Skip to comments.A Funny Book about Worthless Degrees
Posted on 04/12/2012 9:22:08 AM PDT by doug from upland
A Funny Book about Worthless Degrees
By Charlotte Allen
...Since none of these degrees help increase your employability, you might as well avoid these majors and do it on your own."
The above is an excerpt from one of the funnier paragraphs in "Worthless: The Young Person's Indispensable Guide to Choosing the Right Major" (Paric Publications), Aaron Clarey's hilarious primer for college students who would like to work as something other than nannies and theater interns after graduation.
Worthless degree.pngClarey, a fairly recent economics major (apparently) at the University of Minnesota, can seem at times humanities-challenged (you don't "read" Socrates but, rather, Plato presumably channeling Socrates), and the punctuation in this obviously self-published book will make grammarians wince (Clarey doesn't think much of his seventh-grade English teacher "still teaching English to English-speaking kids"). Still, at 173 short and highly readable pages, "Worthless" ought to be required reading for every college undergraduate even thinking about concentrating in what passes for the liberal arts these days, much less taking on soul-crushing student debt in order to do so.
Boiled down to a few words, Clarey's message is this: Do not under any circumstance waste your or your parents' time, money, and credit rating to acquire a degree titled "Bachelor of Arts." Those degrees are the "worthless" sheepskins of Clarey's book title. Instead, focus on degrees that will promise you a decent living when you graduate. Those degrees are titled "Bachelor of Science," they almost invariably lie in the "STEM" fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), as well as statistics and accounting, and they involve the mastery of math.
Skip Women's Studies--China and India Do
"Yes, math," Clarey writes. "I know at this point most people have probably tuned out. They didn't like math in school. They probably weren't very good at math. And for the most part, people just plain don't like math. To that I respond with one simple word: 'Tough.'" That's because, as Clarey explains, math-based majors produce graduates whom the economy demands--because they are trained to work in fields that produce goods and services that other people want, from cars to healthcare to computer-game consoles. "This not only goes a long way in explaining why liberal art majors face high unemployment and low-paying jobs, but also explains why we have a trade deficit with the likes of China and India whose students DO major in the fields that produce the goods we want," he writes. Clarey maintains that although math may be hard, "it is understandable by the average human brain" as long as the owner of that brain is determined to "turn off the reality TV show, or set down the video game controller, and focus his efforts towards learning math."
The most entertaining sections of "Worthless" contain anecdotes about hapless college graduates who got suckered into spending four years majoring in women's studies--or sociology, anthropology, psychology, or environmental studies--by guidance counselors and proselytizing professors. There's the graduate of the University of Oregon "with degrees in international studies and sociology and a double minor in nonprofit administration and African studies"--now living with her parents after her dream of working for a nonprofit fell through despite her sending out 70 job applications. There's the English major whose most lucrative employment consisted of an internship that didn't pay enough for him to buy food. There's the guy who took out $35,000 in student loans to earn a master's degree in puppetry, only to discover that the best job he could get was as a substitute teacher. "What did you expect with a MASTERS in PUPPETRY?" asks Clarey. (Puppetry falls into a category of degrees that Clarey describes as "New Age Crap," bearing such titles as "Peace Studies," "Social Justice," "Holistic Medicine," and "Master's in Outdoor Recreation."
Clarey reserves his most scathing scorn for majors in "Hyphenated-American" studies. That means "African-American Studies," "Gay/Bi/Lesbian/Transgender-American Studies," and so forth. "Frankly, these are particularly dirty and low degrees, in that they are not only worthless, but they target minority groups as their victims," Clarey writes, pointing out that blacks aren't helped economically by paying tuition to explore their black identity--nor gays helped by paying to explore their gay identity. He can't resist pointing out (via a pie graph on page 133) that 68 percent of the worthless degrees awarded at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, go to women--which might help account for the supposed "wage gap" between the sexes. His advice to females who want to close that gap: Try majoring in a STEM field (only about 20 percent of engineering degrees go to women, so among the other benefits of the major is "that you'll never be without a date," Clarey writes).
As a recipient of a "worthless" college degree myself (I double-majored in English and classics), I wish that Clarey had devoted few more pages to discussing exactly why the liberal arts have become radically devalued in the eyes of prospective employers. Not too long ago a bachelor's degree in history or philosophy signaled that you were smart and could write well, two qualities that employers prized (and still do). Now, a B.A. seems to signal, "I'm a parasite" in search of make-work at a nonprofit, as Clarey bluntly puts it.
The College-for-Everyone Illusion
Clarey does touch on one reason for the decline of the liberal-arts degree: the insistence that everyone, even the academically untalented, go to college. "[T]oday's college degree is the equivalent of the 1950's high school diploma," Clarey writes--and grade inflation hasn't helped. But he doesn't touch on the other reason: the contents of the majors themselves. It's not just that there's a "women's studies" major (and even a doctoral program at some universities); it's that entire academic fields have turned into sub-sectors of women's studies--that is, predictably politicized. To major in English at many institutions these days, you're no longer required to take a course in Shakespeare, but a course in "post-colonial feminist film" is practically mandatory. It's no wonder that employers write off English majors as airheads and look for resumes where the initials "B.S." indicate that the degree's bearer has learned something that might be useful on the job. It's too bad that learning a vocational "trade" or "skill"--as Clarey points out--seems to be the only valid reason for going to college nowadays, but the humanities have only themselves to blame.
That quibble of mine aside, young people thinking about college will do themselves a favor--and also have a few belly-laughs--by reading this book. Some of them, as Clarey hopes, may even decide to bypass college altogether and go directly into learning a trade. (Plumbers and skilled mechanics earn a lot more than substitute teachers.) Or, as Clarey suggests, join the military, where "they will be more than happy to give you serious work." And serious work is better training for the world of work than any pile of degrees.
The problem is now we’ve decided to let EVERYONE into college....
The college experience like everything else in the world has been dumbed-down by the Left...
Some BA majors are still worthwhile. My daughter graduated with a BA in social work at this time last year, interviewed the day after she got home and got a job offer the following week. She traded up six months later and is looking to do so again.
Thanks to libtard policies which produce a seemingly endless supply of broken homes and juvenile delinquents, there will always be a demand for people like her who can help them rehabilitate (if they choose) or pass them on to the adult prison system (if they refuse the opportunity).
Do not ...waste your ...time, money, and credit rating to acquire a degree titled "Bachelor of Arts." ...focus on degrees that will promise you a decent living ... Those degrees are titled "Bachelor of Science," they almost invariably lie in the "STEM" fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics),...
My school stopped offering and phased out the the BA in Mathematics while I was there in the late 1970s. Those already in the program had the choice of BA or BS on the diploma. (I was a CS major) I may have looked up the difference between them in the handbook at the time, but I couldn't tell you now.
When I was in school (Class of 81), the difference was 8 credit hours of in-major classes; BA=28, BS=36
“Some BA majors are still worthwhile. My daughter graduated with a BA in social work at this time last year, interviewed the day after she got home and got a job offer the following week. She traded up six months later and is looking to do so again.”
Careful with her. Most social workers I have known started out believing that they could help people. After a few years they become the most cynical people on the planet and develop a healthy hatred of “poor” people.
I got an MA in Classics (Greek/Latin lit). It is useful if you want to teach the languages, or just wish to preserve our cultural heritage. Beyond that, not worth much else. That is why I spent my last 20 years working in computer security. I used to tell folks that I knew Classical Latin, Ancient Greek, FORTRAN IV, C language, Java, and UNIX scripting.
Get a degree in engineering, you’ll never be unemployed until the day you turn 50...
Yep. Once everyone is a math major, a math degree will be worthless.
I was recently discussing college with an acquaintance who does not agree with me that college isn’t really worthwhile sometimes.
I don’t believe college degrees are really worthwhile unless you’re planning to be a doctor, lawyer, accountant or some other specialized occupation. Maybe it used to be more valuable, but I believe college for the most part has been dumbed down. High school work used to be harder than what they’re teaching in college now.
My friend did not agree with me. Her reasoning is that it proves you can stick to something and finish it and people want to see that and therefore would rather hire a college graduate. That may be part of it, but I believe it’s more of a elitist mentality-if the applicant has graduated from college, they’ve “paid their dues” so to speak. Also, people who go to college are more indoctrinated into the PC mindset which rules almost every business setting.
I’ve worked with people who would rather have the older, more experienced person with no college than the kid who just graduated and can’t even file worth a darn.
Picking a major that relies on math without being able to do math is a total waste. You will drop out because you don't have a foundation to build on.
The reason people don't like math is that they were taught not to like math. Math was presented to them in the most confusing way possible.
What they need to do is actually relearn math from the ground up. There are several programs that will teach you math the right way. Yes, it actually is simple and logical but you will need to start all the way back at the beginning.
It’s sad how much of the average college student’s education is devoted to “bitterness” studies. Sadder still is the amount of students that actually major or have a minor in one of them. Unbelievable. A person focusing their education around these courses will only see a benefit to future income if they integrate its tenents into whatever jobs they take. So, for the most part, these classes are useless other than instilling a sense of anger and self-righteousness in the people who study them. Many people taking these studies would probably not agree with my assessment of their return on investment. Then again, many people taking these studies are probably not the one’s paying for their education.
Not too sure about this.
There seems to be plenty of people with worthless/hyphenated degrees who have secure, highly paid government jobs.
That's why she's looking for her next rung up.
The sad thing is the better paying jobs in the field are working with the worst cases and the best are supervising them.
There are some totally useless lard*sses at the top doing the supervising and some of the best people you'd ever want to meet at the bottom doing the actual work.
“Her reasoning is that it proves you can stick to something and finish it and people want to see that and therefore would rather hire a college graduate. “
Also, many job listings require that you have a four year degree of some kind to even apply. So it’s not worthless.
I doubt it’s worth $30,000 though!
My wife is a social worker, and while she still tries to help people, she has no great amount of respect for most of her colleagues.
The good ones have quit and gone on to other locations and other jobs, or have retired. She hangs on because we are still putting a child through school and retirement is still a few years (but very few) away.
That’s one result of the manufactured egalitarianism movement: that no one should be recognized as having an ability beyond that of any other. That we’re all equal in talent and capacity. Nothing could be further from the truth and the sooner we stop living in that Procrustean universe, the sooner we will restore some measure of coherence to our social structure.
Some of the math “teachers” I had were useless. IMO there is no excuse for not learning math with all the technology available. I HATED Calculus because none of the teachers could teach it to me. Now, it is just an Excel spreadsheet, do the math functions for the cells at an increment across the curve and you are good to go!
It was a lot funnier before I turned 50...