Location: Southeastern, United States

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I think the words 'unwashed illiterate' may have been used.

One of my nanny kids just dissed my academic ambitions. For the record (as I told him) there is nothing wrong with my academic performance; by small-town college's standards, I'm pretty darn good. But I'm not sure I want to go to graduate school, especially not right after college. I'm pretty gosh darned sure (sorry, the nannying is taking a toll on my language) that I'm uninterested in pursuing a prominent position in academia.

I said this.

Oh, he said, in a tone I would describe as dismissive, you don't think you could even get in to graduate school?

I've been dissed. By a nine-year-old.

I suppose if I really do intend to go through the world with no master's degree, it's a feeling I'll have to get used to.

do you want fries with that?


Blogger Dale said...

No. No. Backwards. It's graduate school that's the sucker's game, more often than not. Unless you absolutely need it for what you know you want to do, or you absolutely can't think of anything you'd love more than studying your favorite subject for years and finding out absolutely everything that anyone's ever said about it -- 70% of which will be rather dull-witted -- stay out of it. You, I think, should plunge straight into working. The need for an advanced degree may make itself obvious at some point. If it does, get the degree then.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

I know! The kid was actually really funny about it but I was still bristling. For the record, I'd call what his entire extended families do with their phds more public service. So he's got a really positive and practical model of phd'd people in front of him.

I think a Master's might not be out of the question, if it seems necessary, after I've been not-at-school for a while. Now, I like the life of the mind to an almost chilling degree - nothing makes me as happy as library research - but surely one can have an intellectual life without a PhD. Right?

I've been struggling lately with what to do with my life, in fact, what kicked off this whole discussion was when the other kids wanted to know (with some consternation) where I'd live after college, and kid A piped up that I'd live in graduate student housing, of course, like everybody else.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Dale said...


That's pretty funny.

If you'd like it for its own sake, of course, it's a grand thing to do -- I've never been happier than I was in my first couple years of grad school. But I've seen a lot of people who went into it for the wrong reasons embittered by the experience.

1:25 PM  
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