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I gotz me an Edumacation.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Nettdata, Oct 24, 2009.

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  1. miss_c

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    Post-secondary education in Australia works a little different then in America. After you finish high school, you can go to university to complete a degree in your chosen career field (e.g. if you wanted to be a lawyer, you can enrol in a Bachelor of Laws straight from high school - 5 years later you're ready to pass our version of the bar exam - no law school or extra education)

    I went to university straight out of high school, as to be a teacher in Australia you need at least a bachelor of education. We also have the benefit of the government paying our university fees and then we pay them back as extra tax each pay period (I pay an extra $200 tax a month that pays off my uni fees). My 2 degrees (Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts) also "only" cost me $25,000.

    I only went to uni because I had to for the job I wanted. I wasted 5 years, sitting around not trying very hard, drinking coffee and getting drunk on Thursday and Friday afternoons.

    I see a lot of the kids I teach though wanting to go to university for the sake of going to university, in order to study things like IT and Real Estate. I have said to many of them that they're wasting their time, that they would be better off getting a job in the industry, getting real life experience, and studying at TAFE (technical college in Australia - the highest qualification you can get at TAFE is a diploma)

    Would I go back to uni - in a heart beat, only this time to actually get something of value out of my education, rather then two useless pieces of paper.
     
  2. zyron

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    Holy shit, you are like me in reverse. I started as a math major and was in my schools honors program(UConn). Now this was a huge mistake for me to be in the honors program, I am not that kind of smart. My first semester was Honors Chemistry, Honors English(counted as 2 classes), Calculus, some History class and a few Labs. My second semester was kind of the same with physics. By the time I reached 3rd dimensional calculus and dropped the honors program I was fried.

    So I switched to taking general business courses and then graduated with an Economics degree.
     
  3. D26

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    I have a BA in psychology. Going on for a masters is an absolute must in psychology (and, more likely, a doctorate). Otherwise, you essentially have a degree to say you have a college degree. People put Psych degrees on par with sociology, philosophy, communications, and general studies... that is to say "yeah, you went to college for 4 years, good for you." With that degree, I spent 4 years as a social worker at a high school, and I realized I was a complete moron for not doing what I wanted to do in the first place, which was teach. I hated the social work aspect, but I loved being in front of a classroom and working with the kids.

    I'd gone to school originally thinking I wanted to be a social studies teacher, but I let my parents talk me out of it because "you'll never find a job." They tried to talk me into teaching math (which I am really, really good at, but also really, really hate), and that was a no-go, so I just went into psychology. I figured it was a compromise: not teaching, so I could get a job (in theory), and something I still enjoyed. They pushed me hard to go to graduate school, but quite frankly, after graduating, I had absolutely no desire to continue with any kind of school.

    Now, 4 years after graduating, 8 years after originally starting college, I am going back for another 2 years to get certified to teach high school level psychology, sociology, history, and economics (possibly government, if I can fit the classes in). If I could go back, I'd have just gone the social studies teaching route to begin with and not let my parents convince me otherwise.
     
  4. StarLit

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    People complain about the cost of education, but I don't know that it is really that bad as long you work hard and make the most of it. To put in perspective, I graduated from a good private school owing $60000 in private loans at about 5-7% interest. This worked out to $600/mo for me. I was able to pay off $40000 of the highest interest loans in 3 yrs while living a decent lifestyle in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

    From my experience, the ones who bitch and moan would have been fucked
    no matter what they did. Even now, the people who worked hard in school and were smart about the degree they chose all tend to have jobs. It's the people who used college as an excuse to spend every night in a drunken stupor who are the ones finding that they can't afford their loans.

    And for those of you who have an idea of what I do for a living, my first
    3 yrs out of school were spent in a training program where I was definitely not making banker money.
     
  5. Nothingdoing

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    Unlike what seems to be many of you, I don't have a degree. When I left school 5 years ago I went to University to study Psychology and Chemistry, however I soon realised I really didn't want to waste so much money and time studying something I had no interest in. This meant I decided to leave half-way through my second year.

    After leaving I took a job as a Banquet Attendant for a hotel back in my home town and just worked my arse off. In some ways I got lucky because 8 months later, I was asked to do some work in the Purchasing Department and 6 months after that I was given the department head position. I'm now in London about to start work for as Assistant Purchasing Manager for a very very large hotel and am studying part time towards a Diploma in Purchasing.

    I think that decision worked out nicely.
     
  6. aro

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    I have a double degree - Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics) and Bachelor of Science (Physics). Towards the end of school moving into something engineering related just seemed like the right match for my attitude, grades and career prospects. I don't remember putting much thought into it, I just kind of went down the path that seemed right. I don't regret my decision but I do wish I had actually applied myself at university. I was a passenger in my education, which was a complete waste for something that cost me so much money ($30000) and time (5.5 years).

    Despite my lackluster efforts I now have a job in Engineering. My job deals with basically nothing that I learned at university, except for the fact that as an Engineer I am able to solve problems. Since then I have completed a Postgraduate Diploma in my field. This time round I tried, and it really made a difference. I'm finding that the strategic business side of the company is starting to really interest me so I'll be starting an MBA pretty soon.

    My suggestion for anyone who is currently studying is to actually get involved in it. It really is worth more than just the ride.
     
  7. MoreCowbell

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    Heh. $30,000 is a lot to you people for school. That sounds so quaint to American ears.

    That would cover tuition (and only tuition) for one year at a good American university.

    You really don't want to know. It's absurd.

    While the financial situation for students is better in the UK and Canada, American higher education appears to be in the midst of an unsustainable bubble. Also, remember that our universities are much less subsidized than many other countries, so they need to charge a higher tuition.

    While there can be a fair amount of variation and I haven't done a ton of research, these are probably reasonable benchmarks (Aetius, feel free to correct me if any of these seem off to you, as you're probably fairly familiar with the going rates these days):

    If you're talking Ivy League or loosely comparable schools, the total bill (tuition, fees, room & board, etc.) will be near $50K, give or take a few thousand in either direction.

    Decent private universities (not of Ivy-League caliber from an academic standpoint, but not diploma mills either) are going to run you somewhere between $35K and $45K.

    As the UNH grad said (we probably have a few mutual friends Pete), a good state school (flagship schools, places like the Cal system, etc. Not Northwest Iowa State or whatever) at out-of-state rates will cost you somewhere in the $30K-37ishK range. Probably about $20-5K at in-state rates.

    Decrease from there according to quality.



    While there is often substantial aid, you have to remember there is a sort of inverse relationship between aid and tuition costs. While it's not quite this simple, the aid has to come from somewhere. Thus, the students who can pay to some degree subsidize those who cannot.

    If your aid package isn't very generous, it's very easy to see how one could accumulate six-figure student debt. That doesn't necessarily mean that education isn't a worthwhile investment from a long-term view, but it certainly can be mind-boggling when looked from a short-term mindset.
     
  8. Timo

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    I have an MD. I'm $140,000 in debt. I borrowed $30,000 a year in med school, and then had to buy a car so I tacked on an additional $20,000.

    I'm really glad I did it. To be honest with you, alot of those shitty TV shows portray doctors as overworked and stressed out, but its not like that, at least not for me. I work 50-60 hours/week as a resident, and once I'm out I'll have the choice to work more for overtime if I want. A downside is that it has taken a toll in my personal life making relationships somewhat hard to maintain because of the weird hours (staying up all night, sleeping during the day). Also, I'm $140,000 in debt in a really shitty economy.

    If I had it all to do over again, I guess I would do it again. I didn't want anything to do with health care when I entered college. I was a chemistry major that didn't want to teach, didn't want to switch to engineering, didn't want to be an industrial chemist. My dad and I sat down and I figured I had the smarts and the work ethic to go to med school, so I switched into a bunch of pre med classes and took the MCAT. 8 years later, I like my job. I like the people I work with. Plus, in a little over a year I can pretty much move wherever the hell I want to.
     
  9. Israel

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    What a timely thread. Where do I begin? In high school, I worked my ass off to get in to the Air Force Academy and made it. When I was deciding on a major, I figured if the economy ever went to pot, an engineering degree would always help me get a job. The workload fried me, and 3D calc kicked my ass, so I had to switch to Political Science. Then about a year after I graduated, I was cut from Active Duty. That threw a wrench in my plans. I had wanted to do 20 years and earn a military retirement.

    That PS degree hasn't done much for me now. I'm in the Air National Guard to pay off my commitment. I've been trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, and being a doctor appeals to me. So I'm deployed for the next year and a half to save money to ease the debt burden of med school and I'm prepping for the MCAT. This also keeps me employed.

    Unfortunately, I didn't take all the pre-reqs I needed, organic chemistry and microbiology and some of the ones I have, I've forgotten, so I'm trying to figure out how to get those done. It's completely crazy, but I will do it if I have to sell my soul to the Dark Lord himself (not really, but I'm stubborn and determined)

    If I had to do it over again, and if I knew what would happen in the future, I'd have done all the pre-med courses and been done with med school/residency by now. At this point, I'm just taking the first few steps in what will be a LONG journey.
     
  10. $100T2

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    I have two different forms of formal education. I was in the Navy for 4 1/2 years, and while I was there, I got an Associate's degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences. It was a good choice as far as military education goes: I spent my first two years of service in school. Luckily, I was in a pilot program where we were all required to take the ASCP exam for MLTs, and when I passed that, it guaranteed me a civilian job when I got out. A lot of military education programs don't translate well to civilian life, but the MLT(ASCP) credential was a nice way to walk in to a $50k a year job which is always in demand. I blew out my knee and ankles in the military, and got med-boarded out.

    I decided that being a lab tech was an ok job, but I wanted to do more with medicine. However, being in my mid-30s, married and with two small kids, I didn't have time for med school. Instead, I applied to PA school and started that in the fall of '08. It's supposed to be a 5 year program, but because of my AS, they are waiving a bunch of the bullshit classes and I will finish in four years with both a Bachelors and Masters Degree. The college I go to is pretty expensive ($15k per semester), but luckily for me, the VA is paying my entire tuition. I'm having to pick up student loans to help make up the loss of my income, but the $120k (plus probably $20k in books, fees, and various required stuff for classes) being paid is huge. Some of the kids in the program will come out close to $150k in debt, and I'll probably be right around $40k. The best part of being a PA is that you get to do a lot of the same stuff MDs do, but there's no residency. I can go straight from PA school to working in a private practice making very good money. The PAs I've known around here make anywhere from $120k to $180k per year, and in these parts with our low cost of living, that's like making $500k in a big city.

    I wish I could go back in time and NOT have fucked around as much as I did. I didn't join the Navy until I was 26, and it was mostly because I had wasted my early 20s being a fuckhead. I was definitely smart enough for medical school, but had zero work ethic. I should have been a doctor 12 years ago. Here I am, almost 37, taking college classes with a bunch of kids that are almost 20 years younger than me so we can all do the same thing. Luckily, I've "been there, done that" with a lot more stuff than most of them, so I can wade through the bullshit, and I'm married so I don't have to worry about trying to study, drink, and serial fornicate like them, but at the same time, it's tough trying to study when I have kids who want Daddy's attention, lawns to mow, trees to trim, rain gutters to repair, a basement playroom to build, etc. I could have just stayed an MLT, but that would have made me want to slam my fucking head into a wall on a daily basis, and with the new degree and job, my wife can stop working (she's an MT, a higher paid version of an MLT) and that will make everything worth it. I really think kids who come home to a parent being at the house have a better chance of success, and I look at it from the standpoint that if I lift myself up as high as I can, my kids can start off that much better when they go off to college or whatever. The other nice thing is that I am setting a good example for my kids: They see Daddy going to college, they see how important education is for me, and it's already started to rub off on them wanting to learn and do their work, even though they are only kindergarten and first graders.
     
  11. Nicole

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    I have a BA, and an MBA. The BA would've been tres $$ if I hadn't been in ROTC. The MBA was highly supplemented by grants and scholarships that I wasn't expecting but have California to thank for its support of veterans.

    Is formal education worth it, especially for those fields where it's not mandatory? Here's what I've learned, answering especially to those posters considering dropping out--it depends. We all learn differently. I've figured out I need both the hands-on and the formal classroom setting. At the very least, you should get from the formal education experience a sense of what it takes for you to learn effectively. Because, that's right, a formal education isn't a one-way process. You'll get out of it what you put into it, and if you're sitting in the back of a large auditorium rolling your eyes as someone in the distance drones in front of a Powerpoint presentation, well, you're right, that's bullshit that's not worth megabucks. You need to take the initiative to get what you want, and before doing so, you need to ensure your internal compass arm is swinging freely enough to know what it is you want. With megabuck tuitions generally come institutions with amazing resources, it just may take creativity and a little bit of passion to jump off the beaten path and tap into those resources.

    Sorry, feeling preachy this morning.

    What do I regret? I regret thinking it would be flaky to switch colleges after freshman year.
     
  12. Jubes2681

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    I have a BA in biology (yes, BA and not a BS) and I'm working on my Ph.D. in microbiology.

    Because I went to a small liberal arts college (~2000 students), they didn't offer any BS degrees in the sciences because they department wasn't large enough to offer them. As a result, I ended up taking a lot of fluff courses, for lack of another word, that felt like a waste of time. On the other hand, I only had to take 2 science lectures and labs a semester (instead of 3-4 for a BS), which was a pretty easy workload for a science major. I took a lot of classes that I hated or took no active role in since I wasn't interested in the subject matter - Philosophy of Nature being a big one that comes to mind - but I was also able to study abroad in Florence, Italy, for a semester because I was working on a BA. Friends of mine who went to other schools and got their BS in biology or chemistry are absolutely amazed I could take a semester off from science courses and still graduate on time. If I had to do it all over again, I would make the same choices for my major and school. I was able to get a science degree pretty easily and spent a semester with 25 classmates, including the majority of my best college friends, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

    I decided to go to graduate school in October of my senior year. I never planned on it, but the idea came to mind and I went with it. I had taken a microbiology class during my BA coursework and I had really liked the subject. That was the only determining factor in what types of programs I was going to apply to. I applied to UVM, UMass Amherst, UConn, and URI for their Ph.D. programs in microbiology. I was accepted by UConn and URI and wait-listed at UMass. I decided on URI since it was closer to my friends and family, and the area around the school was pretty nice. In retrospect, I should have considered UConn more seriously since they had a more diverse department, thus more choices in what kind of project I would end up working on. I regret going to URI only because the department is small and my choices were very limited as to who's lab I worked in. I had to change labs in my 3rd year since the project was going nowhere and I was allergic to the mice they worked with. The lab switch added 2 years of research time to my degree, thus making what would have been a 5-yr degree into a 7-yr degree.

    Since other folks have mentioned debt, I figured I would toss my info up as well. I'll be in debt for about $120,000 when I'm done this year. Not too terrible, since that includes 4 years of undergrad and 7 years of graduate stafford loans.
     
  13. Urbandead

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    I'm getting a PhD in clinical neuropsychology. It's pretty necessary to get at least a Master's degree to practice and a PhD (or PsyD) really is the only way you're considered a "psychologist." I'd recommend going for the PhD if possible because tuition is waived and you get a stipend (basically combines the benefits of being funded as a graduate student with the post-grad opportunities as a practitioner) although a PsyD isn't so bad if you're willing to pay the extra money and want to stay clear away from the ivory tower. Plus, it is considerably more difficult to get into an accredited PhD program than a PsyD program and you have to be at least tolerant of all the nasty stats and psychometrics that come with the job.

    One thing I can't fathom are those who are getting PhDs in research psychology degrees, which covers cognitive, neuroscience, developmental, experimental, etc. fields. Basically you need a PhD/PsyD in clinical, education, or counseling psychology to actually practice while a PhD in research psychology pretty much means you have to either work in academia or do some organizational stuff for schools or businesses. I don't mean to look down on people who go that route, but psychology is a soft science to begin with and it seems kinda crappy to be stuck working as a researcher in an area that has limited applicability. Then again, if you LOVE psychology but can't stand people, a research PhD may be the way to go (I don't really mean to knock it, there's a lab on campus that does some stuff with math cognition that I find fascinating).

    Neuropsychology is its own little breed where we care less about how you feel and more about how quickly you can put some blocks together. I love it and highly recommend it to anyone who likes assessment. Plus there's more money out there...I think starting salary is about $30-50k more than the average clinical psychologist. I pulled that range outta my ass though so I can't back it up or anything.
     
  14. the antihero

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    I'm an undergraduate at a top 25 ranked university. The reason I added the last part as because I was a self admitted prestige whore. Going to college to me was a matter of what top ranked university will accept me. It wasn't about making friends, it wasn't about having the time of my life, or even the education. It was about having a piece of paper I could floss out with. My shitty high school grades and my astronomical SAT scores were the bartering chips to get into this school. I am no longer like that, I've matured a great deal but at one point in my life I thought anyone that didn't go to a top 50 school was a degenerate.

    I'm not doing well academically because I was and still am to a certain degree a poor student. That is changing now because I am for the first time developing a work ethic. I'm becoming an effective learner. I am on the premed track. I want to become a doctor not because I am interested in healing people - don't get me wrong, that is something I would like to do but it is not my primary objective. My interest in becoming a doctor is because I like to figure things out. I've always had decent analytical skills and I feel that becoming an MD would be the best way for me to harness them.

    I am realizing that even these premed track courses aren't to prepare me for medical school as much as they are to ensure that I have the correct work ethic to handle the rigors of medical school.

    I find that as I become a better student I am appreciating my education more and more. Case in point: I started my molecular biology lab a week early instead of the night before. Finished it 3 days before it was due and got a 91. Highest grade in the class which was cool - but even cooler was the intellectual satisfaction I experienced from writing it.
     
  15. MoreCowbell

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    I'd make fun of antihero here, but really, he's just being more honest than most. As much as I'd like to e-flex about being above such things, I probably wasn't much different when I was looking schools. Both schools I've studied at are 'name' schools; I know it certainly wasn't a non-factor.

    Is this philosophy dumb for the individual? Probably. Is it sub-optimal on a society-wide level? Yes, almost certainly. Is it shared by a substantial (maybe even a majority) of people at schools like the one that he goes to (and my own)? Yes. The above puts into words what tens of thousands of high school seniors are thinking every year.
     
  16. Aetius

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    I'd look at my latest tuition bill but I don't feel like crying.

    In general what you see at a lot of American universities is a very high sticker price combined with a great deal of financial aid. In the end it has the effect of making wealthy students pay through the nose while subsidizing lower income students and handing out a fair number of free rides. Especially at elite universities that care much more about quality of student than ability to pay (who doesn't love rich alumni?), the mantra is "if you can get in, we'll help you find a way to pay."
     
  17. Nettdata

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    What about people that haven't gone to school?

    Any regrets? Do you feel it's hindered you at all, or do you think you're better off because you haven't?

    Do you catch any condescension from those that have a degree?
     
  18. Now Slappy

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    I went to school but didn't finish. Do I regret it? A little. It would be nice to have a degree, but I didn't want the debt to go with it. And to be honest I was sick of school. I wanted to get out in the world and work, learning things hands on.

    I catch condescension all the time, but I just blow it off. It's my life and I'll do with it as I please.
     
  19. Nettdata

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    I used to work in a company that did computer modelling and simulation for things like pulp and paper mills, etc.

    Needless to say, about 80% of the company (of 120) had their PhD, and most had the ego to go along with it.

    I suffered a lot of crap because I was easily half their age, and didn't have a Masters, never mind a PhD. Our HR person hated the bullshit, so she recommended to me that I add "MTSU" onto my business cards as one of my credentials. I said "sure", and she had them made up.

    I'd usually get asked, "What master's program/degree is that?"

    "Master of Time, Space, and the Universe. Time Lord would have been too precocious."

    The response was quite polarized; either they laughed and thought it was funny, or they got pissed that I'd make light of such a thing as a Master's credential on a business card.


    Fun times.
     
  20. Nothingdoing

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    I've only ever gotten condescension from one person, and that was a bartender with a BCom Degree. I think I'll let that speak for itself.

    Personally I've never found not having a degree to hinder me, I find that when people look at the results I've made, they usually ignore any lack of "higher" education.
     
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