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I've heard opinions along those lines, but I consider it a somewhat pessimistic view of the field. There are still many good opportunities. I suppose it helps not to be in it for the money.
Currently, there's pessimistic views of many fields. Many!

If you love library science, stick with it. Money isn't everything.
 

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I've got a BA in Anthropology and am strongly considering going back for a Masters possibly in Medical Anthro. I'd like to ultimately get into the field of international development.

Anyone else thinking about or planning to go back to school?
Today, having the bucks to attend college is a major problem and hurdle. State universities cost a lot less.

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had an excellent article about the the money crunch students are facing this year. One of the students profiled is an undergraduate--a freshman.

He is a brilliant student and lives in Ann Arbor--just a mile from the University of Michigan campus. He had his heart set on attending the University of Chicago. But the annual tuition is $52,000. Financial aid was not availabel and his family cannot afford the cost. He's attending the University of Michigan due to his limited finances.

The difference between this year as opposed to last year is like night and day. The article mentioned that.
 

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I just finished my first year of grad school. I'm in a PhD program in English lit. I received a stipend last year to cover my living expenses and free tuition. This year, I will be a paid TA (and, of course, free tuition). On top of that, I applied for and received a summer mentorship, which pays me to produce a paper (which I haven't actually started yet...) and a scholarship from a business that isn't connected with the university. If you get into a good enough program, you won't have much trouble with expenses, provided that you don't spend lavishly.

But the stress of grad school has significantly amplified my feelings. My depression was tolerable before I started grad school, but as soon as finals rolled around, it became unbearable. On the plus side, I get free therapy from the university. It still hurts, but I believe I'm getting better. If you go to grad school, be prepared to have it to screw with your SA.
 

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I just finished my first year of grad school. I'm in a PhD program in English lit. I received a stipend last year to cover my living expenses and free tuition. This year, I will be a paid TA (and, of course, free tuition). On top of that, I applied for and received a summer mentorship, which pays me to produce a paper (which I haven't actually started yet...) and a scholarship from a business that isn't connected with the university. If you get into a good enough program, you won't have much trouble with expenses, provided that you don't spend lavishly.

But the stress of grad school has significantly amplified my feelings. My depression was tolerable before I started grad school, but as soon as finals rolled around, it became unbearable. On the plus side, I get free therapy from the university. It still hurts, but I believe I'm getting better. If you go to grad school, be prepared to have it to screw with your SA.
Yes, that's something I worry about. I keep wondering, am I well enough to go to school? Am I going to be able to deal with all these things successfully? I'm not going to get anywhere if I'm too shy to talk to my advisor.

Congrats on your scholarship, and good luck with your paper!
 

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Yes, that's something I worry about. I keep wondering, am I well enough to go to school? Am I going to be able to deal with all these things successfully? I'm not going to get anywhere if I'm too shy to talk to my advisor.

Congrats on your scholarship, and good luck with your paper!
Thanks. There's really only one way to find out if you can handle it: try it and see how it goes. Really, in my experience, most professors understand how intimidating they can be, and, as a result are very forgiving of students who can never think of what to say in casual conversation. SA gets in the way when you want to participate in seminars; sometimes I think of something I want to say, but hesitate, and by the time I'm able to speak, the discussion has moved on. But, for the most part, other students are very friendly as well. I go out with a number of students in my program fairly often. Really, most people within your program, whether they're students or profs, will try to help you feel more comfortable.

One person did drop out of my program after the first quarter. She was exceptionally quiet (I generally contribute at least once per seminar, but I don't recall her ever speaking in class). I'm not entirely sure why she dropped out, but I heard it was because of illness, then I heard it was because her boyfriend got a position somewhere else.
 

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I'm more than likely going to go to grad school, because people in my field of study (Latin) kind of have to to be taken seriously, and also I've been toying around with the idea of becoming a college professor. I suppose that I'll do it if I'm able to get through the masters and PhD program, but if I can't (stress and whatnot), I'll bow out at the masters level and become a high school teacher.
 

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Hey. I'm still ambivalent about grad school. One, I don't know if my grades are good enough to get into a top grad school. Two, I don't have an area of specialization that I want to focus on for the 7-10 years it takes to get a Ph.D. Still, I'm going to finish my undergrad this year, then take a year off to work. I'd like to at least keep my grades up and build some relationships with some profs for letters of recommendation.

So, for you who've done it -- (specifically STKinTHEmud, since I'm in philosophy, close enough to English) -- can you give me any tips about getting in... like... what'd you do... how were your grades, letters of rec, etc. Feel free to PM me if you prefer. Thanks.
 

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Hey. I'm still ambivalent about grad school. One, I don't know if my grades are good enough to get into a top grad school. Two, I don't have an area of specialization that I want to focus on for the 7-10 years it takes to get a Ph.D. Still, I'm going to finish my undergrad this year, then take a year off to work. I'd like to at least keep my grades up and build some relationships with some profs for letters of recommendation.

So, for you who've done it -- (specifically STKinTHEmud, since I'm in philosophy, close enough to English) -- can you give me any tips about getting in... like... what'd you do... how were your grades, letters of rec, etc. Feel free to PM me if you prefer. Thanks.
I can share my experiences, and maybe you can get something out of it. But forgive the length of my reply. The answer to that question includes one of the most profound experiences of my life, and I feel that I have to do it justice (besides, I love to talk about it). Keep in mind that my SA is mild, since I have no problem making friends, it's just with romantic relationships that I get anxiety. I apologize in advance if I say something offensive.

You sound a LOT like me back in my senior year. I graduated 2004 with a B.S. in psychobiology. Yep, I was pre-med, but by the time senior year rolled around, I realized that some people's bodies are disgusting, so I didn't want do that anymore (just kidding, medicine simply didn't suit me). My father kind of pushed me into medicine and I was too afraid of disappointing him to push back (I'm Indian, so I had to be either a doctor or an engineer). But I did get to do a minor in English. Honestly, I kind of half-a**ed my way through those 4 years since I wasn't very enthusiastic about that whole enterprise, so I ended up with a 3.4 gpa: not that bad, but certainly not your typical top grad school material.

At this point I had no idea what I wanted to do for my career, but my immediate goals were pretty clear. I wanted to travel, spending all my money on getting places on the weekends while laughing at my living in living in near poverty on the weekdays. So, I applied for a working visa (http://www.bunac.com/) and moved to London for six months, working a crappy temp job, flying wherever I felt like going on the continent on the weekends via a dirt-cheap airline (Ryan Air), and drinking far too much. One of my friends was there in London at the time, and I spent time with him occasionally, but for the most part, I tried to avoid spending too much time with him so that I could meet new people and have new experiences, and that's exactly what I did.

In London, I shared a 5 bedroom house (only 1 bathroom!) with 11 (yep, 11) Aussies, New Zealanders, South Africans, and one Welshman who was constantly trying to get laid (and did!), and ate whatever was cheap enough to sustain me, but drank like a viking. I remember that on weekends when I was too poor to travel, I would sit on the couch with a couple of my roommates, drinking dirt cheap high-proof cider by the liter, watching rugby, or I would sit alone in the grass on the hill in Hyde park, or I would walk along the Thames on a clear Spring day, or I would stop for warm chestnuts and listen to a children's choir performance on a cold night near Christmas. I first worked part time in a pub, which was actually really fun (interacting with customers) save for the fact that my boss was a complete jerk, so I went to work in a govt office as an office b****, which made me a bit uncomfortable (I realized here that I'm NOT cut out for office work), but wasn't too bad, since there were so many really cool people there (they were older, I was the office baby), and we would go out drinking every Thursday and Friday afternoon, buying each other beers.

When I would travel on weekends, I would essentially live out of my backpack (and even that I packed lightly so as to not weigh me down), sleeping very little in shady hostels, and walking until the skin on my feet cracked and broken. I usually traveled alone, and even when I traveled with friends, I managed to go off on my own occasionally. Essentially, I would visit assorted monuments, burnt out churches, and ancient, beautiful ruins during the day, and then walk into a random bar that caught my fancy and see what would happen at night. My memories of that time include walking away from a fight in the middle of the night on a bridge in Scotland, feeling history at my fingertips at the Colosseum in Rome, imagining myself a part of some wonderful epic romance in the salt air of a remote coast in Ireland, and smoking hash in an alley behind a bar with an Irish folk band in Dublin.

Needless to say, it was the most profound experience of my life. I came home 6 months later knowing exactly what I wanted to do, but not necessarily how to get there. I realized that English lit had been a passion of mine all my life, and that I wanted to devote the rest of my life to it. If you're uncertain about your future, I can't promise that you'll find yourself in another country as I did, but at the very least, an extended period of traveling will become a very profound part of your life experience. I highly recommend it (though you might not want to live as dangerously as I did).

I spent the next year teaching and tutoring part time, then I went back to school (though a different university, still a somewhat prestigious one), once again as an undergrad, but this time as an English major. Because I had already completed a minor, I only needed to be there for one year before I graduated. Because I knew that this was what I wanted to do and I had little other distractions, I got straight A's, and improved my essay writing ability so much so that one of my professors singled me out after class and complimented me on a paper. It's never too late to go back to school, and, in fact, if you're older and wiser when you do, you'll probably be better at it.

After that, it was just a matter of taking the appropriate tests (GRE and GRE Lit, which I did only moderately well on), writing a long paper (which one of my current profs actually still remembers), and applying to PhD programs (which I did within 6 months of graduation). I applied to 7 programs (I'd recommend you apply more widely, especially if you want to do philosophy), got accepted into two PhD programs and one masters program that I didn't pay much attention to (if NYU doesn't want to sponsor me, they don't get me), and chose the most prestigious program.

And that was it. The key is that if you're unsure as to what you want to do in grad school, you should work on yourself a little bit. Don't be afraid to take risks, even if they aren't so sensible. And most importantly, realize that, though career is important, it's our experiences that make us who we are, and that happiness, above all else, comes first.
 

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I'm starting an MSc in bio-anthro next month... which i am both excited and nervous about. My SA is much better than it was at undergrad, but I'm still paranoid it'll really interfere with getting to know other gradstudents. hmmm...

as for:
I've been thinking about it. I'm so afraid to ask my professors for references, though.
I totally felt that way! It's super lame, but my bf actually offered to email them for me as he knew i was freaking out over this. it was great because i basically put it out of my mind. But once the references came through I read the emails and they were both really nice... the profs remembered me and were happy to do them. Just remember, they do this kind of thing all the time- to them it's not a big deal. (just to us! ;) )

Good luck!
 

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I'm in a PhD program and am about to start the phase of the program where I have to start teaching undergrads. Needless to say I'm pretty frightened. Anyone else been in this situation?
 

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I'm in a PhD program and am about to start the phase of the program where I have to start teaching undergrads. Needless to say I'm pretty frightened. Anyone else been in this situation?
Yeah, I taught undergrad English courses in both my MA and my PhD programs. For me the problem wasn't so much stage fright (though one semester a student did come up to me after the first day of class to tell me that I seemed nervous) as it was conveying authority and commanding respect. I just don't do either of those things very well. I'm terrible at the disciplinary aspects of running a classroom, and I had some pretty awful moments where the students completely got away from me and just didn't care how upset I got. I think I just give off vibes that I don't have much self-confidence. It's now been three years since I dropped out of my PhD program, and the same amount of time since I've taught a class. Ultimately I think I would like to teach college English for a living (even if just at the community college level), but I'm really going to have to get my problems (depression and ADD as well as anxiety) under control before I'll realistically be able to do that again. That would also mean having to go back and finish my PhD, something I've vaguely started to think again about doing. Teaching is the only thing I have any real-world experience doing, and it's the only thing I can really imagine myself doing for a living. Teaching high school is pretty much out of the question for me, though. Dealing with college students was hard enough; dealing with high school students would be a million times worse. I would be in way over my head.
 

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I'm in a PhD program and am about to start the phase of the program where I have to start teaching undergrads. Needless to say I'm pretty frightened. Anyone else been in this situation?
I'm in that situation now (teaching my first undergrad class in the Fall), but it doesn't frighten me so much because I have a good bit of teaching experience. I've taught high school SAT and AP English classes, and so I think undergrads will be a breeze by comparison. Of course, it wasn't always like that for me. I had to work at it. I got fired from my first teaching job because I was so nervous. After months (maybe a year) of continuing to teach part time, I got used to it, and, eventually, I came to really enjoy it.
 

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I've heard opinions along those lines, but I consider it a somewhat pessimistic view of the field. There are still many good opportunities. I suppose it helps not to be in it for the money.
Which is exactly why I went ahead and got my masters in library science. I love it, and I went into the field knowing that it was never going to make me rich. Now I'm a public librarian, and I love my job.
 

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I'm in that situation now (teaching my first undergrad class in the Fall), but it doesn't frighten me so much because I have a good bit of teaching experience. I've taught high school SAT and AP English classes, and so I think undergrads will be a breeze by comparison. Of course, it wasn't always like that for me. I had to work at it. I got fired from my first teaching job because I was so nervous. After months (maybe a year) of continuing to teach part time, I got used to it, and, eventually, I came to really enjoy it.
Well I'm glad to hear this will eventually get better -- hopefully I don't get fired from my TA position in the process.
 

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I want to get a masters in special ed. One of these days.
 
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