job? Maybe not. Bachelor’s degrees especially are like the new high school degrees–many people have them now, so you have to have one just to be competitive.

    Anyway, yeah, I’m wondering why I didn’t do an MBA or something instead of a Ph.D….but woulda, coulda, shoulda, right? I think the reality is that the economy sucks right now, so no matter what decisions you made, getting a job is part qualifications, part effort, and part luck, with a large dose of happening to know the right people…

    Hang in there!

    • gazelledusahara

      I don’t know… I thought it was weird that you and Chinyere responded to this, but oh well.

      MBA is something I wish I had pursued, but you’re probably right, not matter what we did, aside from maybe medschool (rub it in why don’t you? Chinyere… ha, ha…)

      It would suck. I guess I find solace in making sure other people don’t do what I did. I’ve told my sister not to be like me, and get a degree that will pay a decent salary, and she has surprisingly actually listened to me.. eh, let’s hope it all works out in the end.

      I guess there’s no way to slice it, when the economy is in the dumps everything is in the dumps. Here’s sending you tons of good vibes in the job search. 2013 yeah!!! ha, ha…

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