I’ve spent three years writing about how graduate school is a waste of time and money (yes, business school and law school too). So now when radio and TV producers need someone to bitch about graduate school, they call me.
Here I am on NPR today. I don't usually post my interviews, but this one is notable because I completely lost patience for people still defending grad school. It's so clear, even to defenders of grad school, that grad school is a bad financial decision, that this guy has resorted to saying that you need to go to grad school to be a good person. Of course, I went nuts on him.
I think the thing that is pushing me over the edge with graduate school is that people who are thinking straight about schooling are not even considering graduate school. These people are debating if college is a rip off (here’s a great discussion in New York magazine with James Altucher, a venture capitalist in NYC) And people are even debating if high school is useless (here’s a great post by Lisa Nielsen who is with the NYC Department of Education). And anyway, I’m losing interest in the debate about grad school because I’m convinced that the future belongs to home schoolers because they are self-learners.
Also, for those of you who keep telling me that there are some fields you absolutely have to have a degree for, check out the song 99 Problems by Jay-Z. The song includes great legal advice about Miranda rights, racial profiling and search warrants, even though he doesn’t have a law degree or a creative writing certificate to prove his poetic talents.
Click this link for an attorney’s analysis of the advice in the song, but here’s an excerpt, attorney’s advice in italics:
The year is ninety-four, in my trunk is raw
In my rear-view mirror is the motherfuckin’ law
Got two choices y’all, pull over the car or (hmm)
bounce on the Devil, put the pedal to the floor
And I ain’t tryin’ to see no highway chase with Jake
Plus I got a few dollars, I can fight the case
(Not running from the police seems like excellent advice.)
So I, pull over to the side of the road
“Son, do you know why I’m stoppin’ you for?”
Cause I’m young and I’m black and my hat’s real low
Or do I look like a mindreader, sir? I don’t know
Am I under arrest or should I guess some more?
(In general, not volunteering information at a traffic stop is great advice.)
In the comments section on the NPR site, people complain that I'm bitter and angry and offer no alternative to graduate school.
Here's the alternative: Admit that adult life is scary because there is no clear path to success. Grad school is not a quick fix for the fears of adulthood. Instead, be grateful for the chance to be lost — it means you're living your own life, because no one can make choices in the exact same way you can, whether they are right or wrong.
So all there is for adult life is you, following your nose, trying to figure out what brings you joy. Each time I see someone who has done that, in some little way, I feel relief and hope for myself.
Image from Austin Kleon.