where a grad student becomes a supervillain for extra credit since their doctoral committee is lowkey three of the city’s supervillains. and they meet the hero who is cute and charming and idealistic. and damn, extra credit is so not worth this. but damn, grad school is expensive and the job market is competitive
“there’s good in you”
“i really think all that’s in me at this point is ramen, red bull and spite”
college advice from someone who’s been on both sides of it
So I’m finishing up my Ph.D. and
preparing to depart for the real world (no, just kidding, I’m going
to be in school forever, only in a different capacity) and I thought I’d
put together a list of some college tips to share with you all. I graduated with
my B.A. in 2012, magna cum laude,
with 2 majors, 1 honours thesis, 2 on-campus jobs, and 3 music things. Since then, I’ve gone to grad school and also
taught six semesters of first-year seminars. Now I’m going on the job
market for teaching positions. All of this means that I’ve seen both
sides of the college experience, as a student and as an instructor. There are a lot of great & useful college advice posts going around studyblr this time of here, and I wanted to add my own. I hope it’s useful. So
here we go, with a “read more” because it’s long (sorry if you’re on mobile):
your classrooms ahead of time (profs’ offices too)
out how long it will take you to walk between places
out where your best seat will be & claim it
to the people next to you, learn their names
notes in class
advantage of extra credit
your best not to fall asleep in class (and if you do fall asleep, apologise to the
your glasses if you need them, don’t be stubborn about it
out the library, wander in the stacks, talk to the librarians
out how & where to print
used books/textbooks, or rent them, but be careful with ebooks (some
profs don’t allow them)
breaks into your class schedule, or block everything together, whichever works best for you
work out the pros &
cons of 8am classes and/or night classes
ahead – have a planner, put things in it, do them
deadlines are a thing (write down earlier deadlines, trick yourself into meeting them, bask in satisfaction)
grades won’t be what they were in high school
keep in mind GPA values: a 3.5 will see you graduating with honours
nice to the departmental administrative staff, thank them for helping
you (even with small things)
hours versus emailing profs: both will get your questions answered (probably) but if you can go and talk in person, do it
& TAs are people too, they have lives, they have bad days
something comes up, talk to your prof, be honest but don’t overshare, just show them you’re trying
I just have to laugh when older people question how millennials are unable to find jobs. I am literally the only one in my training class of seven at a corporate office that didn’t have a family member or family friend working in the company help get me hired. I am the only one with zero connection to the company before hiring. Nepotism and money rules the job market, not experience or intelligence. I just got extremely lucky.
I realized that while I told a few of you directly of my embarrassing conference moment, I hadn’t shared it widely. You guys are lucky I like you and am willing to tell you about what is very likely the most mortified I have ever been! Buckle up, babes. Let me tell you a story.
While I was away at the conference this weekend a job announcement posted that is a perfect fit for me. So much so that my phone and email blew up from linguists telling me to apply to this particular job. It is a visiting position at Carleton College in MN. (Who knew I would get excited about MN?)
During one of the poster sessions a colleague of mine came busting across the conference to tell me that a woman was there from Carleton and I needed to go introduce myself. My philosophy with the job market has been and continues to be “Act with the confidence of a mediocre white man,” so I did not pass go, I did not collect $200. I booked it to this woman. Full throttle. I grabbed her after a presentation and went through my practiced spiel. “I’m so glad I found out you are also here this weekend. My name is Taylor. This is where I go to school and what I work on. I’ve been meaning to meet you. I also wanted to ask for your input on the open position at Carleton.” Like… I can be smooth if I put my mind to it.
She then stares at me like I have sprouted 3 heads and asks “What open position?” At this point my “oh shit oh shit” meter starts tripping, and I explain what I’m talking about. She said she has no idea what I’m talking about and perhaps I should talk to someone else from Carleton. I quickly run away and go back to the original colleague to yell at him because she has no idea what I’m talking about. Another friend on the job market is standing by and goes, “OH NO! Wait! Who did you go talk to? Taylor, there are TWO Carletons!” I know there are two Carletons I tell him. Wait. Where is this woman from?
You guys, I barreled full throttle into this wonderful woman from Canada at Carleton University in the name of finding out about a job at Carleton College in MN. Seriously. If my colleague had asked me to introduce myself to the only other scholar from Carleton U I would have known we were talking about the wrong institution. BUT he managed to pick the woman I didn’t know already!
The very nice woman walked by at this point, and I stopped her to explain the confusion. I apologized for being very creepy but that I was happy to have met her finally. She sighs in huge relief and goes “Oh goodness! I’m so happy to know that! I thought I had no idea what was going on in my own department!” to which my colleague (who is totally at fault for all of this exchange) says “Well if you can’t tell, Taylor is on the job market! So if you know of anything…” complete with the finger guns.
So that is the story about how I turned 11 shades of tomato red because I barreled into an introverted woman from Canada when I shouldn’t have. Everyone at the conference thought it was HILARIOUS. I mean… it is… now that I’m not wanting to melt directly into the floor! :-D
whoever clocked the tea that all these large corporations sponsoring computer programming/coding “bootcamps” aren’t doing it from the kindness of their hearts to help young ppl and marginalized people get skills like they’re doing it to flood the job market of people who can code so they can lower the wages of people they hire as employees like that’s so wild to me
Top-notch point here about assessing the academic job market from the vantage point of grad school/postdoc-hood:
The stories we listen to about life in academia are largely formed by the experiences of professors who’ve spent decades working in research universities and collaborating with colleagues at other research universities. It’s not malicious or misleading, just biased.
“Actually, feel free to be a lot less specific. Like just going ‘booooooo’ is literally all that’s required of you. And remember, when you file your report, we’re using the green cover sheets now. Blue was last month.”
“I didn’t enjoy life very much because I was always sacrificing for the future. My whole life was about studying and working. I worked so many jobs. I went to college. I got my MBA. I didn’t travel very much. I didn’t get married. I didn’t have kids. All I wanted to do was feel secure. But I’ve had bad health problems my entire life. So I haven’t been able to save. And two weeks ago I lost my job. The job market is brutal when you’re my age. People don’t think you can learn new things. I can’t even get work as a clerk because they think I’m overqualified. I have no money now. I can barely afford food and transportation. I’ve spent my whole life sacrificing—just to one day feel secure. But it seems like it was all for nothing. And I have no idea what to do.”
“ Do you think I’m poor because I want to be? Do you think I’m jobless because I hate working? I thought someone should have mercy on us after so many tries. Why is it always 100 against 1? What am I supposed to do? I did everything you told me do. What am I supposed to do when it’s not working out?”
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Same anon, again, I just wanted to know if there are any opportunities for employment after having just a Bsc in CS.
I don’t know much about the job market in the US, but technically a B.Sc. should give you enough skills/knowledge to work in the industry. I think it all depends on where you want to work (development, game industry, more research oriented…) on what possible employers might want from their employees. Doing a lot of coding and building up your own “code resumee” (i.e. your private projects hosted publicly on e.g. github for employers to look through) will definitely help. BUT: I didn’t do any of that and still got a job (in Germany and with a master’s, but still).
Any of my US-based followers with an overview of the job market there? Please help this anon!
Why should we want to give people free college tuition and free this, and free that? That does nothing but make those who actually earn a college education less competitive in the job market because it'll become oversaturated with people who don't deserve degrees, having them. At the end of the day, there need to be people flipping burgers & tending to the garbage -- and no, they shouldn't make $15 an hour either.
Let me get this straight, we should not insure that we have an educated workforce because you are afraid of competition. Also, we need people to flip burgers and pick up garbage, but we should not pay them enough to live.
There is one thing you are right about, minimum wage workers should not be making $15 an hour, they should be making more. We have made huge gains in productivity in this country on the backs of middle class and lower class workers. These gains in productivity means that a current minimum wage worker has to be doing more fiscally productive work throughout their shift than they had to 45+ years ago.
So why is it, that when adjusted for inflation, we are paying minimum wage workers less than their counterparts 45+ years ago made. They are doing more work and creating more in profits then their past counterparts, why do they deserve less?
These facts lead me to some interesting questions you might want to consider.
If the wealthy have been taking almost $14 per hour of work from each minimum wage worker, how much do you think they take from you?
If the minimum wage was $21.72 an hour, how much more do you think you would be compensated now if your boss knew you could go get a job flipping burgers for over $45,000 a year?
See when you argue that others people’s wages should be kept below a living wage, or below productivity increases all you are doing is arguing for a lower wage for yourself.
Those minimum wage jobs act as competition for workers time. If they are paying enough to lure away good prospects from other jobs, the compensation for those other jobs must be raised if other companies want to retain the talent they have or to acquire new talent.
As a consumer, options are good for you. The more options you have for work, the higher your wages are going to be. The more options you have in product choice, the lower you will pay for a good.
These are simple economic truths.
But if you want to still argue that all of our wages should be kept down because minimum wage workers don’t “deserve” $15 an hour, by all means, go ahead.