The Big Lie about the “Life of the Mind” (Chronicle of Higher Education)
…The ranks of new Ph.D.’s and adjuncts these days are mainly composed of people from below the upper-middle class: people who believe from infancy that more education equals more opportunity. They see the professions as a path to security and status…
…The myth of the academic meritocracy powerfully affects students from families that believe in education, that may or may not have attained a few undergraduate degrees, but do not have a lot of experience with how access to the professions is controlled. Their daughter goes to graduate school, earns a doctorate in comparative literature from an Ivy League university, everyone is proud of her, and then they are shocked when she struggles for years to earn more than the minimumwage. (Meanwhile, her brother—who was never very good at school—makes a decent living fixing HVAC systems with a six-month certificate from a for-profit school near the Interstate.)…
William Pannapacker (“Thomas Benton”), associate professor of English at Hope College, in Holland, Mich.
The Big Lie about the “Life of the Mind” (Chronicle of Higher Education).
See also: “Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don’t Go,” and the follow-up essay. HT: Storied Theology
BTW, I came very close to pursuing my own HVAC certificate the year after I graduated with my Masters of Divinity.