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    Default Re: College life

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    .
    The minimum that I would describe as "ridiculously paid"?

    Any job that involves little risk of causing injury or illness, and little responsibility, and pays enough that one may buy two houses in good condition where people actually want to live, so $250,000 a year in San Francisco?
    Ah, right, San Francisco. I think that's the #1 highest price area in the entire country, or possibly #2 behind New York City. It's been a while since I checked that list. Elsewhere in the country, there are good places to live where housing prices are something like 1/5th as much. I have personal experience with that, as I moved from such an area to Mountain View for a job a few years ago - and my former home was in a highly developed suburban area, not a remote backwater.

    For the kinds of jobs Aliquid was talking about, where you call home isn't particularly relevant to the job because you'll be far away from it for extended periods of time - "massive fishing vessels that spend 8 months at sea" for example. The question is how much do those jobs, which aren't tied to a high priced city area, pay? And given that pay and the freedom to pick from the whole country for your home's location, how does that work out?
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    Default Re: College life

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
    ..For the kinds of jobs Aliquid was talking about, where you call home isn't particularly relevant to the job because you'll be far away from it for extended periods of time -
    .
    The only job like that which I'm familiar with, was back in 2009 my union got (false) announcements that Americans would be hired to do Pipefitting work up in Alberta, Canada on "Tar Sands" oil production.

    I knew some in my local who paid up to get paperwork completed, to apply.

    You would have had to live in a "man camp" away from your family, or indeed any civilization for IIRC $70,000 per year.

    Hardly "ridiculous pay", and no one I knew who was desperate enough to try to get those jobs got any anyway, as there were already enough Canadians to fill them.

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    Default Re: College life

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    .
    The only job like that which I'm familiar with, was back in 2009 my union got (false) announcements that Americans would be hired to do Pipefitting work up in Alberta, Canada on "Tar Sands" oil production.

    I knew some in my local who paid up to get paperwork completed, to apply.

    You would have had to live in a "man camp" away from your family, or indeed any civilization for IIRC $70,000 per year.

    Hardly "ridiculous pay", and no one I knew who was desperate enough to try to get those jobs got any anyway, as there were already enough Canadians to fill them.
    Funny, I know of people that went to work in the "Tar Sands" (Fort McMurray), and came home with wads of cash. I don't know specifically what the salaries were, but I believe it had a base salary of over 90K, and they got a lot of overtime shifts, so they brought home much more than that. Also, the company they worked for covered your lodging and meals etc at the "man camp" on top of that... so your cost of living is right near zero if you avoid partying etc. They did say it was miserable, but worth it if you were young and willing to sacrifice a couple of years for cash.
    Last edited by Aliquid; 2017-12-21 at 06:39 PM.

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    If 100k a year won't get you a one bedroom apartment you are living in the wrong place. Flat out.

    Edit: also those 70k a year jobs you're looking at for living in a man camp, they work like 119 hour weeks so they make probably double at least what you would expect based on their base pay

    Edit 2: Also you realize that 250k a year is the threshold for being in the top two percent of income and that's household income not individual income. So I'd say that San Francisco is just a really really bad metric for what is actually good money.
    Last edited by AMFV; 2017-12-21 at 07:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    They did say it was miserable, but worth it if you were young and willing to sacrifice a couple of years for cash.
    .
    That is not being paid "ridiculously", that is being compensated for your sacrifice.

    I've known too many, desperate to keep a job or buy a house who worked a lot of overtime, and for most of them their reward was divorce, missing seeing their children grow up, losing half of their pension, and being forced out of their homes.

    Years of your life are precious, as is seeing your children, and having a marriage.

    What good are "wads of cash" in a wilderness away from your loved ones?

    Paid I don't question, even paid "a lot" I'll accept, but that the jobs you cite as "ridiculously paid"?

    I very much question the "ridiculously" part.

    Frankly I can't think of anyone who does heavy lifting for a job, or risks crippling on the job injuries or death as overpaid.

    I once saw a complaint about how high garbage collectors are paid for their "unskilled" labor.

    Every hour a garbage collector is on the job is one that they're more likely to be killed than are Police and Fire Fighters during their work.

    Loggers, Fishermen, farm laborers are even more likely to die on the job.

    How much is risking your life worth?

    A guy who was an apprentice at my local, the same time I was, got crippled on the job and will never walk again.

    I clearly remember the bloodstains all over when a pile driver at the jobsite I was at lost both his arms.

    How much pay is it worth to risk that?

    My former tenant, the University Professor on the other hand?

    He was paid ridiculously, except possibly for the fact that so few college students ever get to be tenured professors, so there's that whole "brass ring" thing.

    Sort of like actors.

    Hollywood superstars make bank, but most community theater actors?

    They're paid nothing really.




    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    If 100k a year won't get you a one bedroom apartment you are living in the wrong place. Flat out.
    .
    100K a year to rent a one bedroom apartment (if your not too picky), I was saying it's not enough to buy a not falling apart two bedroom house without bullet holes close to where someone is likely to be paid a 100K (I make slightly over that).

    also those 70k a year jobs you're looking at for living in a man camp, they work like 119 hour weeks so they make probably double at least what you would expect based on their base pay
    .
    True, but I don't think that's being "ridiculously paid" for that work.

    Also you realize that 250k a year is the threshold for being in the top two percent of income and that's household income not individual income. So I'd say that San Francisco is just a really really bad metric for what is actually good money.
    .
    I didn't say good money, I said "ridiculously paid", "in San Francisco", and I listed conditions.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    .
    The minimum that I would describe as "ridiculously paid"?

    Any job that involves little risk of causing injury or illness, and little responsibility, and pays enough that one may buy two houses in good condition where people actually want to live, so $250,000 a year in San Francisco?
    .
    And even at that level of pay, I've known a few that I think it's reasonable for them to be paid that much.

    Off the top of my head, I've had to do some work in the autopsy room at General Hospital, and The Hall of Justice, and if someone is working there 80 hours a week, while they're bodies out, I do think that's reasonable pay.

    Also, when you AMFV served overseas, from some of the hints you've given, yeah you should've been paid that much.

    Or al least enough to buy a decent house, that's not in Detroit.
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    Oh man. I was in college for 11 years. Donít really want to think of it :P
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    Default Re: College life

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    .
    The minimum that I would describe as "ridiculously paid"?

    Any job that involves little risk of causing injury or illness, and little responsibility, and pays enough that one may buy two houses in good condition where people actually want to live, so $250,000 a year in San Francisco?

    As to what some jobs pay?

    I work for the City and County of San Francisco, and these are some links that show salaries for these City Jobs:


    Pipe Welder



    Plumber



    Physician Specialist


    None of those three jobs pay enough to now buy a two bedroom, one bathroom house inside City Limits, or within 50 miles of the City, that isn't a toxic wreck in a high crime area.

    As far as I know, someone used to be able to buy a two bedroom 1,000 square foot home for those salaries, if they're willing to drive more than a hundred miles to work, and endure a five hour commute, but I haven't known anyone who's done that in the last five years, so I don't know if that's still true.

    My boss did buy a house up in Sonoma County, and he starts driving at 3:30AM, which cuts his drive time to 60 minutes, and he then sleeps in his office till just before the 7AM start time.

    I live closer (a 45 to 120 minute commute), but me and my wife bought when houses were cheaper (wages were a little less then, but not that much less).

    I absolutely could not even buy the worst teardown condition house in our area today, so I don't consider myself paid "ridiculously".
    .......

    You should come to Alabama. There's some houses for sale near me, we could be neighbors and hang out. I'm pretty sure you could but a house around here outright if you have anything saved. Like, I got a three bedroom, two bath, two garage house, and that's not even counting the free spare house it came with. Nice neighborhood, too.

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    Last edited by Peelee; 2017-12-21 at 10:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    .
    That is not being paid "ridiculously", that is being compensated for your sacrifice.

    I've known too many, desperate to keep a job or buy a house who worked a lot of overtime, and for most of them their reward was divorce, missing seeing their children grow up, losing half of their pension, and being forced out of their homes.

    Years of your life are precious, as is seeing your children, and having a marriage.

    What good are "wads of cash" in a wilderness away from your loved ones?
    I don't disagree. This thread is about going to college etc. so it is generally geared towards young people just starting out. If you are young and unattached and not tied down, it is a good way to get work experience and money. You come back with enough cash for a down-payment and enough work experience to get a decent job.

    If you go right out of high-school and go for the "unskilled" jobs at the Tar Sands or on an oil rig where they train you on site, you can still pull off $60K per year, $90K a year if you put in overtime... so consider this:

    High school graduate A - Goes the typical 4 year Bachelor's degree. Has to work long hours studying, plus a part time retail job to help make ends meet gets bunt out. After 4 years, will have an average of $30,000 in student loan debt, no job and no work experience (yet)

    High school graduate B - Goes and works 4 years in the Tar Sands. Works long hours of physical labor, and gets burnt out. After 4 years (if he/she doesn't blow their salary on booze and partying), could walk away with $100,000 in savings.

    Now... 20 years later, the college graduate will be earning a better salary than the trades-person. But if you invest strategically, the "head start" for "student A" might be worth it.


    Paid I don't question, even paid "a lot" I'll accept, but that the jobs you cite as "ridiculously paid"?

    I very much question the "ridiculously" part.
    Ok, I take that back then. I guess I was using hyperbole.

    Frankly I can't think of anyone who does heavy lifting for a job, or risks crippling on the job injuries or death as overpaid.

    I once saw a complaint about how high garbage collectors are paid for their "unskilled" labor.

    Every hour a garbage collector is on the job is one that they're more likely to be killed than are Police and Fire Fighters during their work.
    I have heard that complaint too, and I agree with your stance.

    My former tenant, the University Professor on the other hand?

    He was paid ridiculously, except possibly for the fact that so few college students ever get to be tenured professors, so there's that whole "brass ring" thing.

    Sort of like actors.

    Hollywood superstars make bank, but most community theater actors?

    They're paid nothing really.
    What people get paid in our society isn't even vaguely tied to the value they bring to society, the risks they take, or the effort they put in... but that's a whole different topic, and a topic that can't be discussed without violating forum rules.
    Last edited by Aliquid; 2017-12-21 at 11:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    .......

    You should .
    .
    Thanks @Peelee, so to not further derail this thread,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    I don't disagree. This thread is about going to college etc. so it is generally geared towards young people just starting out....
    .


    That's very true, and it's good of you to remind me of that!

    Ok, I take that back then. I guess I was using hyperbole.
    .
    Thanks, I'm more used to CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation points!!! when hyperbole is used, but I still should have recognized it as such and I apologize for my prickliness.

    I have heard that complaint too, and I agree with your stance.

    What people get paid in our society isn't even vaguely tied to the value they bring to society, the risks they take, or the effort they put in... but that's a whole different topic, and a topic that can't be discussed without violating forum rules.
    .
    Another good point, that is also kind of you to remind me of.

    Thank you.


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    Default Re: College life

    I really wish I would have researched what jobs I was really into before getting my BA in Culinary Arts and Nutritional Science. I now run a game store that I own, the start up for it was cheaper then my student debt that has never earned me a single dollar. My high school DnD group ended up being all the contacts I ever needed to pursue my career. My father is still paying off his doctorate in computer science from the 80's while working at Lowes as a stocker making a little more then min. wage. My husband works is a high school drop out, and he makes more then my father does and with tons less debt.

    The moral of the story really is, assess your interests and find out exactly what education is required, don't go for any more then what is required. Get job experience as soon as you can in that field, and you will be fine.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Tialait View Post
    I really wish I would have researched what jobs I was really into before getting my BA in Culinary Arts and Nutritional Science. I now run a game store that I own, the start up for it was cheaper then my student debt that has never earned me a single dollar. My high school DnD group ended up being all the contacts I ever needed to pursue my career. My father is still paying off his doctorate in computer science from the 80's while working at Lowes as a stocker making a little more then min. wage. My husband works is a high school drop out, and he makes more then my father does and with tons less debt.

    The moral of the story really is, assess your interests and find out exactly what education is required, don't go for any more then what is required. Get job experience as soon as you can in that field, and you will be fine.
    Well said!

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    Would the Air Force have paid for your PhD, btw?

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    One more piece of college advice: plan your schedule each term as strategically as you can and try to build a schedule that plays to your strengths. You will almost certainly not get into every single class you want, particularly your first few terms, so you can't optimize as much as you may want to, but there are still things you can do.

    This is something most high school students have no experience doing because they're not used to choices, but it can make a big difference in their success.

    In my case, I get overwhelmed by writing papers, or even writing reflective journals, if I have to do too much of it at once. I'm a fairly good writer (of course, saying that means there will be lots of spelling and grammar errors in this post), but I have trouble with both picking appropriate paper topics (I tend to pick something that the class topic makes me wonder about, which generally puts me into topics which are hard to research without more background in the field) and with managing my time to get the papers done. I also get perfectionistic and revise too much when journaling for a class even if I'm not being graded on voice and mechanics. I eventually realized that this meant I needed to avoid taking any class I did not need for graduation if it was going to involve a bunch of writing, so I could save my limited writing ability each term for the classes I most needed.

    I tried to balance my schedule each term, when possible, as follows: no more than one "paper-writing" class, one or two "homework, midterm, and final" classes, one or two performance-based classes, one or two project-based classes. My major was Communication, so I had to research which classes would be paper-based and which would rely more on, say, a final presentation to the class or a series of projects. (I would much rather give a speech to a roomful of people and then conduct a Q&A rather than write a paper, which I realize is not universally true.)

    I generally ended up taking a paper-writing-required class in Communication, a homework-and-tests class or two in Computer Science and/or Mathematics, at least one Music Performance class (always at least one choir, sometimes also other things), and some sort of test and/or project based class in Communication. (I ended up taking most of my electives in computer science or math just because they seemed to use a different part of my brain than my major so if I was burned out on one of my classes I could still work on another. I'm told that most people don't find taking upper-division computer science classes as electives a good way to lower their workload, but I really hated writing papers and I didn't have to write any papers when I took things like algorithms or differential equations, just keep up with the problems sets and pass tests.)

    I am also not a morning person. At all. I struggle to stay aware in any class before about 10am unless it involves moving around a lot. (This is still true now over a decade later, and it really has nothing to do with "partying", which I pretty much didn't do at all in college, and has everything to do with my own sleep/wake cycle. I just have trouble falling asleep until pretty late at night and will fall into an up 'til 3am/sleep 'til noon rhythm whenever not prevented from doing so by needing to be somewhere.) I couldn't always arrange my schedule to fit my preferred hours, but I definitely did not take things that started early in the morning unless I had to, and I let that influence which classes I took for things with lots of different options such as classes I took to meet some of the Gen Ed requirements.

    I'm not suggesting that you use the same schedule I did, but think about your own strengths and weaknesses when choosing your schedule. Try to spread your hardest classes (whichever those will be for you) out so you aren't taking all of them during the same term, and don't load up on "easy" classes right off the bat since that'll mean a term of all hard classes later. (This is a particular problem for students going into STEM who "got all of their Gen Eds out of the way" in a dual credit high school/college situation and roll into college with junior standing but little toward their major. It's really best to nibble away at your major requirements each term if you're in STEM.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    Would the Air Force have paid for your PhD, btw?
    Not the whole thing.
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    So, I think the TL;DR of this thread is: "College" is not just a single experience. Someone attending an elite university in hopes of getting PhD and enter academia is going to have a very different experience from someone attending a social college looking to build connections, which is very different from someone preparing to enter a well-paid college-required field like doctor, lawyer, or engineer, which is very different from using college as a gateway to a professional athletic career, which is very different from using college as a chance to learn and explore with no particular post-graduation plans.

    Good luck, TheFederalist!

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    Itís late, so I havenít really bothered to read all of the posts before me, but as someone who went through undergrad, masterís, and (currently) PhD in physics at a cutthroat university, I happen have a lot of familiarity with burnout. Research it. Do whatever you can to avoid it. Iíve known many bright students whose careers were cut short because they couldnít strike a balance between life and work. Hubris and not knowing your personal limitations can be just as harmful as procrastination. At least procrastination doesnít necessarily end relationships or harm your mental health, so the results can be arguably worse. Burnout can stay with you long after being ejected from school.

    Wherever you end up, know what mental health resources the university has to offer its students. Add the number to your address book. Keep it on speed dial. Gather information and never hesitate to seek help if you feel overwhelmed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcivo View Post
    Itís late, so I havenít really bothered to read all of the posts before me, but as someone who went through undergrad, masterís, and (currently) PhD in physics at a cutthroat university, I happen have a lot of familiarity with burnout. Research it. Do whatever you can to avoid it. Iíve known many bright students whose careers were cut short because they couldnít strike a balance between life and work. Hubris and not knowing your personal limitations can be just as harmful as procrastination. At least procrastination doesnít necessarily end relationships or harm your mental health, so the results can be arguably worse. Burnout can stay with you long after being ejected from school.

    Wherever you end up, know what mental health resources the university has to offer its students. Add the number to your address book. Keep it on speed dial. Gather information and never hesitate to seek help if you feel overwhelmed.
    Good point!

    Never be ashamed to want/need assistance. Whether that's study groups and/or tutors, or mental health counseling, everybody needs help sometimes. It's always better to get the assistance you need than to refuse it out of pride.
    Last edited by ve4grm; 2018-01-04 at 10:38 AM.

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    One unexpected benefit I found about college life (on which your mileage will vary hugely, but this is how it was for me in my location with my program): you're almost automatically seen as a better person for being a student.

    Not for having a degree mind you, a jobless person with a degree is still just a lazy jobless person and you shouldn't hire them or get too close if you can avoid it. But a student, even if they spend a few years being that jobless person living off the few lucky breaks of employment that came their way, that's a motivated trustworthy fellow. Possibly even better than one of those mundane people with a steady job. If you're going for a degree anyway but you have some side ambitions in which you could really use some experience or you could simply use the money a (side) job provides: apply for stuff while you're still a student. Or lie you still are one, either of those.

    Being a student is a lot more work than being in high school, but there's also way less annoyances you can't avoid at all, and most of the people you work with are somewhat emotionally developed, so it's easily better all in all, aside from the debt issue which I luckily had less problems with where I live.
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    I just came across an article from last Sunday's New York Times (ďHigher Ed's Low Moment" by Frank Bruni) where I found this relevant statement: "Or this unsettling, dangerous paradox: At a time when a college degree is one of the surest harbingers of higher earnings and better economic security, college itself is regarded with skepticism by many Americans and outright contempt by no small number of them."

    The author implies in the article that colleges have to do a better job of explaining why they are so valuable. I sympathize because I believe they felt as I did; the benefit was so obvious that it needed no explanation.
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    Default Re: College life

    For jobs that require technical knowledge clearly college is used to obtain said knowledge. For jobs that don't require specialized degrees at all, college is merely an extra factor to distinguish you from everyone else applying for the job. That's why having the degree even if it's completely unrelated to the job can be valuable. The supply of workers for those types of jobs is high and thus there needs to be a quick and easy way to weed people out. College degree is the first one that's used. Presumably after that the type of degree can be used if there is still a glut of applicants.

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    Default Re: College life

    Quote Originally Posted by ve4grm View Post
    Good point!

    Never be ashamed to want/need assistance. Whether that's study groups and/or tutors, or mental health counseling, everybody needs help sometimes. It's always better to get the assistance you need than to refuse it out of pride.
    Exactly. As someone who's made ample use of these resources, I can't stress it enough. Pride isn't even in the equation. In the absolute worst-case scenario where you somehow embarrass yourself in front of a professional licensed psychologist, no one else is ever going to find out. Besides, if you're like I was in undergrad, you'll check your student fees every semester and have a mild heart attack. Since you're paying for these services whether you want to or not, you might as well make use of them.
    To see the World in a Grain of Sand
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    Default Re: College life

    You should always see if there are PDF downloads for your books or if you can rent them from Google or chegg. The university book store is a rip off
    Last edited by tlhopbow; 2018-01-15 at 06:21 PM.

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    Default Re: College life

    Quote Originally Posted by tlhopbow View Post
    You should always see if there are PDF downloads for your books or if you can rent them from Google or chegg. The university book store is a rip off
    Amazon does rentals for dirt cheap.
    Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking).

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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

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    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    I'm going to cut in here, that is DEFINITIVELY not the truth. A worthless degree is worse than having no degree and may actually really hurt you in looking for work particularly certain kinds of work. I mean if you get a BA in Art Therapy, and I get a Carpenters Journeyman Card, which of us do you think is more likely to make bank money?
    Your evidence doesn't really support your assertion. Even if we give you the answer you expect for your rhetorical question (which, intended or not, comes off as a tad bit patronizing), it doesn't prove that a "worthless degree is worse than having no degree." All it would prove is that the degree is worth less financially than getting qualified in a skilled trade, which frankly is--to use your words--a somewhat worthless argument to make. Your argument is only true in the sense that getting any degree--or making any choice--theoretically carries the opportunity cost of a possibly better choice. By your logic, a CS degree from a school like Carnegie Melon or MIT is worse than having no degree at all because you could have just dropped out and founded Facebook instead.

    The points that I think you're trying to make are good ones--skilled trade jobs are vital and undervalued culturally, which means that they're even more financially rewarding as too few young people move into those fields, and too many folks pick degree programs apparently based on "sexiness" of the field without actually considering how they'll be making money after they graduate.

    My experience on the hiring side is admittedly limited both in scope and in the fact that it was in an industry that actually cared about what you learned in college, and with an employer that could be a bit picky about what schools it hired from, but I can't really say I would consider any degree worse than worthless. At the very least, a degree shows the ability to make a commitment, complete challenging tasks, and follow through, and to that extent there are quite a few schools, and quite a few degree programs within certain schools, that I would consider close to worthless, especially on that middle count, but even I'm not arrogant or judgmental enough to say, "You got a degree from this diploma mill? Well, you're probably an idiot and I'm going to hold this choice against you." If you really want a degree in philosophy or art therapy or whatever worthless diploma du jour the catty AMFVs are mocking today, you think it will enrich you in some non-financial way, and you have a reasonable and plausible plan for paying for that degree and supporting yourself after you get it, it's not my place to judge you. Just don't go in thinking that the degree with have an economic value that it doesn't, and don't be blind to the fact that the price of your personal enrichment comes not just in the form of tuition, but the opportunity cost of not being able to spend that time working towards long-term financial stability.
    Last edited by Xyril; 2018-01-23 at 03:08 PM.

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    Default Re: College life

    Quote Originally Posted by tlhopbow View Post
    You should always see if there are PDF downloads for your books or if you can rent them from Google or chegg. The university book store is a rip off
    I don't know how I feel about the first option. Admittedly, I was a shameless pirate during my broke college days, and I wholeheartedly agree that there's something seriously broken with the business structure of textbooks, journals, and academic publishing in general, but having seen the effort that goes into actually putting academic texts together, I do feel bad ripping off the authors. And unlike most entertainment media, I think you can make a pretty strong argument that a large percentage of textbook piracy represents lost sales--I can't imagine that there are many people who would want to read an engineering textbook on a whim, but then abandon the pursuit entirely when he realizes he has to pay for it. Plus, I really dislike working with pirate pdfs since they tend to be page by page scans, and aren't well-formatted for digital reading.

    For an essentially free alternative, go to your university library. Any decent school will have most, if not all, course texts on reserve--made available to be checked out on the order of hours. Just as an example, my public law school library had about a dozen copies of each textbook used in the 100 person first year courses on reserve. The policy was to allow a 4 hour loan, renewable in person if and only if other copies were available and nobody was asking for them. If your four hours end after closing, you could take the book home and the timer didn't start again until the library reopened. (Late fines were pretty steep though.) Anything supplanted by a newer edition gets put into general circulation, meaning that as a last resort, you could have a slightly outdated book, for free, for the entire semester. In STEM fields or books with homework problems, you should be careful about major changes from the old editions, but often the update is mainly cosmetic.

    If you're going to a reasonably well-funded university, they might even have a decent number of copies of textbooks for more long term use--they might be in special reserves of some sort, so be sure to ask the librarians. My ex was PhD student at the same public university, and almost never bought textbooks. The university library had only a few copies on hand for general circulation, but it was part of an interlibrary loan network. Most topics in her field had at least two or three widely used texts, and any given semester, at least a few schools in the network were teaching from a different book, meaning that someone willing to go through the slight hassle of making the interlibrary loan request had a good chance of getting a free book, renewable as many times as needed.

    I have little personal experience with this, but an increasing number of universities have departments or spinoff organizations specifically to help who need it. Usually focused on people from poorer backgrounds and students who are the first in their family to attend college, they usually offer guidance and advice that many of us take for granted--I didn't think much about it at the time, but in retrospect, I was incredibly blessed to have teachers, parents, and a guidance counselor who not only expected me to go to college, but were also happy to share their own experiences about what it's actually like. They also give more tangible support by telling you where to borrow books for free, or having their own library on hand specifically for these students.

    If you exhaust these options, or you just want a cheaper way to own your own book, you can do a bit of research and find a way to buy used textbooks for better prices than the bookstore or Amazon. Selling back to these companies will get you substantially less than half of what you paid, even in near mint condition, and barring a lot of luck, you'll still be paying at least 70% or so buying those same used books, so if you offer half or a bit less than half the cover price, you'll usually find someone happy to sell. Student organizations that are either academically related or simply huge are often a good way to go. In fact, I remember during the activities fair during the first week of classes, the society of physics students were actually selling a bunch of used copies of the first year physics textbooks right at their table. If you plan your courses ahead of time and know what you'll need, you'll usually get good prices if you offer to buy used books at the end of a semester, since people will be happy not to have to deal with storage or moving. Some of the bigger student organizations had hundreds of marginally involved members on their list-serve (probably using Facebook groups today), and if you feel comfortable posting around exam time offering to take a book off someone's hands, you'll probably get a few offers. At risk of reinforcing stereotypes, all of the Asian cultural groups pretty much became a giant bazaar for premed textbooks at the beginning and end of each semester, and during the latter it was generally a buyer's market.

    This probably falls under the general header of "Amazon," but it's worth noting specifically that international editions are sometimes a much cheaper alternative. One caveat is that--like with using older editions--you should be very careful about researching the differences and making sure they don't bite you in the butt later. I did this once, and the main difference is that the international version had a few problems changed and most problems numbered differently, so I used it for studying and took scans from a friend's book or a reserve copy for homework assignments.
    Last edited by Xyril; 2018-01-23 at 04:20 PM.

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    Default Re: College life

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    I don't know how I feel about the first option. Admittedly, I was a shameless pirate during my broke college days, and I wholeheartedly agree that there's something seriously broken with the business structure of textbooks, journals, and academic publishing in general, but having seen the effort that goes into actually putting academic texts together, I do feel bad ripping off the authors.
    I know a few people who've written textbooks - the authors make basically no money. You could literally mail them a five dollar bill with a note that says "I got a used copy of your book" (no need to admit to piracy), and from the perspective of their bottom line you've effectively bought one if not several books from them.

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