My 18-year-old son has decided on a college major. Philosophy.
I did not point out to him that I haven’t discerned much demand for philosophers. I just finished the book — “You Majored in What?” - about how your college major doesn’t dictate your career, but I still wonder about majoring in a discipline with so few job prospects during a recession.
Should someone at his college have a discussion with him about the practical applications of his degree?
I ran a piece on Get Schooled the other day from a University of Georgia graduate about his lack of success in finding a teaching job, despite strong credentials. The post by UGA grad Mike Vigilant inspired this second note to me by a Get Schooled reader who works in higher education. I am sharing it here with you:
The whole Mike V. thing touched a nerve with me.
Here we (higher ed) are justifiably complaining about the quality of student we’re given to work with and the highly dishonest shell game both the Board of Regents and the Legislature are playing with our profession and our lives.
Yet, our hands are more than a little bit dirty, too.
Every year we graduate students into professions which have no place for them. Teaching, journalism, the arts, and just about anything in the humanities.
We take their money, wish them luck, and ready ourselves for them to come back 5-10 years later to pursue a new and more realistic dream.
Journalism instructors, for example, love to tell students how cutthroat the profession is and how every year U.S. colleges graduate more journalism majors than there are jobs. Yet offer them nothing on how to actually try to find work.
As part of an undergrads’ degree, students should be required to take a class in basic job hunting. How to look for work, how to network and write a resume in their chosen field.
Either that, or we should do the honest thing and quit teaching kids majors we pretty much KNOW they’ll have a tough time competing in.
UGA’s school of education knew — or should have — that this is a hyper bear market for teachers. To send Mike out in the world with apparently no job searching skills and an unrealistic expectation of his prospects is close to criminal.