Reasons Not to Go to Grad School?, Part III

And there is even more mind-numbing silliness from a blogger that a popular academic resource has found necessary to promote.

11. The huge patriarchal bugbear of not fulfilling your God-given role of making babies because of being pushed off your rightful path in life had to be brought out by this blogger at some point and, of course, it was:

More than a quarter of women in their early forties with graduate or professional degrees are childless.

Evidently, the idea that not all women might even be interested in childbirth does not visit the warped mind of this unintelligent creature. If a woman doesn’t have a baby, she must be intensely miserable. She probably spends her life crying hysterically into her pillow, jealous of all those friends who “passed her by” and have been happily pushing put one kid after another while getting enormous salaries at jobs with no competition, no stress, no need for self-discipline, and no fear of getting fired.

12. It will “complicate your marriage” because you will, apparently, feel envious of your spouse’s higher salary. My husband did not choose to work in academia and, instead, found a job in the corporate world. As a result, he now makes almost twice as much as I do. Shockingly, it has not “complicated” our marriage because we love each other and do not compete as to who makes more money. I can only reiterate what I said in the previous post about stupid, miserable gits who see people’s worth exclusively in terms of how much material goods they can accumulate.

13. Work is hard. Especially when you are in the wrong profession:

Grading is miserable. If Dante had been familiar with graduate school, he probably would have added a level of Hell to his Inferno. The condemned would sit for all eternity and read one mediocre essay after another, meticulously correct every mistake, agonize over every grade, and then throw each graded essay into a fire.

I know somebody who is in sales, which, for me, is the definition of hell. She, however, digs her job. Some people enjoy grading, some love selling, others are into treating patients, programming, cooking, etc. It is extremely stupid  to say, “I hate grading, which means that everybody else on this planet must hate it either.”

14. And the most bizarre reason I have found so far:

There are few tangible rewards. When you build a house, paint a painting, bake a cake, or clean a room, you can step back and see what you have accomplished. Whether you work alone or in a team, being able to contemplate the finished product of your labors is a satisfying experience, a reward for your work.

After reading this post, I started asking myself whether I had been making fun of a mentally challenged individual this entire time. Nobody with their intellectual capacities intact could come up with something like this. A philosopher, a poet, a teacher, a social worker, a counselor, a political activist are supposed to be less fulfilled than a person who has cleaned a room because their work does not always produce a physical object? So all intellectual professions are useless because you can’t touch the product of their labor? When my students who didn’t speak a word of Spanish before joining our department come to my office and tell me in a beautiful Spanish that they have been reading Lope de Vega for fun, this is less rewarding than baking a cake because you can eat a cake but can’t eat a student’s intellectual progress? Yes, let’s all dedicate our lives to cooking, cleaning, baking, and counting money instead.

15. After the previous “reason”, the very first post on the 100 Reasons blog sounds especially delightful:

The smart people are somewhere else.

Something tells me that this particular blogger would not be able to recognize a smart person if their life depended on it because he or she is definitely lacking in the brains department.

So if you are looking for a place with “smart people”, do not go to the 100 Reasons blog.

And to conclude this series of posts, I will give you the only real reason not to go to grad school (or not to get married, not to date, not to become a doctor, not to go into sales, not to have children, etc.). Don’t do all these things if you don’t want to do them. No other reason or justification is necessary.

9 thoughts on “Reasons Not to Go to Grad School?, Part III”

  1. For the sake of fairness, I feel I must point out that in this case you are entirely justified with the comment “after reading this post, I started asking myself whether I had been making fun of a mentally challenged individual this entire time.”

    I’m sure the guys who developed Google as grad students in Stanford feel thoroughly unrewarded, as do all other people who go to grad school driven by intellectual curiosity and feel so thoroughly unrewarded every time they find something new and publish a paper.

    Also the comment “The smart people are somewhere else.” speaks more of the third rate institution this person must be attending. I’ve ran across smart people in all walks of life and all lines of business, but certainly one of the richest sources has been every time I visited an elite R1 research institution.

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  2. Don’t do all these things if you don’t want to do them. No other reason or justification is necessary.

    Exactly. And I agree, selling is purest misery. I tried it the summer after I graduated from high school. I have never been in such despair before or since. I am inclined to believe that anyone who does not feel this way is completely out of touch with reality. But, apparently many people enjoy it.

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    1. I also would not be able to survive the kind of a job where you get 12 vacation and sick days per year (like my husband does.) I’d just wither and die within two years. Yet many people don’t seem to be all that traumatized by this kind of jobs.

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  3. Oh, the baby stuff makes me insane. I don’t care for children and the idea of being pregnant was repugnant to me, and I am happily childless at the age of (almost) 49. I’m so glad I was born in an age when women were no longer expected to follow a narrow track of marry-man-have-kids-die. I am glad I’m a spinster — a creature that makes men tremble, apparently, gauging by the frothing rants too many male bloggers get into when they contemplate my kind. I even have a cat!

    Not that I have an academic career — I can’t teach; a couple of substitute teaching gigs confirmed for me that I’d kill myself if I had to teach. I just don’t have the skill set or the temperament. Selling is something else I can’t do — that’s one reason I left Florida: after I got laid off I couldn’t find a job that wasn’t a sales position. Selling also takes a certain kind of temperament and inborn talent that I just don’t have. But I acknowledge that other people can do these things — I haven’t gone about ranting that “this job is stupid and boring and no one should do it” since I was thirteen years old.

    And the constant competition with these imaginary friends and their “real” fantastic lives… er, no. Buying a house is also not something everyone should do — that delusion is one of the reasons our economy is in the trash heap right now. I will never buy a house; I will always rent. If I need something fixed I can call the landlord. If I owned a house I’d have to fix it myself or find the money to have someone do it. I don’t care about “building up capital” and having piles of money. That means nothing to me.

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    1. “Oh, the baby stuff makes me insane. I don’t care for children and the idea of being pregnant was repugnant to me, and I am happily childless at the age of (almost) 49. I’m so glad I was born in an age when women were no longer expected to follow a narrow track of marry-man-have-kids-die.”

      – It’s also very entertaining to see how such “studies” always talk about “childless women” and never about childless men. Their authors are stuck in the 1950s and can’t imagine a reality where the entire meaning of a woman’s life is to make babies. Bleh, this makes me want to vomit.

      “And the constant competition with these imaginary friends and their “real” fantastic lives… er, no. Buying a house is also not something everyone should do — that delusion is one of the reasons our economy is in the trash heap right now. I will never buy a house; I will always rent. If I need something fixed I can call the landlord. If I owned a house I’d have to fix it myself or find the money to have someone do it. I don’t care about “building up capital” and having piles of money. That means nothing to me.”

      – I feel the same way.

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      1. “It’s also very entertaining to see how such “studies” always talk about “childless women” and never about childless men.”

        Exactly. I have yet to see any of those “men’s rights” sites talking about the sadness and emptiness of the lives of men who have never married and had kids. (They will go on and on about how evil wives who divorce husbands and restrict their visitation to their kids but those diatribes always sound like a man complaining about something he regards as his property — he has a “right” to see “his” kids, etc. Protip: maybe if you didn’t treat people like objects you own they wouldn’t leave you.)

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  4. So in short, if you are only interested in money, and not in your field of study, and if you think grad school is a way to “get ahead” in your career, then don’t go to grad school.
    I would agree with that. We professors could do with less grad students who feel this way too 🙂

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  5. I have really enjoyed reading these grad school posts. There are so many articles coming out completely bashing grad school and trying to convince people not to go. Initially, reading these articles, as a grad student, kind of freaked me out, but now (with your help) I have realized that their arguments for why one should not go to grad school aren’t very convincing. I think that when all is said and done I am going to be very happy with my decision to continue my studies because I love my field, and I think I will love being a professor….hopefully I will get where I want to be! 🙂

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    1. I’m glad you enjoy the posts! There is a concerted campaign to lower the prestige of academia that is promoted by very conservative forces. As a result, many academics start seeing their profession as useless and themselves as leeches who drain resources from society and provide nothing in return. As for me, I refuse to participate in this campaign of self-abasement. We do great work and create oases of learning and intellectual achievement. We have nothing to be ashamed of!

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