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astro
03-19-2002, 11:44 AM
How sorry should we feel for this person? I can't work up a lot of sympathy for someone crying about lack of appropriate jobs with Yale English degree. It seems (to me) that some serious shoe leather and networking would normally yield pretty good job opportunities for a Yale grad. Maybe not highly paid initally, but it should be an excellent entre into HR, journalism, editorial or technical writing jobs all over the US. It's so damned unfair... I mean she rode horses and played tennis after all!

Or do English degrees from "name" schools not mean much anymore?


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/opinion/0302/0319unemployed.html): 3/19/02

Even a Yale pedigree could leave one unemployed

By SHAWNA GALE

I worked hard in junior high. I worked harder in high school.

I took home more straight A report cards than any kid in my class. I scored just shy of 1400 on my SATs. I rode horses. I played tennis and basketball. I taught English as a second language.

I had no social life until I was 17. But I got into Yale. Then I worked harder than I ever had.

I was sure the payoff would be a multitude of attractive, not to mention lucrative, job offers upon graduation. Then the bottom dropped out of the economy.

So far, my Yale degree has secured me an e-mail forwarding address and a lifetime of alumni dues notices. Not exactly what I expected.

etc etc

mack
03-19-2002, 12:31 PM
Maybe she'd do better if she stopped talking about Yale so much.

Especially in Atlanta.

LiquidLobotomy
03-19-2002, 12:33 PM
Tone of the times unfortunately. That English major could easily get a job at a research firm, I know a few in fact, but somehow methinks that it is the ego that is fueling the unemployment and not the job market.

Violet
03-19-2002, 02:16 PM
The person should teach while working on an advanced degree. Doesn't seem to be a goal-oriented person. FWIW

Vinnie Virginslayer
03-19-2002, 02:53 PM
*sniff*

"I went to Yale, so it is BENEATH ME to work retail, or wait on tables??"

F- you, you C!!!!

I will tell you this . . show me a 22/23 year old female college graduate, and many of those times I will show you a little snotty twit, some little priss that just assumes now that she graduated from college, the entire world should bow down to her and roll out the red carpet so she can have some "meaningful" high paying job.

She looks down on hard working, blue-collar workers, thinking she is better than they are because she has an education. You know, those scruffy guys making 20 dollars an hour (and trust me, that is how many college girls think, I have heard it with my own ears) T

Then, after sending out let's say 10 resumes, they break down in tears because no one thinks she is worth anything, or worse yet, realize it will be YEARS before she can make what that "guy who is cute, but I'd never marry a construction worker" is making!

BOO-HOO!!!!!!!

Sorry, HONEY, but you've got to pay your dues first, prove yourself in the marketplace, THEN yeah, that Yale degree might start to impress me. See, in ten years, when you are measured up against someone WITHOUT a degree, THEN you might have an edge. But not now, so stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Let's see, let’s stake a look at all the jobs Virginslayer had when he graduated with a college degree, WITH a 3.4 GPA MAY I ADD before I got to there I was today:

-CAR SALESMAN
-SUBSTITUTE TEACHER
-ASSISTANT TO A GUY WHO WENT TO MALLS IN A TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE COSTUME
-DINNER THEATER STAGE ACTOR
-CAR SALESMAN AGAIN
-MAGAZINE ADVERTISING SALESMAN
-REAL ESTATE SALESMAN
-FURNITURE SALESMAN
-CAR SALESMAN AGAIN
-FRAMING CARPENTER
-LUMBER SALESMAN AT HOME IMPROVEMENT CENTER
-MANAGER AT A RIVAL HOME IMPROVEMENT CENTER
-MANUFACTURERS REP
-REGIONAL SALES MANAGER FOR THAT COMPANY
-BUSINESS OWNER

Did a lot of these jobs SUCK? Yes! Did I SUCK at a lot of these jobs? Well, the three stints as a plaidcoat should tell you, yeah, I pretty much sucked at some of these companies.

But guess what: I WAS HAPPY TO BE WORKING THOSE JOBS. I learned a lot, it toughened me up, and if some bunch of suits just handed me a cushy $50,000 job right out of college, I certainly am not sure that I would be the person I am today.

So, Sweetie, my suggestion for you is one of two things: PAY YOUR DUES . . or . .
.
.
.
.
.
.
SPREAD YOUR LEGS for some rich Yale graduate: WHO HAS MADE A NAME FOR HIMSELF IN HIS CAREER!

Look, maybe I am being a BIT harsh. This woman SHOULD be congratulated on earning a degree from Yale. But it is the combination of workplace ACCOMPLISHEMENTS AND THE DEGREE that will get you hired, not just a piece of paper alone.

CrankyAsAnOldMan
03-19-2002, 02:55 PM
I'm really impressed with her snooty attitude. I wouldn't hire her to clean a doghouse.

A Yale degree isn't everything. Or anything, if you are the kind of person that people don't want to work with. It also doesn't mean you're qualified for every job you apply for right now. You can have plenty of book smarts but still be clueless. Or have no people skills.

More importantly, what she is doing in five years or ten years has little to do with the job she lands now. Just because she hasn't earned an entree into a prestigious field right after graduation doesn't mean her college years were worth crap.

I did not go to an Ivy League school, admittedly, but it was good enough. A LOT of my classmates went off and did some funky things for a year or two (like take service jobs at ski resort towns) or things that paid awfully (like work in admissions, or intern at Sotheby's). They were lean years at first but all of them, 12 years later, are doing interesting, valuable, career-worthy, well-paying things that capitalize on their educations.

LiquidLobotomy
03-19-2002, 03:43 PM
Originally posted by Vinnie Virginslayer

-ASSISTANT TO A GUY WHO WENT TO MALLS IN A TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE COSTUME


Um, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you about this one.

#1 What did you do as the assistant?
#2 Why was did he go to malls in a TMNT costume?
#3 How old were you when you did this?

Max Torque
03-19-2002, 04:45 PM
She got into Yale, and she decided to major in English? Yeesh. Somehow I don't think the English from Yale is all that much better than the English coming from Florida Coastal Institute of Literature and Accupuncture, and apparently the job market agrees with me. She shoulda picked a better major or saved her money and gone elsewhere.

Ukulele Ike
03-19-2002, 04:58 PM
Originally posted by Max Torque
Somehow I don't think the English from Yale is all that much better than the English coming from Florida Coastal Institute of Literature and Accupuncture...She shoulda picked a better major


a) Well, then you'd be wrong.

b) What d'ya think she SHOULD have chosen? Electrical engineering?

Ukulele Ike
03-19-2002, 05:08 PM
PS: I think this chick is a snivelling little whiner, too. I'm just not fond of the reverse-elitism of smirking at institutions of higher learning. Or at Humanities majors.

-- Ukulele "Phi Beta Kappa, eh? Then you'll know which end of this MOP to hold" Ike

monstro
03-19-2002, 05:36 PM
astra, you wouldn't happen to be from Atlanta, would ya? I posted this same article in another message board. Not too suprisingly, I got the same responses.

Boo. Freaking. Hoo. The girl needs to either grow up or blow up.

Shawna, you obviously think you're entitled to something just cuz someone told you you are smart and special. Poor you. Well, welcome to the real world. Now to get to bustin' them suds, Yalie!

monstro
03-19-2002, 05:38 PM
Sorry, astro. Did mean to call you the wrong name!

KarlGrenze
03-19-2002, 05:39 PM
There is a part I don't understand what is she trying to say. She says with the English degree she now reads above a "Hooked on Phonics" level. I would think that to enter a university(specially Yale!!) and apply for an English major, one would already need to be reading above a "Hooked on Phonics" level. The level she reads now does not tell me what she learned in college. What exactly she got out of that degree? Either she learned nothing, or is mocking(belittling?) others.

Lsura
03-19-2002, 06:00 PM
Originally posted by mack
Maybe she'd do better if she stopped talking about Yale so much.

Especially in Atlanta.

Not that we Atlantans have anything against Yale. My brother went there. But he was a waiter after he graduated, and finally, after many interviews, he did get out of that job. But it took a while.

I went to a very small liberal arts college, highly selective, though not Ivy League. That didn't guarantee me anything, and it still doesn't. I'm applying to grad school now, because I want to change careers.

She needs to grow up and accept that job that doesn't pay $30k+ a year, because she's not going to get one right out of school with a degree in English.

masonite
03-19-2002, 06:16 PM
I dunno, I read the article before I saw this thread, and I have a fair bit of sympathy for her, even if she is a snot.

There is a very long-standing myth that a "broad, general education," which is what English majors tend to get, is worth having, and if the education comes from a prestigious school, so much the better.

I won't dispute that it's good to be broadly educated, but anyone can educate him/herself at the library. English majors pay colleges big bux to read for 4 years; reading can be done for free.

My degree, from a midwestern "Ivy," is just about worthless to me. I got my broad general education, and I'm better for it, but it would have been FAR better to major in a discipline that is in demand in the job world. It's one of my biggest regrets in life.

If I had it to do over again, I would EITHER major in something that has some bearing in the real world - like computers, engineering, etc. - or skip college altogether, read at the library, and save the money. And to those thinking "An English degree is valuable in the real world," note that some of the best journalists and writers are entirely self-educated.

Feh. College is overrated. That girl is lucky to find that out while she's still young.

Tars Tarkas
03-19-2002, 06:21 PM
ASSISTANT TO A GUY WHO WENT TO MALLS IN A TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE COSTUME

Dude!!!!! More info Pu-leeze!!


And that girl, what a snob! You want to know where you went wrong? Thinking the world owes you something cuz you went to Yale, please! The world don't owe you crap, and you better thank God for your job at Chile's, otherwise you'd be living in a box yelling "i went to Yale!!" as the police haul you away....

DoperChic
03-19-2002, 06:28 PM
Based on the article, the author definitely seems to have a holier-than-thou attitude.

If this attitude has carried over into other aspects of the girl's life, and it most likely has, then it is highly possible that the poor attitude is what's keeping her from being hired, not the Yale degree.

I mean who really wants to work with some snotty @#$% who will forever belittle everyone around her?

Just my 2 cents...

Boyo Jim
03-19-2002, 06:45 PM
Somebody must be joking. I'm pretty sure this is the original series treatment for Cheers!

Shawna is Diane Chambers, a few weeks before stumbling across Sam and the gang.

igloorex
03-19-2002, 08:04 PM
Can't say I feel too sorry for her.

1. She really does sound like a snob.

2. She CHOSE to major in English. I majored in English at a pretty darn good school (UVa). When I chose that particular major I understood that it was going to limit my future career prospects. Why should she have expected something different?

I do, however, disagree with both masonite and Max Torque about the value of getting a degree in English in general and from an elite institution in particular. Sure, you can read the same texts (and even read the same literary criticism of that text) at your local library, but you don't get the chance to discuss those texts with leaders in the study of literature nor with a peer group that is as excited and energized by those texts as you are. The "academic village" (corny as it sounds, that's what they called it at UVa) is to me the single most important part of studying the humanties at an istitution -- and that is almost certain to be magnified at an elite university.

Max Torque
03-19-2002, 08:33 PM
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
a) Well, then you'd be wrong.

b) What d'ya think she SHOULD have chosen? Electrical engineering?

a) So prove it. Just how much more do you get out of King Lear at Yale than at Ohio State? I'm not saying, as igloorex seems to think, that you get the same education checking the books out of a library that you get in a classroom; I'm saying that, among the higher education classrooms, I can't imagine there's a whole lot of difference.

b) Let's see, she's applying to marketing firms, publishing companies, and advertising agencies, so I'm guessing those are places she'd want to work. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that she should have majored/minored/taken classes in communications, marketing, and journalism. Practical experience, like a journalism internship or even writing a column for the freakin' newspaper (which I did as an undergrad) would be easier to sell to a prospective employer than just an English degree. Before she even started college, she should have thought about what she ultimately wanted to do for a living and then taken classes that would get her closer to that goal.

For the record, my undergraduate degree is in philosophy, with an English minor. I'm not smirking at humanities majors, because I was one of them. But she should have had a clearer idea of where she was going before she stepped into the Halls of Learning.

And I'll sneer at the ivy league all I want, because they started sneering at us "commoners" first. No one is better than me because their dad (and they, as a "legacy") went to an ivy league school. A hearty "fuck you" to all who bear that attitude.

Muffin
03-19-2002, 08:55 PM
An English grad should have no difficulties in finding entry level positions, and a grad who produced as a student should have no trouble entering graduate or professional programs.

The OP's grad has some growing up to do.

igloorex
03-19-2002, 09:05 PM
Perhaps I shouldn't have lumped them together, but I disagree with both of these viewpoints.

Masonite stated I won't dispute that it's good to be broadly educated, but anyone can educate him/herself at the library. English majors pay colleges big bux to read for 4 years; reading can be done for free.

Max Torque stated I don't think the English from Yale is all that much better than the English coming from Florida Coastal Institute of Literature and Accupuncture and And I'll sneer at the ivy league all I want, because they started sneering at us "commoners" first. No one is better than me because their dad (and they, as a "legacy") went to an ivy league school.

Sure, there are brilliant folks who don't go an elite school (or ANY school for that matter) and there a few idiots who get into Yale by having the right parents / private school / etc., but I think the overall level of intellectual discourse is going to be much higher at Yale than virtually anywhere else. For that matter, at Yale (which turned me down) than at UVa (which I attended).

Perhaps it's hard to make my case (which is a hijack in any event) in a thread written by such an obnoxious whiny brat.

Shagnasty
03-19-2002, 09:40 PM
She got into Yale with "just shy of a 1400" SAT. That is quite unacceptably low for such a school. She should thank God that she even got in and got to spend time on a beautiful college campus for 4 years.

I went to an Ivy League school (Dartmouth. BTW, the Ivy League is just a sports league with no scholarships) and I wonder who's ass she even kissed to get in. Let's smack the girl on the ass and sign her up for welfare ASAP. Motivation still counts for a lot in this capitalistic country.

schplebordnik
03-20-2002, 12:17 AM
<I>I was sure the payoff would be a multitude of attractive, not to mention lucrative, job offers upon graduation. Then the bottom dropped out of the economy.</I>

And exactly how much research did you do to come to this conclusion?

English majors have always had a hard time getting jobs. And getting lucrative jobs right out of college -- that's hard even for electrical engineers (who at least learn an actual profession).

Got a lot of Ivy League friends. About 1/2 are really sharp and motivated. The other 1/2 are like this gal, reasonably bright, but zero common sense.

kiz
03-20-2002, 01:43 AM
Originally posted by Max Torque
Before she even started college, she should have thought about what she ultimately wanted to do for a living and then taken classes that would get her closer to that goal...
but she should have had a clearer idea of where she was going before she stepped into the Halls of Learning.

One question: How many 17-18-year olds do you know who know exactly what profession to pursue after graduation?

Forgive me if I sound indignant -- I'm not trying to be -- but, unless someone that age has amazing foresight, not to mention maturity to research what profession s/he aspires to and applies him/herself accordingly once in college, s/he is going to graduate into the real world with a similar outlook -- hopefully, though, not as whiny.

I was a humanities major too (literature and drama), and, except for teaching English in an urban middle school for a few years, my education has never coincided with how I make a living (I also have a M.Ed). I've waited tables, typed endless forms, sold sheets, towels, lingerie, and shoes in a major department store...I could go on and on.

I had NO idea what profession to pursue when I entered college. When I graduated, I still didn't have much of an idea, but I did know that being a humanities person wasn't going to rake in big bucks. When the reality hit, I was as shell-shocked as Shawna, not to mention indignant, probably a bit whiny, etc. The difference was that I didn't let my pride dictate as how I should earn a living.

In a way, I feel sorry for her. I hope she learns a harsh lesson from all this. It'd be interesting to see if the newspaper prints any responses...

China Guy
03-20-2002, 02:14 AM
This woman may have a high IQ but I wouldn't call her smart. She's got a great pedigree that will open doors in industry, corporations and finance, and network around the world. All she's doing is bitching about how she should already have her piece of the pie. Dang, she's got advantages that most college grads would kill for, and she's just pissing and moaning about what's owed to her instead of doing some aggressive marketing herself.

That said, I think that the Ivy league system, and especially the Ivy League MBA programs tend to instill this superior attitude into their graduates. Certainly more so than say the University of California.

Cliffy
03-20-2002, 10:31 AM
Originally posted by masonite
I dunno, I read the article before I saw this thread, and I have a fair bit of sympathy for her, even if she is a snot.

There is a very long-standing myth that a "broad, general education," which is what English majors tend to get, is worth having, and if the education comes from a prestigious school, so much the better.


It is a grave mistake our society has been in the process of making over the last couple decades to require qualifications from the newly-graduated. It leads to tunnel-vision, interdisciplinary conflict, lower productivity because no one can catch his colleague's mistakes, and a lessening of the quality of our discourse because no one can speak to a person outside their field about anything more interesting than the weather. As a philosophy major from an excellent school, I could have done any job you asked with a few months of training, even if it demanded vast technical knowledge, because I had been schooled in analytic processes and learning techniques.

But I wasn't nearly this snooty when I had to get a job working retail after I graduated.

--Cliffy

CrankyAsAnOldMan
03-20-2002, 11:34 AM
Originally posted by masonite


There is a very long-standing myth that a "broad, general education," which is what English majors tend to get, is worth having,

I absolutely disagree, and research doesn't back you up.

Liberal arts graduates may not get the best jobs after graduation, but down the road they do better (in the corporate) than their peers who chose a more vocationally-oriented major. At & T did a study like this in the 1980s and I know there's been a major study since with a similar finding.

And for Max Torque, Yale doesn't offer a major in marketing or journalism or communications. I imagine this is due to its beliefs about the values of liberal vs. vocational education, attitudes which it has clearly failed to pass on or explain to our friend Shawna.

rackensack
03-20-2002, 12:23 PM
<cue Kirsty MacColl's cover of The Smith's "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby">

At the end of her op-ed piece in the AJC, after complaining that she can't get the kind of job she thinks she merits, Shawna Gale asks "Will someone please tell me where I went wrong?"

I got into Yale. Then I worked harder than I ever had.

I was sure the payoff would be a multitude of attractive, not to mention lucrative, job offers upon graduation. Then the bottom dropped out of the economy.

So far, my Yale degree has secured me an e-mail forwarding address and a lifetime of alumni dues notices. Not exactly what I expected.

Well, I'd say her first mistake is confusing getting a degree with getting an education, and the second, even bigger, mistake is thinking that employers hire degrees. Yet another was failing to understand that the boom economy, which is the only kind kids her age have ever known, was going to end at some time, and that it's not the natural order of things for entry-level positions for English majors to pay $45K-$50K/year and up.

Everything in her article indicates that she's trying to market her degree to employers, instead of marketing the benefits of the education that her degree represents. She alludes to the skills that she's acquired in the course of her degree-acquisition process, but only in passing and in terms that suggest she doesn't really value them herself. She wants a job in marketing or advertising, but doesn't understand enough about either to package what she has to sell in a way that's attractive to such employers. I wouldn't hire her either, and I've made a career out of hiring people with non-technical, humanities-oriented degrees into technical professions and watching them thrive.

It's awfully hard not to regard Ms. Gale as just another spoiled brat who wants her piece of pie RIGHT NOW. I too have a degree in English, from a moderately well-regarded private liberal arts college. Our SAT scores were comparable (my math score kept my overall number down). I graduated from college with honors, a 3.6 GPA, and with one National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship already under my belt. I was accepted directly from college into Ph.D. programs in English lit at Yale, Virginia, and Emory, among others. When I decided to bail out of grad school (in 1987), my first job was as a part-time proofreader at an ad agency, for about $7.50/hr. When I convinced them to hire me full time, it was at a salary of $14.5K/yr. Within 18 months, I'd increased that to $21K, and had been given significant additional responsibilities, including quite a bit of copywriting for the projects that the staff copywriters considered beneath them. I ended up in print production, then in the technology business, each position building on those before it, so that in my last position, fifteen years after quitting grad school, I was making over six times what I did starting out. It sounds like anything under six figures is chump change to Ms. Gale, but I'm proud of what I've accomplished, and I consider my education (though not necessarily my degree) an essential part of what's allowed me to do it.

auntie em
03-20-2002, 12:50 PM
Originally posted by rackensack
Well, I'd say her first mistake is confusing getting a degree with getting an education . . .

Amen to that! Not to mention confusing scoring 1400 on the SAT as being "smart".

I took the SAT in middle school, and got an award at a nearby college for scoring well on it.

Did I have ANY CLUE WHAT THE HELL I WAS DOING?

Nope.

Did I even read the questions?

Nope. I was mad at my mother because she made me take the dumb test, and so was just filling in circles until I could get outta there and go back home to my Atari. :rolleyes:

I DID do well enough on the SAT in High School (when I was actually TRYING), but I am here to tell you that while I may be considered "smart" (whatever that means), I will bet you money that my oldest sister, who is mentally retarded, would make a better "Survivor" than I EVER would!

Honey, she'd be walking with that cash, do you hear me?

So if you ask me, this gal IS attributing arbitrary qualifications to employability (and what is she complaining about--at least she's PUBLISHED, which I ain't).

And as for the SAT, well, my theory on that is something akin to the "1,000 chimps with 1,000 typewriters" theory. ;)

And as for finding a job...? I'm an English major, and am about 30 pages away from an M.A. in Lit...

...and I am working in Finance, at a non-profit (but I'm not complaining... it's my first "grown-up" job, which I didn't get until I was 29!).

auntie em
03-20-2002, 12:53 PM
Oh, and by the way, when I was hired for the job I have now, my boss told me that, although there had been other applicants with experience that matched the position better, he chose me because I seemed like less of a "tight-ass" than the other applicants. :D

doreen
03-20-2002, 11:09 PM
Originally posted by kiz


One question: How many 17-18-year olds do you know who know exactly what profession to pursue after graduation?

Forgive me if I sound indignant -- I'm not trying to be -- but, unless someone that age has amazing foresight, not to mention maturity to research what profession s/he aspires to and applies him/herself accordingly once in college, s/he is going to graduate into the real world with a similar outlook -- hopefully, though, not as whiny.




I'm sure most 17-18 year olds don't know exactly what profession they want to pursue, but at some point prior to graduation, they ought to have some idea of what they want to do, and of the job prospects for a particular major.I ended up doing something very different from what I expected, but I knew that a bachelor's in psychology would only qualify me to a) go to graduate school or b) get the sort of job that requires a degree, any degree. I didn't expect to get a well-paying job,doing exactly what I wanted immediately, so I didn't get indignant or whiny when it didn't happen.My friends, who wanted to be in "business" although they didn't know what type or position,worked on BBA's and had every reason to expect the relatively well-paying jobs they got in finance and marketing

Muffin
03-20-2002, 11:52 PM
So after spending a few years reading many books about people facing hardship, often written by struggling authors, at an English department noted for its work in feminist literature in which stories are told of how women in particular face tough challenges, the OP has now graduated but entirely failed to relate what she has learned in the last few years to her own life.

andygirl
03-21-2002, 12:16 AM
Originally posted by Shagnasty
She got into Yale with "just shy of a 1400" SAT. That is quite unacceptably low for such a school.

I went to an Ivy League school (Dartmouth.)

I would disagree with that statement- at the moment, Dartmouth's average SAT score is 1415, Brown's is 1380, Columbia's is 1394, Cornell's is 1360, Princeton is 1490, UPenn is 1385, and I couldn't find Harvard or Yale. But I wouldn't say that close to 1400 is an unusually low score for an Ivy, and she took the SAT before the recentering, which means it would be higher now anyway.

You went to Dartmouth? Woo! Tell me, is the granite of New Hampshire still in your muscles and your brains? (In case you are at all interested in this sort of thing, Renegade Librarian and I were/are also students. I'm starting up spring quarter come Monday.)

Muffin
03-21-2002, 12:57 AM
What is 1400 in percentile terms?

istara
03-21-2002, 01:41 AM
I read English at a leading UK university. I was well aware it wasn't highly unlikely to give me direct entry into any job except academia. Even teaching English would require another year's study for a PGCE certificate.

One option was a "milkround job" - where leading management consultancy and accountancy firms woo final-year students into fairly well-paid jobs with them. You still end up studying damn hard for another 1-2 years to get a proper business grounding and training, and there are exams (chartered accountancy for some I think).

However I wanted to be a journalist, so during my degree I did every bit of work experience I could - all unpaid, often at some personal expense eg if I had to stay in another city during a vacation to do work experience at a TV station - and worked for student newspapers, radio, etc. Then I did a postgraduate journalism course, during AND after which I did more unpaid work experience, as well as paid office temping to keep afloat.

A month or so after finishing the postgrad I was lucky enough to get "a proper paid job" in my chosen career. I found out later it was some work experience I'd done at another TV station in the same city as that job that sparked my employer's interest, and got me the interview.

I didn't then - and I don't now - see why any employer in journalism or any other field should take me on just because of my degree. You need to get experience in - AND DEMONSTRATE INTEREST IN - the career field you want to pursue.

Spoons
03-21-2002, 07:15 AM
Originally posted by istara
You need to get experience in - AND DEMONSTRATE INTEREST IN - the career field you want to pursue.

Agreed, but I'd like to add that while this is true enough nowadays, it wasn't always so. There was a time when simply graduating with a liberal arts degree opened doors to many careers.

My own parents were of this mindset; they were not very happy when I suggested that some kind of career experience during school might be beneficial when looking for work after graduation. They felt that working would take my concentration away from schoolwork, and since I'd have a degree from a well-regarded Canadian school, employers would be lining up to hire me. After all, it worked for people of my parents' generation.

Well, it didn't work that way for me, and like our friend Shawna, I found myself with a (once-prestigious) degree but without a job. However, unlike Shawna, I reasoned that I had to do something and ended up being a janitor before landing a low-paying entry-level job in a field where I could grow (technical writing).

I've been able to parlay that first opportunity into a comfortable living, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't been willing to start at the bottom. And willing to go back to it from time to time too; with the ups and downs of the economy over the last 20 years, I've had to take some jobs that had absolutely nothing to do with having a degree. But they kept me going.

My advice to Shawna, since she has no career experience at graduation, would be to take what she can get. Better to start at the bottom of a career she can grow into, but having any job at this stage is better than whining about not having one in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Deal with it, Shawna, and accept the reality of the situation. Nobody wants to pay you big bucks just because you have a piece of paper from Yale. They will hire you if you can prove that you're worth something, but that will take time. It's a hard lesson to learn, but if you learned enough from Yale to earn a degree, you can learn this too. I did.

Boyo Jim
03-21-2002, 07:52 AM
I'm curious about the Constitution's reasons for publishing it.

Some editor some, "Okay, we'll publish you.", smirking inside anticipating the response of the readership.

Was this an example of:
1. tough love (shocking her into a more realistic state)?
2. "get off my back" (just got tired of the phone calls)?
3. Another too-little-news day?

She can parley THIS into a (brief) career. Go on Oprah to discuss her angst. Write a shocking expose of Ivy League literature programs, or a psychobabble self-help book. Box Tonya Harding.

If she wants some quick money, she should try out for The Weakest Link. I would enjoy seeing her professionally scorned on national TV.

Don't fear Shawna. I've heard Fox is going to try again with Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire.

Boyo Jim
03-21-2002, 08:13 AM
Oh yeah, and I love this,"I worked harder in high school... I rode horses. I played tennis and basketball".

I thought those were supposed to be fun.

As I reread this, I feeling a bit more sympathy. I'm starting to wonder a lot more about her parents.

She may have been among many kids driven to overachieve by relentless, professionally successful parents who COULD NOT ABIDE a "failure". Perhaps she was promised these careers rewards by THEM. Or perhaps a parent had some failed dream they she was being pushed to fulfill by proxy.

So maybe she deserves some slack. Less heaping scorn, and more sympathetic clucking, as folks more grounded in the real world (and Yale, for all its vaunted educational prowess, is not the best place for this) show her the real ropes.

Fretful Porpentine
03-21-2002, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by yojimboguy
Oh yeah, and I love this,"I worked harder in high school... I rode horses. I played tennis and basketball".

I thought those were supposed to be fun.
For that matter, getting a degree in English is supposed to be fun. I don't blame employers for not wanting to hire her, because she sounds snotty and immature, but I do feel sorry for the girl. She seems to have missed the best part of what college has to offer -- curling up at the coffeehouse with a book of poetry, getting into friendly arguments with professors, enjoying the plays and films and speakers campuses attract. For all her coursework in English, she's also missed the vital lesson of Horace and Herrick and Shakespeare: savor the moment, youth's a stuff will not endure. Poor kid.

Spoons
03-21-2002, 09:31 AM
There are a couple of interesting letters-to-the-editor about Shawna's opinion in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Here's a link (http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/opinion/0302/0321letters.html).

missbunny
03-21-2002, 10:04 AM
The irony is that some newspaper or magazine will probably read her whining missive and hire her to write more drivel as “the voice of today’s youth in these uncertain times.” Well, maybe they can throw in a pacifier as an added bennie; she certainly hasn’t grown up enough to not need one.

OldBroad
03-21-2002, 10:27 AM
Loved the response letters in the Atlanta paper.

My question for this whiner - it applies to all the young dopers out there, too, is: why go to college? Do you go to prepare yourself to become a self-sustaining adult? If so, how about selecting a major that has at least some probability that it could provide some means of financial support? If you love the English language, there are ways to make yourself more marketable with an English degree. If you want a job in marketing, perhaps you should have considered a business degree. In a good economy, it might open a few doors.

If you're going to school strictly for the joy of learning more about what interests you most, you're probably not too concerned about the big bucks as long as you can indulge your passion. More power to you.

While most 18-year olds probably don't have a clue when they matriculate, anyone bright enough to get into Yale should be capable of thinking a year or two ahead by their sophomore year.

Too bad we can't teach street smarts or at least common sense.

Shagnasty
03-21-2002, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by andygirl


I would disagree with that statement- at the moment, Dartmouth's average SAT score is 1415, Brown's is 1380, Columbia's is 1394, Cornell's is 1360, Princeton is 1490, UPenn is 1385, and I couldn't find Harvard or Yale. But I wouldn't say that close to 1400 is an unusually low score for an Ivy, and she took the SAT before the recentering, which means it would be higher now anyway.

You went to Dartmouth? Woo! Tell me, is the granite of New Hampshire still in your muscles and your brains? (In case you are at all interested in this sort of thing, Renegade Librarian and I were/are also students. I'm starting up spring quarter come Monday.)

I was exaggerating a little when I called 1400 SAT low. Anyway, it wasn't a 1400, it was "just shy of a 1400". With Shawna, I am sure that is somewhere in the 1325 range. It is a very good score but I think it is hysterical that she just admitted t the whole world that got into Yale with a below average SAT score and still felt that she had the right to brag about it.

I love Dartmouth, it is the prettiest little country club in the world although you have to wonder about a school that is located in the same town as the Army's Arctic Condtions Research Lab.

Maeglin
03-21-2002, 12:32 PM
I, for my part, feel very sorry for her.

I suspect that people have been telling her for her entire life that her hard work, her sacrifices, and that her her superiority (imagined or otherwise) to her peers would somehow pay off in the long run. I bet that is what kept her warm on Friday nights when her friends were drinking, dating, hanging out, or doing whatever it is that high school kids do.

So she bought into the grand American myth of hard work and the reality just bit her in the ass. Sure, she is a little late on the learning curve, but whaddya expect, she went to Yale. :)

(Columbia '00 grad checking in, who scored respectably well over 1500 on the SAT. ;) Like nearly everyone else he knew there.)

The degree opens doors, to be sure, but it is only as useful as the person who earns it. I got my first job not because of the little Universitas Columbiae on my degree, but because I needed it. And I was willing to take whatever job I could that would pay my rent.

So don't speak so harshly of this girl. I suspect that she has just witnessed her entire worldview and all of her dreams go to shit. If she still isn't working in six months, well, she evidently did not learn very much from the books she claims to have read.

Motorgirl
03-21-2002, 01:02 PM
Originally posted by Max Torque


a) So prove it. Just how much more do you get out of King Lear at Yale than at Ohio State? I'm not saying, as igloorex seems to think, that you get the same education checking the books out of a library that you get in a classroom; I'm saying that, among the higher education classrooms, I can't imagine there's a whole lot of difference.


Speaking as someone who attended two schools before transferring to an Ivy, I will tell you that my experience was that there was a large difference between what I got out of a particular text at the Ivy and what I got out of the text at the other two schools. There at least three texts I can remember that I studied at the Ivy and at one of the other two schools.

The diffference was not in the text itself, but in the quality of the interactions between the professor and the students. The professors I studied with at the Ivy shared a wealth of information and insight with us that the other professors did not, and the other students in the class had more to contribute to the class than did the students at the other schools. They seemed to have a much firmer grounding in history and the classics, which are invaluable when studying western literature.
Not only did my fellow students have more valuable information and insight to contribute, they simply seemed to speak more than the students at the other schools.

The profs at the other schools may have been just as knowledgable in their fields, but perhaps they chose to not put out the effort for a class who sat silent, seemingly waiting to be spoonfed information.

Add to that the fact that we read a lot more and wrote a lot more at the Ivy than we did at the other schools, for classes of a comparable level, and the Ivy simply offered more to me and EXPECTED more of me than the other two schools did.

Will my brand name diploma get me a job? No, or at least not on its own. Under certain circumstances it might get me an interview, but I still have to prove I'm worth something to a prospective employer. Something Shana may have trouble doing with that chip on her shoulder.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

P.S. My sister went to Yale, and I once sat in on her first-year survey lit course. It was very advanced for first-years. I always assumed, based on that example, that Yale expects even more of their lit students than my Ivy did.

rundogrun
03-21-2002, 06:05 PM
FWIW...ad guy and Ivy League insider checkin' in.

Yale truly does have a rockin' English program, with incredible teachers and an amazing library.

There are many English majors who go into advertising, a business that revolves around a "message". Words and meaning are very important. Lots of Psych majors too.

Finally, good luck finding an entry level job ANYWHERE in advertising today. I don't care how smart you are, or where you went to school...there are no entry jobs anywhere. And even if you did find one of the few, you'd still need to work at Chili's to support your advertising career. Lord knows I did when I first started.

Welcome to life's lesson for today...it only gets harder after you graduate.

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