What a Waste

Want to be thoroughly discouraged slash annoyed? Read this article.

Granted, she got her Ph.D. in literature with the goal of landing a tenured position, which isn’t a degree SCAD offers, but she sort of slams graduate school in general.

Her message? Don’t go.

I put “Grad school is a waste of time and money” up there with the postmodernist view that “All art has already been created. There are no new ideas blah, blah, blah” as the top two things people say that make me want to do this.

I think your graduate school experience and your subsequent degree are what you make of them. If you decide, when you graduate, that you will only be happy with a tenured professor position, you’re limiting yourself and screwing yourself at the same time. As is true with most things in life, deciding there is only one thing that will make you happy is a really quick way to find yourself unhappy.

What’s that saying? Life is about the journey, not the destination? I get that it’s frustrating to dedicate a lot of time and hard work to a degree that ultimately doesn’t get you the job you want, but what about the experience itself? I quit a job and city that I loved because coming to graduate school would give me the time and opportunity to focus on what I loved even more – writing. Pursuing a graduate degree is the unique opportunity to learn more about a subject you love, surrounded by professors and other students who are passionate about the same thing. I get to immerse myself in reading and writing and learning for two full years – how lucky am I?

I understand her frustration, I really do. And maybe when I graduate and all I have is an M.F.A. and a pile of unpaid bills I’ll feel differently. But if that happens, I hope I’ll remember how lucky I felt today. I don’t think I’d throw this experience away for anything.

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