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Old 08-15-2012, 04:36 PM   #1
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Let's Talk School

So... I'm just about to start my third year of college and for the most part entering my major. I've realized how much of my life it absorbs and all that great stuff, so it ends up being something I talk about a lot. That, along with my favorite hobbies and stuff. Sports... music... traveling... news... all the great stuff we talk about here.

So yeah, for the current high school/college/graduate people...

Where do you go to school? What's your major? What classes are you taking? How far are you into your major? What do you plan on doing when you graduate? Describe your college life.

And for those who have already graduated... describe all that good ol' stuff in the past...

Where did you go to school? What degree(s) did you graduate with? Any favorite classes, etc.? What did you end up doing with your degree(s)? Tell us about all that good stuff. Maybe give some pointers for anyone still going through college right now.

Just use the thread as college banter if you'd like. I dunno. I just feel like it'd be fun to compare academic life stories. I'll follow this post up eventually with my own.

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Old 08-15-2012, 10:32 PM   #2
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I haven't really had a very good time since I graduated from college, so anything I say is going to be depressing. So have fun while you're there.

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Old 08-17-2012, 10:47 AM   #3
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Oh come on. Blabber away, folks.

I'm starting my third year. 'Junior' year, if you will, but well slated to be a super-senior on a five year track. I'm an Aerospace Engineer, with a bunch of other degrees and technicalities aside. Astronomy, Math, Digital Media, considering Music for the hell of it...

This semester is looking rough.

Differential Equations
Matrix and Linear Algebra
Engineering Analysis - Statics
Structures and Properties of Aerospace Materials
Physics for Engineers II

Hopefully my last 17 credit semester.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:00 AM   #4
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I'm in my second year studying a bachelor of visual arts. Full time, doing oil painting (tonal realism atm. It's one of the best painting schools in the country, which is great because I'm a shit painter), a few drawing subjects, contemporary sculpture and art history/theory. I suspect I'll major in drawing and will go for honours. My school's moving next year to a way bigger site with dozens of individual studios, so I'm really looking forward to that.

I gave a shot at studying visual arts at another tertiary education place a few years ago, but it just didn't sort itself out and that particular school just wasn't for me. I'm much happier at the current place, it feels much more close-knit and of a higher standard, and almost all of my lecturers are successful professional artists and curators in their own right. I know it's not something where I can expect a job as soon as I finish it, it's going to be a difficult life, but I don't care - being an artist is what I've always wanted to be, whether it be high brow or low brow (hope to do a bit of both in my career).
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:33 AM   #5
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I went to a local college which is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. I entered in late August 2000 and graduated in May 2004 with a BS in Communications/Journalism.

Looking back, I can say college was certainly interesting for me, and even fun - mainly on an academic level. I think that was because I was there during major historical events: the 2000 election fiasco, 9/11, and the start of the war in Iraq. If it weren't for those events, I'd think college would've been a bore for me. That's because some of my professors were radical leftists who didn't mince words when it came to preaching their beliefs to us. To this day, I still think about what they preached, wondering what they are saying about certain issues if they're still teaching at my college. At the same time, in other classes with more subdued professors, my classmates and I had really good discussions on what was happening in the world.

About three months after I graduated, I went to work at a local news station. After three years there, I decided to leave and go for my Masters'. That turned out to be a big mistake because I graduated right in time for the Great Recession. Let's just say, I had a lot of fun looking for full-time work and fearing for my future.

If you're an undergraduate, enjoy every moment of your college days. It's your last chance of being young and free before you're thrusted into the real world and actual adulthood. Once that reality sets in, I hope you'll have enough college memories to look back on with a big smile on your face, instead of thinking, "I wish I had done XYZ".

Also, if you want to advance your education, please make sure you really want to do it and you're at the right time in your life to go for it. Ask yourself if its necessary and you're truly ready to commit to it. I say this because when I look at my MA diploma, I shake my head at myself.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:25 AM   #6
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I'm really glad you're studying what you love. I really delight in your work and I hope to see more of it.

I am 31 years old, and I've yet to hold a full-time job for more than a year. I have my bachelor's, master's, and am now pursuing my doctorate. The doctorate is taking longer than expected. This country doesn't give a rats ass about producing doctors. There are very limited scholarship opportunities available, and my school no longer offers unsubsidized loans. So, I've had to go part time a few semesters in the process, just so I can build some funds. I'm a single woman and get no support from my family.

None of my degrees relate to each other. My life has been a mix of diverse education with longterm volunteering peppered in between the degrees (americorps, jvc). I regret nothing. Each experience changed my life and offered me challenges to help me grow as a person. And then they led to the next experience.

I'm pretty sure I'll stay in my current field (medicine), but my education is far from over. There's a residency I want to do, as well as some other post-grad diplomates. I do have a dream to work at the international level, and these will help me get there.

So my advice: don't be disenchanted by your education or previous decisions. You're still young, and your life can take any direction. Who knows, maybe someone with your background is needed for a job you haven't even considered before, but would be a great experience. I firmly believe that no education is a waste of time. When you consider the percentage of the population that has college degrees, then consider the percentage that has graduate degrees...you really have something to be proud of.
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:36 PM   #7
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This is my third time around at college - although it's technically a technical school - which is just going to be a stepping stone - I'm doing Veterinary Technology, and once I get a job, I'm going to go back and (hopefully) get my degree in Veterinary Medicine - DVM, although probably do it part time for a while.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:10 AM   #8
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I graduated UMASS Amherst in 2006 with a pretty useless degree. I changed my mind a couple times on what I might want to major in while I was there, and by the time I had to commit to something in order to graduate on time, I was about 3 classes away from finishing a Russian/Eastern European studies with history minor. I studied Russian in high school, and kept taking language classes in college to avoid losing it. Unfortunately, I fucked up and was never really able to picture there being life outside of school, and never came up with anything to do post-college to avoid losing the language. Almost all the Russian dept at Umass retired and weren't replaced (budget cuts), so I had to go over to Amherst College and Smith in Northampton to take some literature and all my language classes. Umass had one guy that taught a couple basic, low level Russian culture and film classes that I took for easy A's a couple semesters, and some Polish history and cold war era history classes, and I believe even my semester of Finnish counted toward the major.

I really didn't like it there. I usually say I really hated college, but the truth is more that I really hated college kids. I fantasized about stabbing anyone in the throat that could say something like, "oh, I can't go out partying tonight, my parents only gave me 2,000 bucks to spend this semester and I've blown through most of it already" around mid-terms. Especially since I overheard most of those conversations while I was at work.

This place, however, is one of my favorite places in the world:

dubious (pun intended) architectural design notwithstanding.

Absolutely love that library.

My biggest problem with school has always been that while I can be a giant nerd, once you give me a book to read and essay topics, I immediately want nothing to do with those subjects. Write a paper on the United Fruit fiasco? Fuck that, I'm going to go read about Stalin's death as reported in the Russian newspapers they have in the library basement on microfilm. There were times where I practically took up residency in the library, including the day and a half I spent there (I left to go get food once, but then came right back) writing a 25 page paper on Sergei Witte and the trans-Siberian railroad, and loved every minute of it. But mostly, I skipped as many classes as I could, and if an attendance component of a class might be the difference between an A and a B, I'd take the B for the course if it meant I'd have to suffer through fewer lectures. I had a painfully dumbed-down biology lecture (biology of cancer and aids, with a textbook featuring cartoon cells and really simplified explanations of genetics that would have insulted me in 6th grade, never mind as a college student) for a basic life science requirement--which I only took because, not being a science major, they wouldn't let me take a real bio 101 course with a lab or anything. I spent quite a bit of the time I should have technically been in cancer and aids class at the library on the floor with all the Sherlock Holmes stuff. And by stuff, I mean a floor to ceiling shelf with books that were compiled critical essays, a bunch of bound periodicals--quarterly publishing, the Baker Street Irregulars, and all kinds of stuff to geek over. Also at the expense of my GPA, I took calc II again after I failed it the first time (and only managed a c+ the second time through. Let's face it, I'm pretty terrible at math), that semester of Finnish, a couple literature classes that were taught entirely in Russian. And since I did make it through calc I with a decent grade (calc I was easy! I still don't understand what happened in II. They took away all the numbers, and I couldn't make any sense of those fucking Greek letters or something. Derivatives made sense. Integrals did not), the chemistry dept let me take the science/engineering major-tailored chemistry courses--if I hadn't been afraid of orgo after the calc II debacle, that was what I was headed towards. Then I thought perhaps linguistics. Liked language classes (Russian obviously, that semester of Finnish was quite difficult but interesting as hell, a couple semesters of Latin was pretty cool), HATED linguistics classes. Actually, I'm not sure I took a single class I hated more than the intro to linguistics classes.

One of the biggest problems I have with academia and the post-high school education system in America is programs that put heavy emphasis on one subject, and produce people who know a great deal about that subject, but only that one subject. English majors who can't even calculate a tip at a restaurant without using their phones. Biology majors who don't know Gorbachev from Pinochet. Several-times-published adjunct professors who are amongst a handful of experts on New England maritime history circa the 1600s, yet can hardly tie their shoes themselves. I tried to put together quite the jack of all trades/master of none undergrad degree (with a pretty heavy emphasis on Soviet Russia, but that turned out to be incidental and just dropped a major incontinently in my lap as I dicked around with fairly basic and intro-level stuff in practically every department other than sociology or psychology), because I'd rather know a little about a lot of different things than only a bunch in one area. It would have been pretty easy to just take non-whatever major classes for the basic requirements you have to meet to graduate and pad my GPA with over-simplified no-math-required astronomy for morons, or the anthropology class that gave us assignments like "learning about chronological order...put the following in chronological order based on invention: typewriter, pencil, computer." But I didn't want to be like the girl who didn't know where Ontario is, or the one trying to do the crossword puzzle who said, "I hate crossword puzzles, I never know any of these things. Who the fuck knows what a bovine is?"

Perhaps this makes me a big proponent of a liberal arts education, however, the flip side of this is that, like I said at the beginning of this wall o' text, I have an entirely useless degree. I never wanted to teach. If I had an office job only vaguely related to the fact that I wrote a lot of papers in college, you'd have seen me on the news by now after I shot up everyone in their cubicles. So the last semester of my senior year of college, I took an EMT class so I'd at least be able to find some manner of a job when I graduated, til I figured out what I wanted to do with myself. Sadly, that was the only class I took in college that was even remotely useful after I graduated. And since EMT around here make only a couple bucks above minimum wage, despite swearing I'd never EVER go back to school for anything, a little while later I went back to school to be a paramedic. Finished that 2 and a half years ago, and still have no idea what I want to do. I don't want to go back to school til I finish paying off my Umass loans, but if I ever do, it will be for something useful. Respiratory therapy, maybe. I don't know. People who argue in favor of liberal arts educations are always pushing the fact that such a degree teaches you how to think. And that's great. But it doesn't really pay the bills. If I were going to go back to school for something I'd probably never use, though, it would be music-related.
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:18 AM   #9
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I loved college. I went to a small private liberal arts schools and worked my ass off, partied my ass off, made some great friends, and got a great liberal arts education. I always assumed I go to grad school for more specific, specialized training (likely law, though i toyed with a humanities phd), but never did. I took a first job in a field I knew I'd never pursue because it allowed me to live abroad, and it gave me a huge appreciation for people who may not have been brought up debating and writing term papers but are spectacularly talented in their own ways. It was good and humbling for me to feel like a novice. I needed that, and I now know the value in struggling to be good at something that doesn't come naturally to you. Then, through some strange twists of fate, I wound up in a field where my liberal arts education really paid off (being able to read and write and creatively problem solve) and I've ascended rapidly and not paid for a dime of grad school. I only have a BA. I've shed blood in my career, I put in long hours and am very hard on myself, but I have to credit the liberal arts. I am grateful for my college days every day. They weren't perfect, i made mistakes, I now have a much more critical eye on the type of person I went to school with, including myself and who I was back then. But at the end of the day, the world is an intensely interesting place, and I am never bored. And boredom is the worst thing, especially when you've got an education.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:09 PM   #10
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I'm starting my master's degree in Library and Information Studies and I really believe this is a good fit for me, but I've spent the last few months reading and hearing nothing but discouraging statistics about the state of libraries in the current economic climate. While that's certainly true, I have to believe that your degree is what you make it. I might not end up working in a public or academic library -- maybe I'll end up in house at a large company or a corporation doing research work or archiving; who knows? I just really hate that any time I start a degree, the first thing people ask is what I'm going to do when I graduate (for what it's worth, I have a Bachelor of Education degree, specializing in elementary education with a minor in Language Arts, which was effectively useless in the current economic climate as well).

So despite all the naysayers, I'm excited. I missed school, and I was in that office job that IWasBored mentioned, so a change was absolutely necessary.

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