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I went to college/university so I can be a Janitor!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Fusion, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. Fusion

    Fusion
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    Average Idiot

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    Read an interesting article yesterday that presented some startling stats concerning what professions people end up doing despite acquiring a degree from college/university. According to this article: http://madmikesamerica.com/2010/10/over-5000-phds-work-as-janitors-in-u-s/ there are currently 5,000 janitors that have a PHD, it seems absurd considering you do not need a degree for this profession.

    Focus: How many of you have acquired a degree in a particular field and actually have worked in that particular field at some time?

    Alt-Focus: What is the most bullshit course/major you have ever came across whilst at college/university?
     
  2. lostalldoubt86

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    Focus: I have a degree in Creative Writing, and when I got out of school I started doing content writing for a web design company. I don't make enough to live on, which is why I still have my college part-time job and why I am back in school.

    Alt-Focus: I went to college with a guy who was getting a bachelors of fine art in Puppet Art. He now works in the North Shore neighborhood of Pittsburgh as a street performer.
     
  3. Angel_1756

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    Focus: I have a degree in chemistry, and I'm a regulatory chemist. I use the stuff I learned in school every single day, and still reference the textbooks that I bought for organic and physical chemistry when I'm putting together complex arguments.

    I also have a bullshit degree in cultural anthropology and a minor in ethics (heh). The ethics actually nailed my job for me in the interview. The anthropology degree has proved to be flat-fucking-useless.

    Alt-Focus: Art and/or Art History. Great, you've painted some stuff. You're not good enough to sell any of it at a profit, and you're not experienced enough to be a curator or an appraiser... so what the hell do you do? You make coffee at Starbucks. Every art student I knew in university now works in either retail or a job-with-a-nametag.
     
  4. rei

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    Alt-Focus: Women's Studies.
     
  5. katokoch

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    Focus: I got a degree in marketing and entrepreneurial management and I'm currently in business development (sales and marketing) for a fast growing small company. My sales skills didn't come from the university, but I use stuff I learned in the marketing major on a daily basis.

    Anti-focus:
    The last class I've got to take is an online History of Rock and Roll course to fulfill art and history requirements for my lib ed credits. Ain't that some bullshit.
     
  6. Binary

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    I worked in my field (IT) for a while before getting a degree. I ended up in a position where my boss wanted to promote me to a manager, but the VP demanded that all managers have a degree.

    So, I went back to school. I majored in IT with concentration in networking, got my CCNP as part of the program, and that gave me a HUGE base of knowledge that would otherwise have been hard for me to obtain by simply working in the field.

    Alt-focus: What I don't understand is people who dick around in school until they walk away with a degree they don't intend on using. It's not that the degree is useless - for instance, I don't think psychology is a useless profession, or a useless degree. But when you just take a bunch of psychology classes because you think they are "interesting" and then eventually leave school with a degree in it because those are the classes you have the most credits in, you're just pissing away money.

    A coworker of mine had her daughter go to NYU. She had no scholarships, so she was taking on giant student loans for a very expensive school. She screwed around for five and a half years, graduated with a sociology degree because she ended up with enough credits in that curriculum, and is MASSIVELY in debt for this useless degree that she doesn't want to pursue. It just doesn't make sense.
     
  7. sartirious

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    Focus: I graduated with a degree in Economics, and had completed most of the coursework for an Engineering degree as well. I'm currently using both skillsets in a merchandising analytics role. I wish I had taken more coding classes though; I could be making a killing with better SAS and SQL skillz.

    Alt-Focus:It's a toss-up between "Beethoven to the Beatles", and a "Pre-colonial African History" class. Otherwise, I'm going to have to vote for my entire German degree as 'useless'.
     
  8. Bourbondownthehouse

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    I have a BA in Criminal Justice, with a dual minor in Sociology and History from a big ten degree mill. Thankfully I was able to get real life job experience in school, obtaining certifications worth far more than my degree. In case you were wondering how much the academic study of criminal justice and day to day police work are related, the answer is none.

    I also was 2 classes away from a minor in something along the lines of "public health" (I took a health class per semester as a GPA booster). Those classes were the most beneficial to me, because I took every "drug" related class the school offers (even a very very basic seminar type thing on pharmacology). Those classes allowed me a more analytical view on drug abuse in America VS what is taught to police (all drugs are bad arraggghhhh).

    So did my degree help me get a job? Yes and no. I doubt anyone cares that I took a few Sociology courses and learned how evil white men are, but just having the paper put me ahead of the pack in a field where degrees aren't necessarily required (though in the past 10 years there has been a huge push to "professionalize" the industry).
     
  9. Rush-O-Matic

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    Focus: How many of you have acquired a degree in a particular field and actually have worked in that particular field at some time?

    I have a BS in Physics. I have never worked in the "Physics field" and generaly have forgotten all of Newton's laws or use them on a day-to-day work-related basis. My "Senior project" - the final credit course I had to take to get my degree, that's done one-on-one with a professor - was one I made up, with my professor's help, called "the advanced study of beta decay of short-lived radioactive isotopes." (Then I got a BS in Civil Engineering, and that's how I make my living.)

    Alt-Focus: What is the most bullshit course/major you have ever came across whilst at college/university?

    At most schools, you can just make up any major you want. Most colleges could care two shits about whether or not you get a degree in something outline in their course catalog, as long you do two things: a) pay them for four years or more to take classes; b) put them on your resume when you look for a job. They really only want you to do those two things so you will contribute to them as an alumnus later, but that's a risk they take while you're actually in college. If you have a happy college experience (e.g. letting you make up your own major), you are more likely to give back to them as an alum. Once you've been there for two years, and taking core courses without having to declare a major, and you've shown your willingness to pay them tuition, that's when they'll let you make up your own major. (Schools also LOVE for you to change majors after three years. This almost guarantees you can't graduate in four years, thus paying more tuition.)

    I had a friend at my first college that started out as a physics major. He ended up making up his own major, something like Philosophy of Astrophysics or something. He stayed there for almost six years, generally hanging around the physics department and the philosophy department. He was always taking the minimum number of hours. After he graduated in his made-up major, he stayed there to get his Masters in philosophy. After that, we went to Duke for his PhD. I have no idea in what field. He was teaching high school, last I heard a few years ago.
     
  10. Frank

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    I'm an actuary that majored in math, and while they have actuarial science programs, pretty much anyone with a technical degree that tests well is a good fit for the job. I don't use calculus* or really anything beyond interest theory and probability on the job, but knowing the numbers cold is pretty much required.

    *While I have never used it for actual work, I still have to know it for exams.
     
  11. xrayvision

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    Focus: I went to school for legal studies with a minor in criminal justice. I am currently an X-ray tech studying ultrasound and will be graduating in just under a year. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer for the longest time. I guess I had a glamorized idea of what it would be like. So I went off to law school and hated every single thing about it. From the crap I had to read to the people in class with me. It was all just shit. So I jumped ship really fast and found a more fun and rewarding career in radiology.

    Alt. Focus: I can't think of any one class I took, but I do think any major that doesn't help prepare you for what life is like or give you a job is bullshit. If you want to pursue a career as a lawyer/doctor/something of the like, yes you need to go to college. But I feel not enough emphasis is placed on the trades. People always need them and you can make a great career out of being a plumber or electrician, for instance. The stigma about having to go to college should be dropped. Its only putting people in debt and not helping them get a job. What can someone with a bachelors in psychology actually do if they don't keep going on to grad school?
     
  12. Trakiel

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    Call me Caitlyn. Got any cake?

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    It's not always a bad thing. I remember sitting at my dining room table one day trying to figure out how the fuck I was going to ever get my degree, because I started college with a computer science major, took two programming classes then decided that wasn't for me, switched to a double math/philosophy major and did that for a couple years before dropping the philosophy portion. So back to my dining room table, I had just withdrawn from an advanced math class because I didn't have enough motivation to do what it was giong to take to pass it, so it looked more and more unlikely that I was going to get a degree in math. So when I was at my table looking over all the classes I had taken I noticed all the economics classes I took as electives and it hit me that I really liked economics and should probably get a degree in it. From that point on it was a pretty straight path to graduation; because I really liked economics I had the motivation to do well in my classes, which was always the thing [lack of motivation] that had held me back.

    Although, in my case I didn't graduate with any student loan debt because I went to a state college and paid my way with my MGIB money.

    Focus: My degree is in Business Economics, which means that I'll be using my degree in pretty much any white collar job I may have.
     
  13. Binary

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    That's not entirely what I mean, though.

    Lots of people go to school and try a bunch of things to find out what they're interested in. That's not a bad thing if you can afford it. If you're going into debt at an expensive school, I think you're a dumbass, of course. If you are figuring out what you're interested in, go to an affordable state school or make sure you've got some scholarships or whatever. Hell, if you graduate with a useless degree but did it for a low cost, that's not so bad.

    You tried some things, found something you liked and would be useful, and got your degree, all at a reasonable cost to you.

    Wandering your way through 4-5 years of school, incurring debt the whole way, and ending up with a random degree that you know will turn out to be useless for you in the future seems ridiculous to me, though.
     
  14. Kampf Trinker

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    Focus: My major was marketing. The first job I worked was directly related to my major. The next two were tangentially related, and what I'm doing now has nothing whatsoever to correlate with marketing. I think this is fairly common in business majors for a lot a reasons, but one of the main reasons is that what you learn on the job is much more important than anything you learned during college.

    Alt Focus: I don't know if there is a major with less to provide for society than philosophy, yet so wrapped up in people who believe they are pursuing the most noble of human endeavors. The only silver lining is that it's a good precursor to law school. I was always interested in philosophy so I took a few classes in college. It starts out in the 'really smart and interesting, but not very useful category' and makes it way over to the 'extremely pedantic, stupid, and completely pointless' category. If this is your focus of study, be prepared for such enlightening topics as what really constitutes language, can animals convey language? Are there universal moral truths a good person must adhere too, or does one need to evaluate the circumstances of the situation? Maybe 5% of philosophers have something important to say, the rest are mental masturbation meets theoretical morality. Long story short, this major is bullshit.
     
  15. Kels

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    I have a B.S. in psychology, with a few equally "useless" minors.

    I went into financial management. I interned/worked my way up to working with a private portfolio management group throughout undergrad until graduation, when I realized there was no way I could force myself to do that my entire life.

    So I went to med school and exchanged everything for a whole brand new set of hassles, but ones I enjoy more.

    The work experience is the key component. Not only did it let me pay my way through school (I paid out of pocket and graduated with zero debt), it opened a up a ton of doors, ensured easy entry into almost any job in finance I wanted, and even paid off in a few other interesting ways. I think being able to spin myself as a career changer made getting into med school (and getting my scholarship for it) much easier.

    The point of all this rambling? Any major can be useful and open doors, I was able to position the psyc major as an advantage every time it was needed, but you better be able to spin it well and have enough to back it up.
     
  16. Pow

    Pow
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    I double majored in computer science and computer systems engineering. My current title is systems engineer, so you would think I use a lot of the knowledge, but I really don't. I realized about halfway through my CS degree that I really liked understanding programming, but hated working with it every day. Troubleshooting C pointers can suck my red-black tree balls. I also had to learn a ton of traditional engineering knowledge I don't ever use - material science, CAD, trusses and physical force type stuff. I haven't written a program since graduating.

    The things I learned I actually do use? The high school classes I took on Cisco, and the 20 credits of community college I took while in high school on Cisco courses as well. Guess what landed me my job at Cisco? The courses I had taken during high school. That's not to say I don't use some of the knowledge - when I get to do time-domain analysis of phone call recordings I get to re-live all the fun that was Signals and Systems. Sure, it only takes 20 seconds to learn what I'm doing now, but I get to pretend all those 3am study sessions mean something. I do use some of the theory troubleshooting problems, but that's about it.
     
  17. Kubla Kahn

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    I got a degree in marketing and do work for a marketing research company, something I actually wanted to do with my degree. As far as totem poles go I might as well be a janitor. It pays to do those internships and co-ops kids.
     
  18. katokoch

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    Yep, I'd be fucked if it wasn't for the internships I had. I worked about six months doing marketing and sales for a couple (very different) startup companies and the experience was invaluable for job skills and my resume. If anything, the best thing about going to a business school with a decent name was the opportunties and connections I was presented through it.
     
  19. Frank

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    This can't be stressed enough, an internship can EASILY be the difference between working in the field you wanted to get into and making 20k less a year doing something you hate. Then if you don't find a way out of the hole fast the problem can compound itself with all of your work experience being in a field not related to what you wanted in the first place and all of a sudden you're too old for anyone to want to hire you entry level for the career you wanted to pursue.

    So if you ignore this advice and find yourself in a let's say a call center out of school, figure out where you want to end up and claw your way out FAST, even if it means taking a massive pay cut in the beginning.
     
  20. Pussy Galore

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    FOCUS: I hold a BS in biology with a minor in applied statistics. Everything I do now is connected to my degree - I teach math and am attached to two research projects as a data analyst. With the way funding has panned out, I'll end up earning my master's for free and get paid for my research to boot. Since I plan to go into public health, I should be golden as long as I don't fudge up my SAS certifications.

    Science: it works, bitches.

    ALT FOCUS: I'm an asshole that struggles to see the merit in most degrees outside of math and sciences. English, early childhood education, political science, sculpture - what benefits do those degrees provide that couldn't be found elsewhere? Does an improvement in communication skills or mastery of light and dark space justify 4+ years in university? I hope stocking shelves is as fulfilling as 4 years of writing lesson plans about colors and shapes was.