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Prancer
12-24-2010, 07:09 PM
Academia tract - as people have to default on student loans because there are no jobs, then enrollment rates at colleges/universities will drop. Need for academia may (I did say may) drop dramatically.

The academic job market can and will get worse, but I hope not dramatically worse. More than half of all college courses in the US are now taught by adjunct faculty. Most adjuncts make less per hour than fast food workers.


I've thought a lot about trying to get jobs in editing/publishing, and I often have seen that listed as a potential field for Compar. Lit majors, as well as Creative Writing majors (what i'd LIKE to major in but that's highly unpractical, even my unpractical self knows that). I'm not a corporate suit and tie type of person though, but that is one area I'm looking at. I'm going to join the Literary Magazine on campus next semester to get a look at that.

Journalism is another, it's rather dry and boring for my taste, I took a News Writing class and got an A, but was MEH on the class and assignments, but it's something. I'm not ruling that out yet.

I'd been looking at Comparative Lit as a possible major because it seems very all encompassing in it's course work, some departments allowing for classes in writing, anthropology, history, drama/theater, cinema/film, etc... Which on paper is PERFECT for me.

I'd love to get a job as a Book or Theater/Dance critic for a newspaper or magazine, but I know how difficult that is as well.

I'm looking into other fields as well, Social Sciences mostly. I'm not a math/science oriented person, but the fields I'm looking at again are very very specific and difficult to get into.

I have considered being an Academic as well, not at the top of my list but on my list.

I am definitely trying to narrow my focus and develop the skill sets I have, as well as bring out new ones.

ALL of the jobs you listed are extremely competitive. You want to work in publishing? So does every other liberal arts major. A lot of them end up doing unpaid internships in the hopes that they will be hired on at some point. You are thinking maybe journalism? Well, so are a lot of other people, and they are thinking this as newspapers are fighting a losing battle for survival. One of my friends is a journalism professor; his most talented student ever now works as a regional manager for Pizza Hut because the pay is better.

Journalism is one of the best ways to learn how to write for a living and is nearly always the gateway to critical reviewing. You think journalism is boring? Wait until you find out how boring most editing work is. Not only is it usually boring, but it's also demanding--editing (as opposed to copyediting, which is something else entirely) requires a lot of focus and concentration.

If you want to write, write. As Quintuple said, you don't need to go to school to write; you just have to do it. Very few people make a living writing; most do something else for their income and write on the side. If you want to be a creative writer, then you are actually better off working in something that doesn't require a lot of writing, as writing is hard work. You will get burnt out after a day of writing at the office and then you won't write when you get home; it will be your job, just like any other.

I know a lot of writers; some of them have written multiple books, have great reviews and are considered successful in the field. None of them can support themselves with their writing. They all have other jobs. There are reasons for this; you might find this enlightening, if depressing: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/04/cmap-8-lifestyle-or-job.html

If all this sounds discouraging, it's meant to be. Again, a liberal arts degree is not a waste of time, but you have to have a very good idea of what you want to do and how you are going to get there if you want to make it work for you.

Money isn't everything, but it's something. Student loan debt in the US now exceeds credit card debt and the default rate on those loans is going up; don't kid yourself that the degree will be a good investment unless you have solid reasons for believing it.

LordCirque
12-24-2010, 07:15 PM
Yeah, I've never expected to be able to making a living as a creative writer, I know that (and thought I already said). I've been trying to look up programs/careers that would help enhance my writing while giving me a means of support and time to work on my writing. I have a lot of support for the Creative Writing department at school but the chances of me becoming Stephen King or Terry Pratchett, well, I know those odds.

I've been looking into the science fields as well, I've never been a math or science person, but I am a lot older now than I was the last time I took a serious math or science class. Culinary School did help develop the analytical part of my brain, so maybe that's something worth looking at now.

My talents lie in the creative world, but that's not the easiest world to make a living in, even as an academic in the creative world.

Journalism is still one of the biggest considerations, because of the broad spectrum of it. I think a lot of it just had to do with a boring professor. All of our assignments came from taking "raw information" from the textbook assignments, and turning those into real stories. It was neat in terms of learning what to do and how to do it, but it got old after a while, the class itself was not an academically strong class, so we never went all that far in terms of difficulty or finding our own stories to write, and those of us that were reading and wanting to go further, got left out in the cold so to speak.

barbk
12-24-2010, 08:37 PM
Lord Cirque -- Maybe as a cook/writer for Cook's Illustrated /America's Test Kitchen? Combining two interests?

Anita18
12-24-2010, 11:25 PM
If you want to write, write. As Quintuple said, you don't need to go to school to write; you just have to do it. Very few people make a living writing; most do something else for their income and write on the side. If you want to be a creative writer, then you are actually better off working in something that doesn't require a lot of writing, as writing is hard work. You will get burnt out after a day of writing at the office and then you won't write when you get home; it will be your job, just like any other.
That's the thing about writing - anyone can do it anywhere. Which makes it easy and difficult, because it's easy to pick up, but in order to be successful you have to somehow find an audience with the millions of other writers out there.

In the day and age of the internet, blogging is becoming pretty popular and you can make some advertising money doing it. Again, it's very rare that you can make a living out of blogging, but it's easy and cheap to try out if you like to write. I find that for even popular blogs, you don't have to be the best writer, but you have to come up with material regularly and your writing has to be very clear. If you find a specific niche then it's easier.


Money isn't everything, but it's something. Student loan debt in the US now exceeds credit card debt and the default rate on those loans is going up; don't kid yourself that the degree will be a good investment unless you have solid reasons for believing it.
Definitely. If you're going to go back to school, you have to be smart about it.

I'm going back to school for graphic design, but at the community college because I still have some HS scholarship money I can use for it. (Free edumacation! :cheer: ) And it turns out there are instructors there who also teach at Art Center, so I'd be getting a great education as well. At the same time, I'm building a web portfolio so I can get started on networking.

Like LC, I'm normally of the "I'll never be good/educated enough!" mindset, but at some point you've got to stop worrying and start doing. :)


Yeah, I've never expected to be able to making a living as a creative writer, I know that (and thought I already said). I've been trying to look up programs/careers that would help enhance my writing while giving me a means of support and time to work on my writing. I have a lot of support for the Creative Writing department at school but the chances of me becoming Stephen King or Terry Pratchett, well, I know those odds.

I've been looking into the science fields as well, I've never been a math or science person, but I am a lot older now than I was the last time I took a serious math or science class. Culinary School did help develop the analytical part of my brain, so maybe that's something worth looking at now.
You don't necessarily have to take a class for writing. You just have to write, and find like-minded people who want to help each other out. Around here, there are a bazillion screenwriters trying to make it and you can find online writing partners on Craigslist. Not sure if there's anything like that in SD, but it's something to consider.

To get certified in something health/science-related certainly isn't as difficult as getting a 4-year science degree. If you're not a math or science person, I wouldn't recommend the 4-year degree. I was always good at math and science in high school, and I SUFFERED through calculus, physics, and chemistry in college, just for a general biology degree. (I suffered through biology too since I'm not very smart analytically, but at least I liked it better than calculus and chemistry. :lol: )

LordCirque
12-25-2010, 01:27 AM
Yeah, I'm at Community College right now and have a Board of Governors fee waver due to my lack of funds.

No, I probably don't need to take the classes, but they've actually been very helpful and the professors in the program I'm in are very good and guiding you and connecting you. I found a great Creative Writing program so I'll take advantage of it while I can. I took Intro to Creative Writing last semester and really ended the class a better writer and got lots of great feedback, and am taking some genre specific stuff next semester, including Playwriting/Screenwriting.

I've been very curious about Forensic and Paleo Anthropology, but those are very very specific fields, and require a very high degree of knowledge and education. I took the lecture for Intro to Physical Anthropology last semester as a GE and it ended up being my favorite class. I'm taking the lab next semester and seeing how that goes before exploring that option further, but I know how difficult and competitive those fields are as well. PhDs are the norm, which doesn't bother me but those take a while.

For some things I'm not worried so much about the education and being smart enough to do something, it's more an insecurity of being able to make someone else see that I'm smart enough and capable.

Lanie
12-25-2010, 01:28 AM
LC, if you want to know about anthropology, PM me or I can PM you. My cousin works at a museum and is also a professor of anthropology and he kept telling me never to touch those fields: little work, lots of schooling, lots of loans! But he loves it.

I'd keep doing what you were doing, dabbling and seeing what really piques your interest. I got my BA in Political Science and History. I'm unemployed. I'll be going back to school to get a Master's in History (at UC Irvine). Not sure what I want to do with it, but it's my big passion so I figure I ought to pursue it while I can.

LordCirque
12-25-2010, 01:32 AM
That's what I've been hearing too, especially in regards to Forensic Anthropology specifically, I've always had an interest in bones and observing/studying them, but most Forensic Anthropologists end up as Academics at Universities and do field work on the side. I will definitely PM you though, thanks!

Also thought a European History Degree, with emphasis in either Ancient Europe or , which was bar none my best K-12 subject, but once again, what do I do with it besides teach?

rfisher
12-25-2010, 02:21 PM
The main disadvantage of getting an undergraduate degree in comparative lit is this: what are you going to do with it?

.

:respec:

rfisher
12-25-2010, 02:28 PM
Yeah, I'm at Community College right now and have a Board of Governors fee waver due to my lack of funds.

No, I probably don't need to take the classes, but they've actually been very helpful and the professors in the program I'm in are very good and guiding you and connecting you. I found a great Creative Writing program so I'll take advantage of it while I can. I took Intro to Creative Writing last semester and really ended the class a better writer and got lots of great feedback, and am taking some genre specific stuff next semester, including Playwriting/Screenwriting.

I've been very curious about Forensic and Paleo Anthropology, but those are very very specific fields, and require a very high degree of knowledge and education. I took the lecture for Intro to Physical Anthropology last semester as a GE and it ended up being my favorite class. I'm taking the lab next semester and seeing how that goes before exploring that option further, but I know how difficult and competitive those fields are as well. PhDs are the norm, which doesn't bother me but those take a while.

For some things I'm not worried so much about the education and being smart enough to do something, it's more an insecurity of being able to make someone else see that I'm smart enough and capable.

I can flat out tell you to look elsewhere unless you are independently wealthy. I have a PhD in anthropology. Paleoanth is fascinating and there are 20 PhDs for every research position. There are no other jobs and money for research is not going to go to anybody unless you get into Stoneybrook which, I'm sorry to say, simply won't happen for you. Forensic anthro is also very limited in job opportunities and you also have to attend a handful of programs. The days of majoring in anthro without a good source of funding are over unless you are an exceptional student. Both of these fields require a PhD. There are no jobs in the field for someone with a BS. Take the classes, enjoy them and look elsewhere for a career.

LordCirque
12-25-2010, 06:16 PM
I'm looking at Stony Brook now, it doesn't seem like that difficult of a school to get into, the only disadvantage I would have is not being from NY, but I've got a decent GPA, 3.5, that should be able to get me in to most Non-Ivy League schools, despite popular opinion of me, I am a very good student.

Anthropology is not really at the top of my list anymore, I don't think I'd enjoy digging in fields in the middle of no where for hours on end, not my thing, but the academic side of it does greatly interest me.

agalisgv
12-25-2010, 07:34 PM
A 3.5 gpa isn't considered competitive for top-tier doctoral programs.* That alone would disqualify an applicant. I realize that doctoral programs are down the road, but if the only payout for the undergrad degree is getting into a doctoral program, then that's something to consider. A competitive applicant needs to be in the 3.9-4.0 range with 700's across the board on their graduate exams (in some cases, mid-upper 700's). A 3.5 is considered mediocre. If that 3.5 is earned at a lower-tiered school, it's considered below mediocre.

Not trying to be mean here--but academia is extremely competitive, and this is how people are weeded out of consideration. Where you go matters, your grades matter, the difficulty of your program and coursework matters, your recommendations *really* matter, and your test scores matter. If you have no clue as to whether you should be pursuing anthropology, journalism, European history, or comp lit, then you're basically going to school as a hobby. Hobbies do not a career make.



* To clarify, top-tier doesn't equal Ivy-League. Each discipline has top departments throughout the country. Some of the departments are located in Ivy-League schools--others are not. It depends on the individual program and discipline.

LordCirque
12-25-2010, 07:51 PM
Which is why I'm still in community college and not a University yet, I haven't figured out what I need to do and where I want to go and what I want to do. I guess it is a hobby right now, but it is with a purpose that I am trying to figure out things and pursue something to actually make myself a worthwhile member of society.

I am aware that I need to bring up my GPA, especially when I get to my Upper Division classes, I'm still in my undergrad lower division. I unfortunately have classes from way back in my first time around in community college when I really wasn't ready for college and the grades (mostly B's and C's reflect that), but I am now.

I wasn't aware of the board scores though, which is good to know down the line, still at least 2-3 years away from that, but I don't think that is something that will change in that short amount of time.

Allen
12-25-2010, 07:53 PM
I'm looking at Stony Brook now, it doesn't seem like that difficult of a school to get into, the only disadvantage I would have is not being from NY, but I've got a decent GPA, 3.5, that should be able to get me in to most Non-Ivy League schools, despite popular opinion of me, I am a very good student.

Anthropology is not really at the top of my list anymore, I don't think I'd enjoy digging in fields in the middle of no where for hours on end, not my thing, but the academic side of it does greatly interest me.

Stony Brook can be very difficult to get into depending on the program. While it may not be Harvard or Cornell, the graduate programs at Stony Brook are incredibly well regarded. A 3.5 GPA is good for some STATE school graduate program, but not even always then. You have to think that people who went to top tier undergraduate schools with GPAs in the 3.0-3.5 range take up a lot of the spots at very good, but not the highest programs. The fact of the matter in general is that because of the bad economy, EVERYONE wants to go back to graduate school. A 3.5 IS a good GPA, but you have to think that a lot of students have an equal or better GPA. On top of that, many universities have had major funding cuts. So there are less spots with far more students competing.

I had a 3.9 GPA coming out of undergrad from one of the top schools in the country and I got turned down by two top-tier graduate programs. I ended up in a top program, but there are no guarantees no matter how good your GPA or test scores may be. A lot of graduate school applications depend on the demonstration of your ability to succeed in a graduate setting.

These academic careers that you have listed are not to be taken lightly. You do not just decide to become an anthropologist or historian on a whim. You have to have a lot of dedication and very thick skin to survive. I often relate academia to modeling in the sense that you are constantly getting criticized and judged, but you have to suck it up and push through. The other hand of any academic job or graduate school is that you will be teaching. If you are not committed to your field, you do not need to be teaching undergraduates.

The moral here is that whatever you do, pick something you love or something marketable that you excel at and do that.

Anita18
12-25-2010, 08:55 PM
I'm looking at Stony Brook now, it doesn't seem like that difficult of a school to get into, the only disadvantage I would have is not being from NY, but I've got a decent GPA, 3.5, that should be able to get me in to most Non-Ivy League schools, despite popular opinion of me, I am a very good student.
I had a 3.6 in undergrad and I wasn't even in the top half of my class GPA-wise. College was such a hit to my intellectual self-esteem. :lol:


Which is why I'm still in community college and not a University yet, I haven't figured out what I need to do and where I want to go and what I want to do. I guess it is a hobby right now, but it is with a purpose that I am trying to figure out things and pursue something to actually make myself a worthwhile member of society.
I think it's definitely necessary to major in something you at least like, but your life will take a lot of twists and turns, so having the pressure of finding your "perfect" major is rather unnecessary.

I majored in something I liked but wasn't completely passionate about. I certainly like biology and I'm pretty good at lab work, but I'm certainly not passionate enough to get a PhD in it, no way. But my degree led me to my currently very stable job, which pays the bills. It isn't lucrative, but my work group is fantastic and I couldn't have asked for a nicer boss who understands that I've got other interests other than academic research. (I mean, my experiments work so I guess he can't complain much. lol: )

Actually, I don't think I'm really passionate about any ONE thing - like you, I have a ton of interests I rotate through. So you can actually think of your flexibility as being a good thing. There's so many more options for you to pursue. :) It's something that I learned from my mom, who was very good at her job but didn't think of it as her life. It was something she did, and her true interests lay in the hobbies she did in her free time. I think a job should be something you're willing to do for other people without complaint, but once it gets very personal (as in, something you're super-duper interested in), it gets tougher to make it your living. Or at least it would be for me because I'm a perfectionist in things I'm super-duper interested in. :lol:

IceAlisa
12-25-2010, 09:24 PM
I agree with you, Anita18. I double-majored in psychology and French, focusing on personality psychology. Both have little bearing on what I do (OK, psychology does have a bearing on chronic pain management but that's not my department, I am certainly not a psychologist specializing in chronic pain).

But hey, I can go to France or a Francophone country and chat with the locals. And I can cite curious findings in psychological experiments and throw around some terminology such as the Milgram's experiment, the bystander effect and my absolute favorite, the Dunning-Kruger effect ;). And I am aware of the existence of the DSM 349,432 or whatever edition they are on these days. But that's all.