Back To (No) School

Oh, friends.  I know it’s been awhile since I posted.  As always, life happens and I find myself procrastinating on posting for days upon days until suddenly weeks past and I just pretend that no time has passed at all when actually it’s been three months.  Thanks to everyone who was still reading, commenting, and emailing me (postcollegiateblog at gmail, if you’re interested) and I hope to be more committed to this blog as the summer melts into fall.

When you’re growing up, late August/early September is always the back of school time of year.  Being the kind of kid who hating playing outdoors and loved the feeling of freshly sharpened pencils in her hand, I loved the back to school rush.  Picking out new supplies, seeing old friends, and the feeling of temperatures dropping below 90 degrees was always a welcomed feeling for me.

After college, the back to school feeling became something different – it became the “going back to school” feeling.  Every fall since I graduated in 2007, friends have announced their intentions to attend medical school or law school or graduate school or air conditioning repair school.  Going back to school has become everyone’s fall back plan and as you probably know, earlier this year, it became mine.  This past spring, I applied to Expensive DC University’s Business School.  I submitted my application just days after being laid off, wished on a bottle of beer, and hoped for the best.

And I got in!  With a scholarship!  And there was much rejoicing.  Until I realized how much this little excursion back to school was going to cost me.  Even with the scholarship (and extra money cajoled out of the department, because I am supremely gifted at manipulating funds), I’d be looking at taking on a loan debt that just felt outrageous.  It would triple my current debt, limit my ability to make money with my new career (more to come on that!), and would drain my savings.  After a few days of reveling in my acceptance and cursing my ancestors for never leaving me a hefty inheritance to cover my educational needs, I had to say no.

That was six weeks ago.  It hadn’t really started to bug me until now.  Scrolling through Facebook, I see the announcements of various acquaintances getting excited about going back to school and their various graduate school acceptances, and I feel a sickening sense of envy.  I could be stocking up on school supplies, scoping out hot professors online and preparing “I’m so tired of studying” tweets but instead, I’m staring down a fall surprising similar to every other fall I’ve faced for the last five years.  I think the thing that’s really getting under my skin is that if this business school acceptance had come to me when I was 22 or 23, I would have said yes in a heartbeat – financial responsibility and loan burden be damned.

I’m proud that I’m being more financially responsible but it worries me that I’m losing that aspect of my personality where I was willing to take big risks.  I’m not as naive as I used to be and I worry that perhaps with the little wisdom I’ve attained in my post-college years, I’ve lost my sense of risk and adventure.  Maybe I should have jumped into this opportunity and worried about the money later.  Or maybe I made the right choice in keeping my nose to the grindstone to work as much as possible and pay down my current school debt.

Or maybe I’m just obsessing because I feel rudderless during a time of year when someone else used to hand me a schedule for the next eight months and tell me exactly what to expect.

Friday Frivolity

By this time next week, I’ll be recuperating from a huge Thanksgiving meal and enjoying a much-deserved break from work.  Yes, having worked five days straight means I need a break!  It’s hard transitioning from couch-living blogger to worker bee!

Since I’m so worn out from actual “working” and “productivity” in addition to getting acclimated to the big city, I’m going to take it easy for this post and simply point you to a blog that I enjoy.

100 Reasons NOT To Go To Graduate School

My thoughts on graduate school have been discussed before but I enjoy this blog’s tongue-in-cheek look at all the reasons why a sane person would never, ever get involved with such a crazy endeavor.  Although one graduate student I know read the blog and commented that those were some of the reasons they chose graduate school, so there’s that.

My favorite reason?  You have to deal with the condescending question of “you’re still in school?  at your age?”  That has to be almost as bad as “so, what do you do?

Current graduate students, what do you think of this list?  Hilarious or depressing?  What would you add?

Friday Frivolity

Hello friends!  I have returned to the beautiful Blue Ridge from the Big Apple safely but I have so much news.  Be sure to check back in next week for details on my new big girl job, my thoughts on moving after 7 years in one place, my advice on filing for unemployment, and more!

Of course, because today’s Friday, we’re going to keep it simple.  A dear friend who blogs about being a PhD candidate over at Literary Ambitions posted a great video a few weeks ago and I wanted to share it with you.  I think it reaffirms why most of us will never pursue a PhD in our humanities-field-of-choice and provides a cathartic laugh for those who actually are!

So You Want To Get A PhD in Humanities

For the literary nerds, “Harold Bloom is a misogynistic, narcissist” is pretty hilarious as far as nerd jokes go.

What If College Came With A Diploma And A Job?

One of the  most common complaints heard amongst young postcollegiate’s is the expense of student loans/debt in direct relation to how worthless the value of their diploma is in the job market.  I’m the first to admit that the “I racked up several thousand dollars in student loan debt and all I got was this lousy American Culture degree [at a college that doesn’t exist any more” joke works every time.

But what if you were guaranteed a job with your diploma?  What if your college had enough faith in the quality of the education, the value of the diploma, and the career support services and guidance that they would promise to give you a job if you couldn’t find one?  Sound ridiculous?  Perhaps like the utopian plot of a never-published novel from some literature major toiling away in their parent’s basement?

That’s exactly what Albion College, a small liberal arts college in Michigan, is doing, starting with the class of 2014.  They are pledging that they will help every graduate find meaningful employment by the end of the summer after graduation.  If the graduate can’t find meaningful employment, Albion is willing to offer free classes, free career training programs, paid internships, and even on-campus jobs.  What’s even better is students have up to two years after graduate to invoke the pledge.

I think this is an incredible step for a liberal arts college, who find themselves increasingly unable to attract bright,  motivated students for fear that you must have a career-orientented diploma to secure a job in an uncertain market.  I also think it’s a brave move for any institution to make such a committment to their students, parents, and alumnae.  The world has made me an increasingly cynical person in many ways but hearing about this school’s dedication to keeping a promise is enough to put me in a sunny mood for the rest of the week.

What do you think?  Would this pledge be enough to convince you to attend Albion?  For those of you less than 2 years out, would you take advantage of such a program if your alma mater offered it?