But degrees, particularly advanced degrees, are increasingly less so thanks to the magic of technology and the Law of Supply and Demand. Dr. Helen points us to Slate:
I deeply regret going to graduate school, but not, Ron Rosenbaum, because my doctorate ruined books and made me obnoxious. (Granted, maybe it did: My dissertation involved subjecting the work of Franz Kafka to first-order logic.) No, I now realize graduate school was a terrible idea because the full-time, tenure-track literature professorship is extinct. After four years of trying, I’ve finally gotten it through my thick head that I will not get a job—and if you go to graduate school, neither will you.
You might think your circumstances will be different. So did I. There’s a little fable from Kafka, appropriately called “A Little Fable,” that speaks to why this was very stupid:
“Alas,” said the mouse, “the world gets smaller every day. At first it was so wide that I ran along and was happy to see walls appearing to my right and left, but these high walls converged so quickly that I’m already in the last room, and there in the corner is the trap into which I must run.”
“But you’ve only got to run the other way,” said the cat, and ate it.
The mouse wasn’t going in the wrong direction so much as it was walking cat food the entire time. A graduate career is just like this, only worse, because “A Little Fable” lasts three sentences and is made up, while graduate school lasts at least six years and will ruin your life in a very real way.
Staying in school in order to avoid facing the economic environment isn’t merely cowardly, it is self-defeating. It shouldn’t be as hard as it seems to be for people with 16+ years of “education” to figure out that the more there is of something, the less everyone else tends to value it. And just because a decision made sense in your parents’ day, or your grandparents’ day, doesn’t mean that it still makes sense now.
The frightening thing is that far from learning from all the warnings, young Americans are going ever more heavily into student loan debt.