Skip to comments.College often not worth time, money
Posted on 02/24/2005 9:12:40 AM PST by Willie Green
A waitress at one of my favorite Strip District restaurants last week used one of the industry's oldest cliches. She delivered a meal and reminded me that she "really didn't do this" for a living.
Waiting tables, she explained, was simply something she was doing until a well-paying job opened up in the field she studied during six years in college.
While this is rote conversation for wait staff in places like New York and Los Angeles, where everyone with a tray of linguini in their hands is waiting for a slot on NBC's "Fear Factor," it's unusual for Pittsburgh.
Or is it?
The waitress, it turns out, spent all that time and nearly $150,000 of her family's money studying social sciences, but after graduating she became disappointed with the entry-level salary of her chosen field.
"I can make, like, twice what I'd make as a social worker waiting tables," she confided, "so I'm probably going to just stay here."
(Excerpt) Read more at pittsburghlive.com ...
Seems like an English degree would open more doors for her.
A BS/BA degree means that you are trainable for future position of increasing authority/responsibility.
Also, the degree which one attains directly relates to one's initial salary level.
If you get a BA in basket-weaving, don't expet to get a salary like someone who majored in Finance and gets a Job as a Jr. investment banker with Salomon Bros.
The short-sightedness here is surprising. What one starts out with in a career doesn't necessarily predict what you will be doing in 5 years. As I see it, a degree is something that just cuts past another people.
--the market triumphs again---
another people = other people
If she'd spent her time studying real science instead of "social science," she could have had a good job.
Putting social in front of any word negates its meaning -- Social Science, Social Work...
The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning, while those other subjects merely require scholarship.
The second half of this editorial explains the general problem. It is lack of self-motivation/discipline as is the problem. No college degree or other formal education can overcome lack of motivation/discipline.
The second half of this editorial should have been the headline instead of the fluff title.
as is = that is.... damn grammar check.
"reminded me that she "really didn't do this" for a living."
Strippers say the same things.
Oh, I'm putting myself through college.
Well said! Americans gripe about the number of H1-B visas we issue but I can't help wondering if this correlates to the decreasing number of American students who major in hard sciences like engineering and chemistry.
To many American university students would rather spend their college years pulling bong-hits while they major in "Literature of Contemporary Protest" and "Peace Studies" and leave the mechanical engineering classes filled with students named Amir, Singh and Mohammed.
4 years full time at Bucknell: $100,000
degree: liberal arts
two years later: teaching high school (law degree for a few)
4 years full time at Penn State: $10,000
two years later: passing CPA exam and practicing accounting
"--the market triumphs again---"
The market is no freind to fools.
HAHA I saw that sign! It's from Chuy's! As a Mechanical Engineering major at the University of Texas (Austin), I really appreciate a good slam on liberal arts majors! =P
Entry level salaries suck... It's true you can make more money doing other things, like working at UPS..
But five to ten years later, it swings the other way.
And if you make it to directorship, it swings big time..
College grads need to have realistic expectations that they will have to put in time to get more money.. If they are too focused on "now" money, then college may not be required..
(But college is a good insurance plan, many white collar jobs require a degree -- any degree.)
Spending $150k on a degree, however, is excessive unless one has definitive plans to excel in school and after. If one just wants a job, then community/state college is fine.
Gives a new (nonsensical) meaning to the phrase "College Degree Required", doesn't it.
My youngest daughter majored in business and minored in math. She hasn't had any problems finding good paying work.
What's worse is that humanities majors are not even seen as serious academics. It's one thing to have an impractical degree (I managed to get a job as a mathematician) but when it's also considered to be easy, it's a disaster. The truth is, liberal arts degrees from the Ivy League may carry some weight, but not from other schools.
"4 years full time at Bucknell: $100,000
degree: liberal arts
two years later: teaching high school (law degree for a few) "
Two years RN school.
Work 3 days a week- $52K
I attended an ROP (regional occupational program) in high school for electronics lab tech assistant. I performed well and was able to get work experience at a large electronics company, then later hired at 6.35 an hour in 1984, pretty good money then for an 18 year old. I am still in the industry doing well financially. College is NOT the only way. In fact for *some* people in may be wasting valuable time. For others it is the best choice. Everyone is different.
""I can make, like, twice what I'd make as a social worker waiting tables," she confided, "so I'm probably going to just stay here.""
Ding ding ding. Its great that she can't look past the next 6 months a realize that she'll never progress past a waitress or shift leader.
Having ANY BS degree in college virtually guarantees a $25k a year job in SOMETHING. My brother started an engineering job for 30k in 1996 when he graduated college and now makes over $300k a year as VP. Heck, I know people that start at 25k-30k with business degrees from ho hum state colleges that make over $50k after 4 years and now they're on the cusp to make upper management jumps in a few more years. That's a good wage for 20 somethings in south (obviously northern or western states require more income).
People need to get the idea out of their heads that they'll live like Paris hilton the day they graduate from college. There's a lot of time to build a very successful career in 5-15 years out of college. The six figure incomes just take time.
Hey this guy writes for my favorite motorcycle mag, "Iron Works". Always enjoy his columns there, have to check this out...
Just lay down the expected 20% tip and keep it to yourself.
Not necessarily. I spent two years from 2001 to 2003 in a community college getting a network administration degree, and can't find work in that field. I'm looking into going back to work in the field that dropped me on the street back in '01, since I at least have "experience". In the computer field, they want you to have five years of experience in a technology that's only been out for four years, so you pretty much have to have been a beta tester way back when in order to meet the requirements.
College seems to be a big waste of people's time, and taxpayer money, anymore. Degrees only impress other academics, and government agencies that hire only relatives of people already working there.
Apprenticeship at a trade union would cover employability. A liberal arts college degree puts one in the herd of unskilled laborers.
One of my professors held a lecture yesterday called "God and Science". I heard it was supposed to be really good...too bad I had way too much to do yesterday and schedule conflictions. Anyway, colleges aren't all bad these days. Sure, there's plenty of libs. But the Young Conservatives are very present here. For example, the Affirmative Action Bake Sale, where whites paid $1.00 for a cookie or brownie, Hispanics paid $0.50, and black paid $0.25 . There was alot of controversy over that, but it really made people think.
conflictions = conflicts. damn i'm tired.
My brother works at MBNA. He had started out going to college, had no discipline, and went into the Air Force. His tour ended and he left. He applied to MBNA for their entry level job. Everybody at MBNA starts out telemarketing (they only call their own customers) even the college graduates. In fact, there are so many college graduates that it's tough to break in without a degree. Well, with his 4 years in the Air Force, they gave him a shot -- after 6 interviews! He's doing well now, better than he ever thought possible in the past.
Social Worker = good bucks?
She must have skipped that appointment with her high school guidance counselor.
I still think most of the kids in college these days shouldn't be there. Last week I was on a thread where people were saying partying and finding spouses were valid reasons for going to college. Pathetic.
"To many American university students would rather spend their college years pulling bong-hits while they major in "Literature of Contemporary Protest" and "Peace Studies" and leave the mechanical engineering classes filled with students named Amir, Singh and Mohammed."
When I did my under grad, I wnet after the hardest subject matter degree program I could find (I didn't go to an Engineer school - but a business school), so I took Economics. Hard economics - mathematical Supply and demand, GNP determination, Econometrics, all that. Not easy stuff, but it makes sense once you get past ECON 101.
My daugther is just in love with ballet.
Somehow I can't see sendign her to college for a dance degree. If she makes it as a dancer, great (only 2% of dancers can find a dance job when they done being trained.)
Then again AFTER her dance career maybe, she can get a different degree. I just don't know.
Any Freeper's with some experience in the dance world?
(Propably a strecth, but I thought I try)
""I can make, like, twice what I'd make as a social worker waiting tables,""
Well, at least she mastered basic economics in her 6-years of college.
You know a RN that works 3 days a week? Most I have met work 6!
Seriously though, if you getting a degree in social sciences, you either better be planning on teaching or becoming a social worker. Same with most art majors.
The exception is a friend of mine. He wanted to be a graphic artist, and approached his classes like I approached my engineering ones. He has done rather well for himself.
This just in.
If you want your children to be rich, get them into a trade school for air condition/heating, diesel repair, plumbing, electrical work or auto repair. Lawyers are a dime a dozen and getting cheaper as the unemployed go home to live with their parents.
I graduated in 1998 with a B.S. degree in chemical engineering. The best job I could find for a year and a half paid about $19K, and I was lucky to get it.
Not sure where you got that info.
A quick check of PSU's Tuition Rates shows it's roughly $10K per year for state residents, and TWICE that amount for non-residents.
Then you have to add room & board, not to mention various other fees and living expenses.
and is why a degree in the fuzzy subjects pays much less!
This article is just one further piece of evidence that the quaint old 19th-century Progressive-era college education distribution structure we all presume to be eternal is headed for the ash heap of history.
Ward Churchill is even more evidence.
My long-held prediction: "College" as that term is understood today, will not exist as a dominant education modality after 2015.
I was in a similar situation...I graduated with a degree in psychology. Now, if you have any brains, you know that the BS degree is worthless...if you intend to make any money at all, you need a MS at the very least, or a Ph.D more likely.
My first few years out of college, I made $15K as a social worker. However, I went to law school and now make much more than $15K. Moreover, my earning potential is limitless.
Some people are just clueless...and they deserve what they get.
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