School

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School

Postby schiaparelli » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:48 pm

i thought it'd be nice if we the care-taggers in high school/college/graduate school (or whatever terms are applicable in your geographic area) could talk about how that's all going—

grades, majors, dreams, disillusionment, success, disappointment, competition in your school culture, competition in your heart, what you want to do in life, what you're trying to do in life, where you're headed and how fast you're going. hitting the books & hitting stack overflow. pushing yourself through the last 23 pages of assigned reading at 2am.

the impetus for this: i made the determination to quit nearly all fashion forums i was previously involved with to focus on school. vaeltaja and i made a pact before i did so to both push ourselves to get really good grades this semester (how's that going for you, dude? it's a bit mixed on my side of the bargain), just to prove to ourselves (and maybe others) that we can. i know a lot of care-taggers that are full-time students right now are deeply invested in what they're studying, or at least deeply concerned, or at least deeply preoccupied.

i'm curious what everyone is studying and how you feel about it, and maybe we can trade tips and tricks on how to work on stuff we don't want to do, how to find life direction, &c, &c. how are you educating yourself today? how are you educating yourself tomorrow? how do you feel about it?

agh i'm no good at opening topics but talk to me anyway

xxx

as per ben's story i think it would also be nice for graduated care-taggers/care-taggers on an educational break/care-taggers with a nontraditional educational route to chime in with stories too. whatever happened to you! education is the work of a lifetime and there are many ways to do it
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: how are you educating yourse

Postby can- » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:54 pm

I struggled thru college, it took five years and I can't say I got my money's worth. getting out and into the workforce saved my life, finding work that came quickly to me and matched my skill set was extremely rewarding and did heaps for my confidence and happiness. (contrary to college, where the bulk of my work was something I'd always been told I was good at (writing) and I'd always find myself in front of an empty word document, trying to work out what was wrong with me)

higher education is not for everyone, at least not for all 18-19 year olds. this might not be the energy you were looking for skap, but for people who are struggling with their courses, I would strongly encourage them to think about taking time off from school. I found telling myself to do better next time never worked very well
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby Vaeltaja » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:03 pm

Major: CS
How's that going for me: horribly

Funnily enough I currently have an A in English and next semester there's a 95% chance that I'll declare myself as an English minor.

I'm actually really upset about my grades CS-wise. I tend to know the subject matter, I just do horribly on exams. Example: completely and utterly failed the first exam (and probably the second exam), but got a number of A's on the lab assignments. It's rather silly. At this point I'm resigned to trying to keep a cumulative 2.0 throughout my CS classes and mostly taking non-exam classes (i.e. English) to pad my GPA. At any rate I actually really do like (creative writing) English; even if I suck at poetry.

Reflectively, I think there are a few issues with my grades that I'm trying to pinpoint. Last semester was a complete wreck and I was mentally very messed up at the time. It's mostly finished snowballing, but I can still feel the effects this semester.
I'm bad at exams. Imagine what happens in a class where most of your grade is exam based. Ouch.
My environment isn't so great. I'm used to the big city (grew up in LA). Currently in what can effectively be called a village in Ohio without reliable transport. Sure, I can take a school shuttle, but then I'm stuck there for hours wandering Wal-Mart/JCrew/whatever and usually without enough time to watch a movie. I wish I had a car. Actually, I really wish I was in a big university. There's no real place for me to unwind sans gaming guild since I don't like getting drunk and going to parties.

I (irresponsibly) spend money on clothing because it makes me feel good and to be fair, at least I use everything I buy. I just feel like online shopping is my only real catharsis in the tiny town of Ohio.

Oh well, I really hope my GPA is above a 2.0 at the moment :p

Also this week went by really fast (Thanksgiving break). I want more vacation. That's the other thing my school is known for: very few vacation days.

In other news, I'm the VP for my college's "gaming guild;" a club where we just sit around and play board games/card games/social games/video games (sometimes) all Saturday night. I'll probably run for president next semester.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby rjbman » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:10 pm

Is it possible you have test anxiety? One of my friends does, and she takes her tests in a classroom alone rather than in the big lecture halls.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby Vaeltaja » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:16 pm

rjbman wrote:Is it possible you have test anxiety? One of my friends does, and she takes her tests in a classroom alone rather than in the big lecture halls.


There's a chance I do, though it's not like I feel worried that other people are around me. In fact, I think I like it when I'm around other people taking an exam. I'll probably talk to someone because finals are coming up.
Semi-relatedly, I sometimes wonder if I have ADD. Shouldn't matter too much though, whether I do or not.

There seems to be a trend that I forget things when I'm taking an exam and awhile after I'm done I realize exactly what I did wrong. Sometimes it's on really easy stuff too, not just conceptual matters.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby SteevMike » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:33 pm

i did pretty good in school at the expense of most other things and i often wonder if it was worth it

my undergrad was like...sorta CS but not really. i got good grades. i would use studying as a way to distract myself from other problems e.g., I got in a real big fight with my ex the night before my probability exam and then got 100% kinda thing.

i don't think my thesis topic is super interesting but i think the way i'm approaching it is interesting and that will likely be enough to keep me going

i also won't be surprised if i am the least employable cs major of all time
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby ohnodeadchickens » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:52 pm

Pretty happy with where I am with my education, all things considered.

After graduating high school I went to a UC as a biomed engineering major because my parents told me to. Issues with depression and drug use kinda came to a head and I ended up failing nearly all my classes for two quarters and dropped out.

Took some time off and eventually went back to community college. Now I think I'm in a pretty good place though. Doing a major I enjoy that I think I'm good in, my community college GPA is pretty good (3.9ish), and planning on transferring by next fall. Hoping the schools I'm applying to actually look at my application and don't just look at my relatively low overall GPA and reject me based on that.

It feels kind of weird that all of my friends are finishing undergrad now while I probably still have at least two years of it left.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby smiles » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:59 pm

overall i would say my university experience has been overwhelmingly positive and that coming to hong kong was a the right thing for me. my first semester was frankly a disaster. i was far away from home with no safety net, and all of my anxiety and anti-social (in the colloquial sense) tendencies flourished and led me to wallow in the mire of self-loathing, smoking, and reckless behaviour. i thought everything was in control (which was dumb of me) but when i got a C on a paper (and was very upset about) i realised that 1) uni is short and 2) it's astonishingly, seductively easy to not care about academics. I realised if i wanted to do well, i had to do it for myself and not because i felt like a had to (which is cliche). what saved me in uni (i think) is finding a subject i really cared about and wanted to succeed in. in the winter break before my second semester i met my now gf, who has been a positive influence on both my academic life and personal growth. being with a person who is smarter and more caring than me motivates me to pursue rigorous self-improvement.

the past three semesters for me have been really great. i've done work that i'm proud of, and my GPA has been steadily improving (deans list yay). more importantly, i feel comfortable in my own skin. I still have trouble buckling down and structuring my academic life so its not too rushed but i'm definitely making progress and i guess that's all that really matters.

dunno
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby schiaparelli » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:48 am

i suppose now is the time to share my own educational experience! so—i'm studying CS and design. the process of getting into that was a bit convoluted for me; my school has an interdisciplinary program for that, but it requires being accepted to the two individual programs (my university does separate admissions for the arts college/humanities college/science college/&c). i only got accepted to the CS side, so i spent approx. 2 years bothering a hell of a lot of admissions people and professors and academic advisors so i could get into design classes and eventually wrangle my way into applying to do an internal transfer into the interdisciplinary program. along the way i developed a hell of a lot of unhappiness with studying just CS, a ton of anxiety about programming, and a lot of insecurity about my design chops.

so i guess this semester—although i'd really like to and have talked about wanting to get significantly better grades than before—this semester is really about just trying to get comfortable with design work, and feel confident about it; reacquaint myself with programming, and enjoy it again; really, to find ways to get excited about what i'm studying and be a capable student again (seriously wonder whether before this i was a halfway capable student in the first place) my motivation & attention span is kind of shot right now. i'm exhausted after half an hour of focusing on something, and i tend to put off assignments for far too long. it's better than it was in the spring, though, so i'm not too worried. incremental improvement~

what i really want is to be able to throw myself deeply and fully into my education. i like the idea of being absolutely proud of all the work i do, and feeling like with each assignment i learned something and made something cool and acquitted myself well. i hate the feeling of having to do something because you have to/it'll look good on your résumé, and i'd like to try to escape the game of overachiever one-upmanship. who can sleep less and do more, &c. tiredness is not a virtue. i feel lucky that i get to study exactly what i'm interested in and through a lot of negotiating with advisors i also have relatively immense freedom in the classes i have to take…so i really want to take advantage of that. smiles, i really relate to the idea of trying to do well for you and not for the expectations and conventions of others/society.

vaeltaja. also, i feel like it could be nice to do the english thing more formally for you. doing something that you really enjoy & are good at probably helps in getting more motivation/clarity/confidence in other academic areas of your life. anyways, i sincerely hope you get through finals with undue anxiety and stress and whatnot. this is a tough time of year

steevmike, it's super interesting to hear about you escaping into academics, because i feel that's much rarer than the reverse. by "thesis" do you mean grad thesis at this point? is it still in a CS-y area?

ohnodeadchickens, agh, that sounds tough. but it sounds like you're in a good place now. it's…it's nice to have that feeling of certainty and contentment that comes from having a major you like. it's hard to spend the majority of your time and energy on something that isn't exciting and interesting. good luck with applications~!
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby Catfush » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:50 pm

I love school. Any time I'm learning about something I feel as if I'm on this wonderful high. I'm currently attending a local community college and I'm hoping to transfer next fall, though I'm not counting on it. I recently had this epiphany that I wanted to do more with my life than teach political science (My goal after my first year at CC) and I decided that I wanted to shoot for medical school. I have meet all of the transfer requirements, I have a great GPA, and I'm in the honors program at my school. However, since I recently decided on a new major (Biology), I don't have a lot of the lower division major work done and that makes me a bit of a weaker applicant. I'm not too worried though, just living day-by-day and trying to maximize happiness while keep stress and doubt on the low.

I've always been good at school. I just have an ability to do well without even trying hard. This has made me pretty lazy and caused a lot of unnecessary headache when deadlines come around. In my entire academic career, I don't think I have ever finished an assignment early. Also, I almost never read the textbooks (don't even buy math textbooks) and study solely off my notes. Every paper I've written has been completed the night before or the day of the deadline. Because I receive A's on all of these papers, it's kind of reinforced my shitty way of working. I'm probably going to run into problems with this in the future and I should really make changes now.

This innate ability to do well also makes me feel bad when others around my try really hard but still get C's. For example, this lady in one of my lab groups tapes every lecture, takes notes during class, then goes home and transcribes the lecture recording. Our group gets together constantly and goes over the information multiple times prior to taking a test. Then, it comes test time and I'm getting 105% on every exam while they get C's. I didn't even study for the last test in that class (Professor drops one) and I still got 100%. It just feels shitty because, if success was based on effort, they should be doing much better than I am.

Anyways, I love school and while I don't think getting a college degree is for everyone, I do think that everyone can gain a lot from learning about certain things (human development, personal growth, political science, sociology, etc.)
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby Prince of Scandinavia » Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:30 pm

I'm studying Technoanthropology which is a new education in Denmark that can only be studied in Aalborg (where I live) and Copenhagen. I wished I was accepted in at Copenhagen so I could live in copenhagen. There's a lot more stuff going on in copenhagen along with big clothing stores and big music artists perform there, unlike in Aalborg. I love it here though and just got my first ever appartment.

The study is at the moment incredibly boring, to be honest. I have three courses running at the same time; Cases in Applicable Technology (CAT) , Introduction to Anthropology (IANT) and P1 (Project 1). CAT is not even hard, we have different cases each second week where we study whatever the case is about, etc. last week it was about apps for our phone. We sit for an hour, 12 people and talk about whatever things we have studied about it, and if we meet the criteria then we pass the exam. I haven't read for any of them and have passed them all.

In Introduction to Anthropology we have to read around 60+ pages for each lecture, but everything I read, makes me just think "I already know this shit, why am I wasting my time reading this? Do I just need to know who wrote about what?" so I can't really take this seriously at the moment, and my 2nd semester will be nothing but Introduction to Anthropology.

For my project, my group and I (mostly the group because I'm a slacker and I don't find the subject fascinating) work with a bed sensor for people in nursing homes. We have to turn it in at the 19th december and we still have to interview the elderly (which will be on tuesday the 3rd of december), where I have to transcribe it all and write down my method. At the moment I really really hope for something good to turn up, or I might just quit after my 1st year and study something else.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby Catfush » Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:49 pm

onodeadchickens: I wasn't at university before and I'm curious to see how different the grading is. Most of the professors I've worked with are either department chairs, involved with the honors community, or both and they seem to grade the rest of the class pretty harshly. In all likelihood I'll have to step up my game once I transfer but that isn't a big deal.

Also, I feel like community college allows you to experience a completely different demographic than university does. Would you say there is a lot more diversity at CC when compared to university? I also really like that I've been able to get close to a lot of my professors, really makes the experience more enjoyable imo.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby ohnodeadchickens » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:01 pm

Yeah my experience in science and engineering classes at university is that getting B's and C's on tests is a lot more common for the majority of people. I don't actually know how most people do grades-wise though, but there is a significant amount of "C get degrees" people. I'm not a fan of that mentality though, and it tends to be the people that are only doing their major because it leads to a high-paying job.

For demographics I don't think the cc that I go to is representative of cc's in general because it's super transfer-oriented (like the highest rate of transfer in the state or something?). At least 95% of the people here just graduated high school and either couldn't get into their university or couldn't afford it. There are the veterans and the occasional mom but they exist in uni's as well. What's your experience with demographics at cc?

Yeah one of my favorite parts of cc is the small class sizes and that your professors actually get to know you. Especially in the honors classes at my school they're under 20 students so you really get to know each other. It's also a lot easier to meet people in small classes than in huge lecture classes in my experience. But I'm really looking forward to living on or near a campus again, that's something cc can't do.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby SisterRayVU » Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:27 am

Went to secondary state school for an interdisciplinary studies (see: liberal arts) degree. I was probably at the tail-end of the a generation that still though getting a degree was sufficient for transitioning into the workforce or whatever. I don't really hide the fact that I'm bitter about my undergrad experience but at the same time, I'm largely the reason that I didn't enjoy it. I enjoyed a handful of classes but upon reflection, I didn't really have direction. I had a job that I enjoyed and wanted to follow but school did nothing to further that. That said, I do enjoy school as a value, I just wish I could do UG with what I knew about myself at 20 instead of 18. I think it's a lot of pressure to have 16 and 17 year old children decide whether they want to stay near their home or move away, whether they want to devote themselves to one field or explore a bunch of options. I think it becomes sort of detrimental to expect kids from different backgrounds to approach those questions with the same set of knowledge. I can talk about how I think higher education is largely a scam or has been devalued to the point of irrelevance, but that's more of the 'it's your fault!' instead of the 'it's my fault!' attitude. Both are correct but I'd rather focus on my mistakes and correct them instead of ranting about a stacked system and shit.

Anyway, I'm a first year law student and finals begin one week from now. Everything is sort of scary since these tests will be the first school tests in my life that actually matter. In UG, if I fucked up, it was no big deal. There was always tomorrow. Now, if I fuck up, that's it -- I'm cooked. It's a lot of pressure because the grades from my first two semesters are disproportionately more important than anything that comes in the next two years, so I have to put a lot of stock in just nine grades. There's also the curve which makes it so that not everyone can do well. There are only a certain number of A+s, As, A-s, B+s, etc. to hand out. It also sort of feels good, though? Like, I feel hyped up like I'm getting ready for Game Seven and I find myself psyching myself up when I'm in front of the mirror before taking a shower. I've never really studied before classes and now that I'm doing that and actually getting a grasp of the material, I feel better and better. Most people are steadily getting more stressed out but I'm hitting my stride and I kind of like this feeling of minimal sleep and mental devotion.

I'm not super concerned with anything right now; like I feel confident that I can hit median or better which is the minimum I'd need to feel good going into next semester, but it's also time to start thinking about jobs and stuff. I was able to start sending off resumes and stuff yesterday for jobs this summer. I kind of want to apply for a few Senators' offices in DC to work on their committees doing legal research and writing because it's something I'm interested in and I've mainly worked on political stuff, but if I can get one of those jobs, it can maybe handicap me come fall when interviews happen for other jobs that you'd get for when you graduate. So I'm in this sort of weird thought spiral where, if I do well this year, I can do whatever job this summer and it won't matter since in the fall, all employers really care about is grades and that you didn't do nothing over the summer. So no doors would be closed to me. But if I just do alright or poorly, a lot jobs would already be precluded from me but even more may possible be gone if I was to do some type of political work because potential employers may believe I have no desire to work in the private sector. At the same time, it's sort of a hedge since maybe if I don't do well, I can at least go back to that kind of work. But even in that field, it's hard to find jobs. So now I have to contend with this idea of 'doing what I want to do' or trying to do something that might possibly mitigate the possibility of bad grades, and I sort of have to come to a conclusion absent the ultimate grades that I'm worrying about. But then I take a step back and it's such a #firstworldproblem because at the end of the day, I can still wait tables and I'll never go hungry.

As an aside, I have a little cousin who doesn't really like school. I think he's a sophomore in high school? Anyway, his mother put him into an auto-mechanics course that the school offers. I think those are great programs but I think resigning him to that at 13 when he was a freshman was awful. He likes it, and that's what matters, but he has no impetus to explore anything else. He's not dumb and I know he thinks about some stuff, so I wish he had the influence to care about reading or movies or history in more palpable way besides 'I don't want my mom to yell at me and it doesn't matter anyway since I'm not going to college'. It makes me confront a lot of my attitudes towards university. He's someone who probably shouldn't go right out of HS if at all. But he's also my family, I love him, and I know that he could be making a forever-decision that he just doesn't have the agency to make. At one point, he said he wanted to be an engineer. I don't know what kind but I told him that was cool and probably involves some math. And then he was like 'oh, fuck that', and I wanted to be like, 'Dawg, just fucking do it', but the attitude really comes from his mother who never really instilled this value of education or culture in him. His younger brother is more bookish but it's going to wind up largely similar, I think, where his abilities will be wasted because his mom won't push him or encourage him beyond simple platitudes and parental threats. I just feel like he never got a shot and now he thinks he's this dumb ass who sucks at school when I don't think that's the case; he was just never told to consider liking it when he was younger. But his mom is also one of those 'school sucks' people so that passed down to him and that's a shame and it makes me think about how I talk because even if I don't like school I do like the idea of school and learning and an institution of young and supple minds being molded and infused with different ideas and the cultivation of different personalities and this ancient ritual of pedagogy and how kids for hundreds of years have been sitting while a professor or a teacher talks and it's sort of cool to imagine yourself as just another link in this chain of history.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby seth83292 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:59 pm

I just got back a huge mol bio test that took 4 hours to take. Got a B+ (smiling)

It feels so good to study your ass off, know the material, and get a good grade in a class you really like. Few stupid mistakes away from an A, but there's no point in fretting about that now.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby Capt » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:57 pm

Unfortunately heck, you've gotta take the bad with the good when it comes to classes. Just gotta power through it so that you can take the classes you really do enjoy.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby slappa » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:38 am

I just applied for exchange semester in Milano, Paris and Amsterdam. Don't really feel like going but I fear I might regret it if I don't.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby thomaspaine » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:09 am

Republicans and Democrats have both allowed a trillion dollars of public money to flow freely between students and colleges with no real accountability for the results. And millions of well-intended parents and guidance counselors are still pushing the idea that a four-year degree is the only viable path to happiness. This in spite of the fact that the vast majority of available jobs no longer require a diploma — they require the willingness to learn a useful skill. And that kind of training does not demand the type of massive borrowing that has put college graduates a trillion dollars in the hole.

To be clear, I’m not anti-college; I’m anti-debt. If you can afford it, by all means go for it. But I reject the idea that a four-year school is the best path for the most people.


http://profoundlydisconnected.com/cnn-v ... questions/
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby thug » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:50 pm

moar HS stories
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby schiaparelli » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:13 am

i think it's really interesting to hear all these stories…especially since we have an international user base, so just the tiny details of how secondary/tertiary education is structured elsewhere are fun to read.

there are a lot of people in c-t it seems doing the community-college-to-four-year-college jump, and i wish you guys all the best :>

thomaspaine quoting an article that wrote:Republicans and Democrats have both allowed a trillion dollars of public money to flow freely between students and colleges with no real accountability for the results. And millions of well-intended parents and guidance counselors are still pushing the idea that a four-year degree is the only viable path to happiness. This in spite of the fact that the vast majority of available jobs no longer require a diploma — they require the willingness to learn a useful skill. And that kind of training does not demand the type of massive borrowing that has put college graduates a trillion dollars in the hole.

To be clear, I’m not anti-college; I’m anti-debt. If you can afford it, by all means go for it. But I reject the idea that a four-year school is the best path for the most people.


interesting that you brought this up given sisterrayvu also made a note about how he's part of the "tail-end of the a generation that still though getting a degree was sufficient for transitioning into the workforce or whatever". it's super hard for me to comment on the necessity of a typical four-year undergraduate degree because i grew up in an area where everyone's parents were college-educated and maybe with a master's/Ph.D and skipping out on college was a thing you Did Not Do.

anyways, i only have a bunch of disorganized thoughts on this:

  • i think about the difference between being trained classically as a computer scientist (algorithmic thinking, discrete math, experience with multiple language paradigms, getting an understanding of how things work down to the nitty-gritty systems level) and being trained to be a software engineer or software developer…there are tons of positions where you really just need to know how to program and don't need the immense theoretical CS background. i'm trying to relate this somewhat to the article t-paine brought up because it highlights a difference between learning the field and learning the trade. arguably there are lots of ways you can be an employable rails developer that don't involve getting a CS degree. they're actually slightly different skillsets imo, and i'm a huge fan of the theoretical CS background (need to say this so steevmike doesn't yell at me) but i find it kind of funny so many of my CS friends who suffered through discrete math with me are just gonna go write webapps, you know? some of them love having the extra knowledge and some are very meh about it
  • i think it's very hard to tell people "not everyone needs a four-year degree". for so long we've treated education as this way to rise up in social class. it feels a bit classist sometimes, y'know? "you don't need a four-year degree, you need a trade" when many of us have been taught to want the white-collar work and see trade stuff as beneath us.

on the topic of student debt/loans/whatever, my parents are the kind of "the greatest gift we can give our children is education". but i still worry about it and i have a spreadsheet somewhere listing various payment trajectories (how many years will it take on x salary, &c) for the $80,000 my education will cost them or me or us. part of my worry is that i went the private school route (albeit with nice aid) and my sister may go that route too, but there's the feeling she may get less aid/even if she goes to a state school it's mad expensive still
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby thomaspaine » Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:50 pm

For my own personal anecdote, I'm a web developer without a CS degree. I guess what I studied in school was ancillary to CS (math, econ, operations research) and I took some CS courses so I know the basics, but there are a lot of gaps. For example I didn't really understand what a binary tree was until about a month ago and since I predominantly work in higher level languages I couldn't really explain to you what a linked list is.

Coming out of school I had a lot of theoretical knowledge about how to solve stochastic equations and non-linear programs, and some of it was useful at the time because I was working in a machine learning lab, but these days I don't use any of that shit. What was far more important career wise was when I decided to take programming seriously as a craft/trade. Instead of thinking about programming as something I did in order to get things to run, I thought about it as something to work on perfecting, and that mentality has made a huge difference.

I'm a little conflicted on higher education with regard to software engineering because yeah, you really don't need anything more than a HS diploma to be a good developer because software development is really more of a trade/craft than people make it out to be. You're much more like a plumber than a scientist. If you're driven enough to become a good developer on your own then you'd probably be just as successful without school. On the other hand I'm speaking from a position of incredible privilege, where I'm highly overeducated and it's hard to disentangle how important the connections I made in school were, the brand name recognition of my degree, or the education itself. I don't think what I do is particularly difficult but a lot of people seem to be pretty bad at it so who knows. In general I think as long as you're not putting yourself into a mountain of debt, you should do it.

On the topic of student debt, 80k sounds like a lot but it really depends on what kind of job you're looking at upon graduation. A friend of mine just graduated from an MBA program worried about all his debt, and his first paycheck is large enough to cover almost a third of it. As a developer you could easily pay that off in under 5 years, especially when you're used to living at a sub-poverty student level of income.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby slappa » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:33 pm

It is difficult understanding how different the educational systems and situations are between Denmark, where I'm from, and the US where most of your stories comes from. On the basis of the importance of a degree when applying for a full-time position it's rarely enough with an undergraduate degree. Even the government has focused legislation to develop the country into a majorly-based knowledge society where a master's degree is necessary when entering the labor market.

This means that every student is provided with free education (master's degree level), which is supplemented by educational aid over 6 years amounting to $73.500 ($1000/month) - the master degree takes 5 years, but an extra year is provided if you choose to extend your study time or if you regret your first year of education and want to change your educational path. Of course it's made possible by living in a smaller country with the highest tax rate in the world, but it injects security into the life of a student not having to worry about debts. The costs of living is considerably higher and you typically need a part-time job with income to make ends meet, but the insecurity of student debts is almost non-existent.

Instead you have a lot of students switching educational paths after the 1st, 2nd or even 3rd year. There's a constant questioning to oneself "is this what I want to do?" and it's not uncommon to take 1-3 years of sabbatical before starting your undergraduate or in between undergrad and masters, which until 4-5 years ago was very much encouraged by the government. I don't know, at some points I find it hard to relate to the educational conditions in the US and I have an idea about the general level of ambition being higher in the US.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby sknss » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:51 am

can't believe it's 2013 and this hasn't still been invented

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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby teck » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:33 pm

wow great discussion so far. im really impressed at the level of reflection, especially considering many of you are still students. took me a long time to figure things out education wise, and im still figuring it out.

personal: went to a good public school, got out, had NO idea what i wanted to do. i had been groomed to become a doctor, but once it was clear in college i wasn't going to make it, i just started to float. so on the one hand, being the child of immigrants meant i had never considered different opportunities, and on the other hand the economy was starting to eat it and exclude young grads. the traditional routes were closing off.

i decided some time ago that it was just going to be me against the world, and i would just have to figure shit out. im not a genius but i can leverage a lot of mental torque on problems for short bursts, plus lifestyle wise i can be extremely hardy. i leveraged everything i thought i had as an advantage. For example, i look very young, and i used that to get internships even tho i was almost 30. i'd name drop. i'd alma mater drop. im good at talking.

there were days in about 2005 when i would be living at home, broke, jobless, and i'd think about burning my useless ass diploma. i still think it can be useless, but i think ultimately it became a small screwdriver with which i could use to wrench open tiny opportunities.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby HS_ » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:04 am

I go to an early college high school, the idea being you graduate with your diploma as well as an Associates of Science or Art. In years previous we had a partnership with the local community college, and we took their classes. But this year, my senior year, there is a new partnership with a state university so now math and science are university, not college level. Oh shit is it hard. I'm failing both university classes and there are no plain old high school classes for me to join. I've all ready been accepted as an undergraduate at another uni, but I'm just worried about graduating high school. The worst parts are that I had no choice, and I still get an associates from the CC. They just made it harder to get.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby silvaeri » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:00 pm

figured i'd chime in with my thoughts on my education experience or whatever as i'm bored with nothing to do at my student job right now.

so, i'm currently studying graphic design at the university of minnesota. i'm in my 4th year of college and my 3rd year of the graphic program. i sort of stumbled into this major as a result of having no clue what i wanted to do when i was applying for schools in my senior year of highschool. senior year i took an architecture course and a graphic/commercial design course, enjoyed them both and ended up applying to minnesota's archictecture program. got into minnesota and spent a year doing architecture and then realized while i enjoy it, it's not something i wanted to do for the rest of my life and job prospects didn't (and still don't) have a very good outlook. so i ended up transferring to the graphic design program (which wasn't hard as architecture and graphic are both within the "College of Design" at Minnesota, so it was basically just saying, "hey i want to change my major" etc).

getting into the graphic program i instantly felt more at home, and i've really enjoyed 90% of the classes i've taken. i definitely feel like i'm learning a lot here and i enjoy the focus of the curriculum on teaching how to think as a designer, rather than just teaching us technical skills (adobe, coding, etc).

however, i find myself really struggling to get good grades and make work that i'm proud of. i look around at my peers work and it feels a lot of time like their skill is way above mine and are making much better work than i am. i find it hard to focus on things intently for the long periods of time that is usually required of doing design work and i feel like bad student as result of that. because of this i'm finding it hard to put a portfolio together because i'm not happy with a lot of my work and i don't feel confident enough to put it out there for the world/potential employers to see.

now as i approach my last year of the program and graduating, i find myself questioning what i want to do, if i even want to go full into graphic design/ux/webdesign or if i'm even good enough as a designer to get a job in the field. i definitely think i've learned a strong form of problem solving as a result of my education this far, i'm just struggling to figure out how i should apply that problem solving skill into a job or a career.

i apologize if this reads really disjointed. it's just a sort of stream of consciousness of how i'm thinking/feeling about school/life lately. probably compounded by the fact that it's finals week.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby rudy » Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:40 pm

mannn fuck a cover letter. spendin way too much time and fretting over something that likely won't even be read.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby purkinje » Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:42 pm

Waiting on Northeastern University, who were said to be sending out decisions a few days ago but are apparently holding them until the 21st. I want to be a nurse, and if I get in I'll be in a five year program to get my RN. From there there's a bunch of directions one can go, and I hope to become a practitioner or anesthesiologist. If I don't get in I'll probably apply to Columbia, Yale, John Hopkins, and Vermont, and hope to get into at least one of them.

Super nervous right now because NU admissions are really random and there's about 40 kids from my school applying there for early action.
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby RycePooding » Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:46 pm

Northeastern is great! I have a couple friends there. UVM is the shit tho man, Burlington is one of my favorite towns. Just know, no matter where you end up, it's gonna be a great, challenging, important experience that you will love. Try not to stress out *too* much!
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Re: overdressed, undereducated: let's talk about school!

Postby pips » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:33 pm

silvaeri wrote:however, i find myself really struggling to get good grades and make work that i'm proud of. i look around at my peers work and it feels a lot of time like their skill is way above mine and are making much better work than i am. i find it hard to focus on things intently for the long periods of time that is usually required of doing design work and i feel like bad student as result of that. because of this i'm finding it hard to put a portfolio together because i'm not happy with a lot of my work and i don't feel confident enough to put it out there for the world/potential employers to see.

now as i approach my last year of the program and graduating, i find myself questioning what i want to do, if i even want to go full into graphic design/ux/webdesign or if i'm even good enough as a designer to get a job in the field. i definitely think i've learned a strong form of problem solving as a result of my education this far, i'm just struggling to figure out how i should apply that problem solving skill into a job or a career.


Hey, I've been out of art school for a while now and work in advertising as a multimedia designer. If there's anything that I learned from the few short years I've been working in the industry is that skill and technique can be learned but creative thinking and conceptualization has a higher value. As a designer your worth not just lies in how well you can draw/use photoshop/design websites or whatever but also in the ideas behind those projects. Execution is important, but what separates creative directors from the junior designer is that creative directors dont make the material itself most of the time but the concept and direction comes from them, which is what forms the heart and soul of every campaign. Think of a junior designer as the foot soldier and the CD as the general. Aim to be the general. Pretty work at the end of the day is just that: nice to look at but empty. The ones that stick to you are the ones that look great but backed by a solid and resonating idea and concept behind them.

I guess what I'm trying to say is the problem solving skill you developed is just as valuable as the core art techniques you learn in school. If you feel like you're lacking in that area, there's still time to do something about it. Dont be too hard on yourself; it will take time until you can create output you're proud of. You dont become a competent designer overnight.

In terms of career, dont be surprised once you get to the workforce and find that you dont know much after all. School is very very different than actual work and I can say that I probably learned more a few months into working than I did in half of my time in art school. If you're unsure which path to take, you might want to look into UI/UX for mobile app development because that's where the future is headed.
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