agIsh: The Facts of Life
"You take the good, you take the bad, you take them"...wait, I almost got sidetracked.
Here's an interesting article that actually discourages people from going to graduate school when times are tough.
Don't try to dodge the recession with grad school
I've always recognized how lucky I was to leave the work force just before the shit hit the fan. It was purely coincidental, though. I just happened to come upon an epiphany and went back to school. This place really is sheltered from the real world and the problems that seem to plague others do seem quite distant.
My family is a huge supporter of education. My parents have made huge sacrifices to afford my siblings and I this luxury. I'm eternally grateful for these opportunities, yet I'd agree with many of the points in this article in any economy. When it comes down to it, I want my master's degree only because I know my future employers want it. I don't care for all the papers I have to read, all the papers I have to write, or all the presentations I have to prepare.
I've spoken with my classmates at length on this topic. The "facts" we're learning are actually quite difficult to bring into the real world. Often times we're learning about a single gene or a single protein that has a certain outcome if damaged ("mutated" for all you science-heads). In context of the 25,000 genes or the 100,000 proteins in the human body, this is like studying a grain of sand to understand the beach.
What we're actually learning in school that really matters are skills: how to extract information from a scientific paper, how to succinctly summarize it, how to efficiently present it to different audiences.
But can't all this be learned without investing 3 years of my life and $30,000 I don't have? And what class can adequately prepare you to be a good teacher? "Those who can't do teach. Those who can't teach administrate." Clearly everyone has their niche. Mine's teaching and life taught me how to be a good one ('good' from what I've heard, anyway).
School, especially graduate school, is nothing more than a weeding-out process. Sure, everyone can learn if given enough time. But if you can meet deadlines and endure the bullshit the curriculum hands you, you earn a piece of paper that proves that.
The kicker is that everyone else now has the same piece of paper...