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Do you have a "useless" degree? - Page 3

post #41 of 56
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I have a degree in comparative politics, with a specialty in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries (apologies for those of you young'uns scratching your heads about what that could possibly mean). I graduated in 91 AFTER the Berlin Wall fell. My degree went from cutting edge to obsolete before I even walked across the stage.
Yeah! I have a BA in Soviet Studies with a concentration in Soviet Political Science! At least that's what the major was called when I entered college. By the time I had graduated, they had experimented with three different new names for it: Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies, Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, and something else I don't remember. I have no idea what they call it now
post #42 of 56
They all are as long as I am not using them. AS ECE, AA LA, BA Biology...... and about to collect another one in an area that actually is hiring, has growth
post #43 of 56
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I have a degree in comparative politics, with a specialty in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries (apologies for those of you young'uns scratching your heads about what that could possibly mean). I graduated in 91 AFTER the Berlin Wall fell. My degree went from cutting edge to obsolete before I even walked across the stage.
Yeah! I have a BA in Soviet Studies with a concentration in Soviet Political Science! At least that's what the major was called when I entered college. By the time I had graduated, they had experimented with three different new names for it: Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies, Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, and something else I don't remember. I have no idea what they call it now
LOL you guys, I know your Russian counterpart, she finished her degree in Marxist Philosophy and Soviet Economics in 1991. She gives tours on the Neva!
post #44 of 56
Well, I'm enlisted in the military...and have a bachelor's degree. At least it is the same as what my job is (I'm a paralegal and my degree is in legal studies.). And when I was looking for a job "on the outside", people looked askance saying that a paralegal job only required a high-school diploma.
post #45 of 56
^^that is hysterical. I have an AA in paralegal studies and no one would hire me because I didnt have a BA!!!!!!!
post #46 of 56
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Originally Posted by Sorin View Post
I don't believe that any degree is useless. Graduating from college is a huge accomplishment and a privilege that not everyone is fortunate enough to have. Your degree is something that can never be taken away from you, and it is something that you can look back on and say, "I did that!"

I say this as a community college prof who works with students who are struggling every day to get their Associates. I swear, the happiest graduations I have ever been to (and I've been to *tons* of undergrad and grad school graduations) are the graduations at my CC where the students get their AA and their AS. You have never seen a more proud group of people!

Now, a degree may not be *necessary* for certain fields or lines of work, but it is never useless.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

Especially as someone who spent the last 15 years of her life getting a BA in Anthropology, BA in Geology, MA in Anthropology, and PhD in Anthropology (Archaeology specialization). All are deemed "worthless" degrees by more business/money oriented people. But theyone are all major accomplishments for some who was told she would never even be accepted into college because of dyslexia.

I also couldn't agree more about CC graduations! My late father was a CC prof. He was very proud for his students and always went to graduation ceremonies.
post #47 of 56
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Originally Posted by EVC View Post
Yeah! I have a BA in Soviet Studies with a concentration in Soviet Political Science! At least that's what the major was called when I entered college. By the time I had graduated, they had experimented with three different new names for it: Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies, Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, and something else I don't remember. I have no idea what they call it now
A similar thing happened to my DH. He graduated with a specialized degree in Environmental Science in 2000, just before Bush came to office and changed legislation that made it mandatory for most manufactures to have an environmentalist on their staff. So the only jobs available to him were cleaning up toxic waste for $9/hour. No thanks! For the last 10 years, he has pretty much done accounting work, even though is degree is not at all related.
post #48 of 56
BA in Studio Art and Art History, MFA in Intermedia.
There's that quip about how a fine arts degree and $1.79 will get you a cup of coffee with free refills... I did learn how to edit video in grad school, so I have a job doing that at a College of Public Health. I can pull editions of 50 prints in three different media, bind my own books, do basic construction and woodworking, paint portraits and landscapes, erase pimples in photoshop, and critique somebody else's art 'til I am blue in the face. I have excellent writing and editing skills and know how to do library and archival research, cite sources, use evidence to make arguments, and the ability to read nearly incomprehensible critical theory. I don't use any of it in my work, so in that sense, my whole education is 'useless'.

I think the most valuable part of my education was taking critical and cultural theory classes. Nobody in my life prior to that ever prodded me to question received wisdom and think about speaker bias, power structures, and how 'the system' operates. What if I had never gone to college - maybe I would not have had an unmedicated childbirth, decided to breastfeed my child for over two years, co-sleep, or any of the other AP principles that we subscribe to, just because I'd never have thought to question 'the way it's done' (and it's not how I was raised)?

'Useless' is also a judgement that (in our culture anyway) is based on one's economic earning power being the main criterion for valuing a person's intelligence and skills. Is there a use in keeping skills like painting and printmaking alive in the digital age? Is there a use in studying history like my husband does? Apparently not in terms of paying our mortgage, but definitely there is value in terms of active engagement with the world, joy in living, and maintenance of sanity. We have a friend who has a PhD in cultural anthropology, and he asserts that there is tremendous value in the academy and in pure research, in generating new ideas and new ways of understanding the world, even if they don't have a 'value' that translates directly into dollars and cents. He says, what are human beings if we don't THINK about things?
post #49 of 56
I'm not a mom yet, but since I'm thinking about TTC I was interested in this thread and wanted to chime in. I have two useless (in terms of earning potential) undergrad degrees -- BAs in Theater and Women's Studies.
post #50 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcparker View Post


'Useless' is also a judgment that (in our culture anyway) is based on one's economic earning power being the main criterion for valuing a person's intelligence and skills. Is there a use in keeping skills like painting and printmaking alive in the digital age? Is there a use in studying history like my husband does? Apparently not in terms of paying our mortgage, but definitely there is value in terms of active engagement with the world, joy in living, and maintenance of sanity. We have a friend who has a PhD in cultural anthropology, and he asserts that there is tremendous value in the academy and in pure research, in generating new ideas and new ways of understanding the world, even if they don't have a 'value' that translates directly into dollars and cents. He says, what are human beings if we don't THINK about things?
I agree in principle, but on the other hand, my philosophy degree does not help me engage (the people who need engagement generally need empathy, common sense advice, and money), joy in living (um... ), or maintenance of sanity (Kant is driving me insane... and Voltaire is not, strictly speaking, philosophy).
post #51 of 56
I have a two year degree that served me well for several years and offers me lots of applied knowledge for running a small home business. But I have no desire to use it in a formal capacity any longer. I retired my pantyhose long time ago.

I did a spin at PITT, worked on some of a BA - Sociology

Now back at the CC where I am very happy finishing my AS in ART and shifting to Chatham University for my BFA

I am not concerned with getting a sweet job -- I am 45, have almost died, lost my husband, own my home -- I want to ENJOY my children, life, job in that order, where ever it lands me it lands me, hopefully enjoying it.

As for the "Blue Collar" reference, maybe I should shed a different light that is more balanced. My husband was "Blue Collar". He was a International Union Bricklayer. The eduation process to become a Journeyman Bricklayer was 5 years hands on everyday Mon-Fri and school two nights a week every year, following the initial several months away at the International training facility in Mass. To be able to build the buildings accurately requires knowledge and education just as the designers who draft it. Just because there is manual labor involved does not mean that any less education process was necessary than someones formal degree. There is no cap and gown ceremony -- just a nice/fair living increase in pay and benefits to secure your family -- unlike most formal degree jobs out there these day.
post #52 of 56
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Originally Posted by Caittune View Post
I have a degree in english lit... how about that? I have no intention of going into teaching, so it is rather wasted. It is the result of being pushed by my parents to go to university when I wasn't ready so I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.
EXACT same situation here. The name of the university I went to and my professional experience are what get me job interviews, not my English degree or my disappointing GPA.
post #53 of 56
I have a BA in Spanish Literature and Linguistics and Eastern European Studies with a focus on the former Yugoslavian nations. The only thing it is good for is confusing interviewers, who seem to always ask if I am aware that they don't speak Spanish in Eastern Europe.
post #54 of 56
My family has a long tradition of school not relating to work/life.

My sister has a BA in drama, and works for an NGO that contracts with the UN to set up and oversee elections in new democracies, you know, the "international observers" they talk about? She is also considered a top world authority on women voting in emerging democracies, Islamic countries. She also has owned a bar on the Alaska pipeline, and a video rental shop pre-blockbuster era. She is currently in Afghanistan, setting up their election for next week.

My brother was a firefighter for years (retired now), and has since worked as a state arson investigator, assistant to the coroner, and has a home business developing some specialty kinds of life insurance. Oh, and he also does some sort of financial planning for city and state pensions freelance. His degree was in mechanical engineering, and he just started to law school, at age 49, though I don't know if he plans to ever work as a lawyer. We tend to go to school recreationally in our family.

My late aunt, a Holocaust Survivor, never went to college, but was the organizer of major international level conferences (think UN scale) in all sorts of fields, from arts to politics, all over the world, for decades. She also was the European liaison for the Ford Foundation, an editor for the Economist, and something for the Dept. of East Asian Studies at Stanford.

My Dad was a college dropout, who became a millionaire, eccentric inventor.

My mom was considered mentally retarded as a kid, and went on to get a Master's in Nursing, and be a true pioneer in nursing education.
And then there is me. I was considered a prodigy, entered Stanford at 15 after basically dropping out of 7th grade, dropped out again, and didn't return to school until I was 42 or so. I now have a degree in health education, can't find a job for the world, and am a stay-at-home Mom and therapeutic level foster parent. Nothing really to do with my degree. Professionally, I have raised parrots, sewn custom motorcycle racing leathers, and baby clothes, in addition to assorted social work type jobs.


I am leaving out many branches of extremely high- and low-achieving cousins. Generally for my family, education doesn't really have much to do with economic success. Now I am talking about getting a Master's in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Not sure why, if I think I would seriously use the degree. I told you we go to school recreationally.
post #55 of 56
I have two! BS in Wildlife Conservation and a BS in Entomology where I worked at the following:
-Dupont intern: counted aphids, watered greenhouse
-Chemical weigher: weighed scary probably cancerous compounds into vials for researchers
- greenhouse tech: took care of hydroponics (aka scrubbed algae 5 days a week)
- substitute teacher

I just passed the nclex and am now an LPN to try to start paying my mortgage sized school debt (thanks to BS degrees above!)

BTW- My undergrad years were amazing spending time doing things that I loved and was good at! Its only when I think of the consequences of majoring in a hobby that I regret not putting more thought into that aspect.
post #56 of 56
Associates in Liberal Studies here from a local community college. I was so insanely proud to walk across the stage to get that degree, and now I am ashamed to even put it on my resume.

The good news is, I am going back so school this fall and will have a bachelor's by next spring in yet another relatively useless degree. Psychology. *sigh*

I do agree that no degree is entirely "useless", but it does stink that I will likely never make enough to support my son and myself without social services until he has graduated from high school.
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