Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hi everybody! Hi Dr........Jared?!

As some of you know (and by some of you I mean Warren), I am currently working on an application to attend George Mason University part time. I'll start (hopefully) in January and go to evening classes while I work on a master's degree in history. This will take me about three years (because I'll be part time) and I may decide to continue my education further...

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my life, still. I know I don't want to stay at BAI (my current job) forever. I think I'll probably stay here just until I finish my master's degree (one of my benefits is tuition reimbursement for advanced degrees; a little over half of the cost of my higher education will be covered by my company). Then what?

Ultimately, when I picture myself in my dream job, I'm teaching. I don't think it would matter what I was teaching; I just want to teach. Junior high, high school, college, whatever. A master's is definitely a step in the right direction, especially with programs such as No Child Left Behind stepping up the standards for new teachers. But do I want to stop at the master's level?

It occurs to me that I would really enjoy teaching at a university. And if I'm going to get a doctorate, I may as well do it sooner than later. I think I could really dig getting a Ph.D in American studies. Between my political science degree, my history master's, and a cap-off in American studies, I could teach a wide range of classes and do a wide range of research. Plus the subject simply appeals to me. Some of you may have figured that.

It's all a matter of being motivated to do it. I think a lot of it will depend on my experience in a master's program. I graduated from BYU with a small bit of a sour taste in my mouth regarding political science, mostly because so many of the professors treated it as, well, a science. It's not. I got fed up with a lot of research because it was so quantitatively driven. I'm hoping that my experience with a master's in history will be different, especially since I'll be taking a cultural approach. It's hard to quantify what people were singing about, you know? I think that if I find that I enjoy the type of research I'll be doing at GMU, then there's a good chance that I'll go on for my doctorate.

So what do you guys think? If you've continued reading this far, you're apparently interested in my life and I would like your vested opinion on this. I trust you guys and value your thoughts. I guess I wouldn't really expect any of you to throw stones at my musings and out-and-out shoot me down, but I'm still interested in what you have to say.

To help you formulate your opinion and provide levity, I've made a visual conceptualization of what to expect as far as differences between Bachelor Jared and Doctor of Philophy Jared:

Current Jared

Professor Jared

I hope that helps.



Warren said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Warren said...

I for one am looking forward to seeing Doctor of Philophy Jared. If you need some help, I would recommend "Dave Barry Slept Here." It has everything that you need to know about American history (October 8).

(Can you edit comments? I wanted to edit mine but didnt know how, so that's why it's deleted)

JonnyF said...

I think the picture makes it clear that you need to be a professor. How many people do you know who look as good as you do in a bow tie?
In all seriousness, I am a for education in any form. (Everyone: Why did it seem like you weren't taking college very seriously, then? Jon: Shut up.) I think that learning is good for the soul. I have found it fulfilling to be constantly studying for these exams; and Katie is studying algebra from a textbook she got from the library when she is not consuming parenting books. Your education doesn't necessarily need to be from a university, though that is often the best choice as far as employment prospects go. Telling an interviewer your expertise in American Studies wouldn't go over so well if you say, "I checked out some library books," even if you left out that one of them was Dave Barry Slept Here.
Anyway, I say go for the masters and see what happens.

Nick said...

I'm all in favor of Ph.Ds. While I think you'd be an excellent high school teacher, you'd probably like teaching college classes a lot more- something about the kids wanting to be there makes a difference.

I don't know if its the ward I'm in, or my family background, or both, but I've noticed a real lack of interest in higher education. When I tell people I'm getting a PhD either in my ward or extended family, I either get a blank stare accompanied by an "oh, thats nice...", or "what's a PhD?". I'm sure many of them wonder why anyone would want to stay in college longer than they have to. Most of the youth in our ward just plan on either working, or going to a community college after (and if) they graduate. Getting D's and F's in high school is accepted as normal here. Anyway, all that just makes me wish there were more active mormons going into academia and that the general distrust of it that I perceive would be replaced by respect. Again, I hope its just my ward (and my extended family) thats like that.

Warren- I don't think you can edit comments.

JonnyF said...

That is indeed a disturbing observation about the perceived value of education among the youth in your ward, Nick.
-start rant
I think that some people where I live tend to undervalue college education as well - but it's not the young people. It seems to be more common among the older generation who were able to get middle class qualifying jobs with a high school diploma. Often the would be college-bound children have to convince their parents that it's a worthy goal, sometimes without success. Even the parents that are "convinced" are often just lukewarm, and without very much financial (or much of any other kind of) support, the students end up dropping out of Community College and taking the short-term solution of working at the gas station while living at home "to get their bearings". This solution, of course tends to turn into an uncomfortable long-term solution. The irony of the lack of parental support is that there are no more middle-class qualifying entry-level factory jobs. In fact, for many of these parents who have these types of jobs, their jobs are in jeopardy and they know it; yet they don't see the higher education as something even worth non-monetary emotional encouragement for their children.
-end rant
-begin new rant
A lot of people complain about outsourcing and the ill effects of globalization. For example many of the people mentioned in the earlier rant complain that they are competing with people in India, China and Mexico for their jobs.
I have two things to say to that:
"You're absolutely right. You do have to compete with them."
"Ready, go compete."
America isn't perfect, but there is still no better place as far as upward mobility goes. We have more varieties of education easily available than anywhere else in the world. If the university isn't for you, try community college, or ITT tech, even if you're no longer in your twenties. If you're afraid of being outsourced then do something that can't be outsourced, like law, sales, teaching, auto repair, or become an entrepreneur. I guess my point is (as always, it's hard to tell) that in order to successfully compete (I guess that would be "win"), we have to actually make the effort and do something. You can't complain if you sit on the couch all night every night, drinking a beer and watching whichever incarnation of "American Idol" is on. Also, we should remember that the constitution does not explicitly or implicitly give citizens the right to a well-paying job, a middle-class lifestyle, or even a "living wage". We are responsible for our own success.
-end rant

Nick said...

Yeah, its not just the youth. They get it from their parents who have that attitude that you describe. The parents just don't push and or expect their kids to do well in school and go to college. Its sad because they'll all end up worse off than their parents if they don't snap out of it and get motivated.

Jenny said...

I've been meaning to let you know for almost a month ... I vote for Doctor of Philosophy Jared. But that might be in part because I'm projecting my own dissertaional dreams onto you, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

erin said...

Jon, I think you have a really good point in your rant, there. It's okay if people have to work a little harder to keep their jobs...of course, I say that with my job being pretty secure. But there are a lot of options besides getting outsourced if you really don't want to be outsourced. And also, I believe that learning and studying to a good purpose (like learning true things to do good things) is a form of worship.

Jared, I don't think you really could avoid becoming a PhD. It is obviously in your blood and you wear it well...the hood, not the blood.

Speaking of seeing the future, I have practically decided to forgo my intended master's degree and get a nursing degree instead. I tried to make a picture of it but couldn't figure out how to make it show...control c and control v failed me. (You will never hear me make an announcement that I will be a computer engineer.)

Jenny said...

Erin, I'm worried. Do you want to be a nurse so that you'll have easier access to the Percocet? I can just see it now:

Nurse Erin: Hold still, I'm about to give a shot
Patient: OK (holding ... holding ...)
Nurse Erin: I said hold still and be quiet!
Patient: (confused) ok (holding ... holding ...)
Nurse Erin: (to patient) Sorry this is taking so long. The gosh darn needle just won't be quiet!

erin said...

Very funny.

erin said...

All I can say is that I sure hope you got rid of that talking couch...a think like that could give little Lucy nightmares. That's all I can say...the couch might say more, but that's its business.