Today’s Link is a nice piece by Nature, discussing the paths of a few very promising academics who moved outside of the Ivory Tower, and where they ended up. It’s always nice to hear some of the different paths people have taken, especially for students who are considering making that move themselves.
Today’s short article from the Washington Post delves into the financial realities of student loan debt. And they ain’t pretty. The title of this particular piece is “how student debt crushes your chances of buying a home.” The takeaway message: If you’re borrowing more than $50k to go to college, you’re gonna have a bad time.
While it paints a bit of a cartoonish image of a Higher Education Supervillian, twirling his mustache and plotting against the common man, I still found This Salon Article to hit upon a lot of great points regarding the exploding cost and plummeting value of college. Well worth a read.
A View From an Ex-String Theorist
Today’s link is more of the anecdote variety, rather than the typical number salad of most of my links, but I still think it’s worth a read. Via Reddit, let’s look at a story, in the author’s own words, about leaving behind academia, even when working in one of the “hot” fields, with a phenomenal background. I see a lot of people who assume that anyone who leaves academia behind is some sort of de facto failure, but this really isn’t the truth. There are many reasons people leave behind the ivory tower, and it’s always good to read another story.
On the “do what you love” platitude
Today’s link is a great read on one of those academic platitudes that really annoys me – “Do what you love”. I’ve often argued that these four little words are regularly used as an excuse to exploit workers, academics in particular, and this article is a great summary of why.
Confession of an Ivy League TA – grade inflation
Today’s article is a bit less serious, but it still reflects an issue I definitely noticed when I was a grad student – the idea of grade inflation, driven largely by a desire by the overworked grad student to avoid drama. I definitely ran into the same thing, and actually got some pretty vitriolic, hateful student evaluations when I was a tough-but-fair grader. At an elite school like Harvard, which is probably going to have a higher fraction of rich, entitled students, I shudder to think at how much crap you’d have to deal with if you gave a low grade to the wrong student. No wonder the median grades are so high.