Against Grad School

15:20 Tue 26 Jan 2010
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I’ve posted about reasons not to go to grad school before, but I missed a classic post: “Straight Talk about Grad School”.

My own feelings about my postgrad degrees are largely positive, but I think there’s a big difference between shorter postgrad courses (like mine) and doctoral programs.

The MetaFilter discussion about this post includes a comment quoting this classic:

The At-Home PhD Simulator

  1. Give a $30,000 donation to the university of your choice, on your credit card.
  2. Go to the library and write. Write pages and pages. Every time you reach 50 pages, burn all of them. Repeat for several years.
  3. Take out an ad in Craiglist for someone to pretend to be your advisor. Set up periodic meetings with them where they read your drafts and give you the exact opposite of the advice they gave you three months ago.
  4. Adjunct a course at your local college. Give lots of written work. Submit everything you get to one of the online plagiarism detectors. Despair for humanity.
  5. After ten years, throw a dart at a map. Move where ever it lands for the rest of your life.

All that being said, I’m not sure I’d actually argue against doing a PhD.; I know plenty of people who seem relatively happy to have them. (Although most of those people seem to have done them outside the United States, a factor which may or may not be meaningful.)

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