All Posts Tagged With: "Bachelor of Arts"
It wasn’t the prof. It wasn’t the material. It was too easy.
There’s a point in most fizzling relationships when the magic is gone and everyone is just going through the motions. My relationship with the University of the Fraser Valley’s English department reached that point in a Fall 2011 class when, like a threadbare superhero plot, everything just became too easy.
It wasn’t the prof. He was great. It wasn’t the material. I loved that too. I think it was the fact that I scored an A- in the course and knew I didn’t deserve it. Or that we all were scoring grades we didn’t deserve and that the department was convincing us that we earned them.
I remember my friends and I swapping stories about late nights, unfinished readings, rambling and incoherent essays. We attributed our successes to what we called the ‘bullshit’ factor. Our pride protected us from the truth: that we were victims of a system that was exploiting us for tuition.
Salaries, employment rates don’t match perception
Many students pursuing bachelor of arts degrees enter university expecting to need further training or education, so it doesn’t hurt as much if we can only score a minimum wage job after graduation. We’re all aware of the barista with the B.A.
But the realization that a bachelor’s degree doesn’t guarantee a job hits harder for those who believed they chose fields with more jobs and higher pay: bachelor of science students.
Sara Sparavalo, in year four at Dalhousie University in Halifax, is about to graduate with a degree in chemistry and biochemistry. Before university, she was unsure about her chosen career path, yet she expected a bachelor of science degree would give her more opportunities.
What’s wrong with well-educated coffee servers?
The easiest punchline for media commentators on higher education these days is that we have university graduates working as baristas in coffee houses. Sometimes the assumption is that it’s mainly the arts grads consigned to this humiliating fate, and even this piece by Leo Charboneau, which does a generally good job of pointing out the hysteria over youth underemployment, still concedes the bachelor’s-barista link.
It’s time to drop this trope. And not just because it’s too easy.
For one thing, it makes the same old mistake of thinking that the only reason to have a degree is to get a “good” job. We all know that there is more to life than earning a living, and just about every bit of research we have suggests that wealth does not correlate in a meaningful way with happiness—and yet writers go on pretending that the only thing a sane person would want in this world is a hefty pay packet.
As for a good job, why do we so blithely accept that good means high-paying. I’m not at all convinced that barista is a worse job than being, say, an accountant. Is preparing coffee is necessarily a worse job than preparing lay-off notices? Is it really “blind” as one particularly harsh commentator has said, to pursue your dreams even amid economic uncertainty?
A Maclean’s reporter finally graduates from university
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
If I could offer one piece of advice to my fellow graduates in the Class of 2012, it would be this: try to make your mother happy.
I do not intend to suggest this notion should dictate all day-to-day actions. But as a general principle, your mother’s happiness is a good guide. If your mother is pleased—assuming she is of a fairly reasonable mind—you are probably mostly okay. Or at least not in prison.
I have come to this conclusion as my mother’s regularly expressed desire to see her son graduate has compelled me to now finally graduate—a full decade after I last took a university course.