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Posts Tagged ‘Columbia’

beer-pongI got another round of questions from a reader, to which I’ve responded below:

1. When talking to a graduate of Columbia University (and former professor there) , I asked if he knew any students or taught any students that were/are struggling with depression and he said there was not ONE graduate student he knew that didn’t suffer from both. He says grad school was a “cavalcade of misery, at least for the first three years”. He says he does not know this to be true of undergrad students attending elite schools. Do you believe this to be true?

Could be. I don’t have a graduate degree myself, so I can’t attest to the difficulty of getting one. It seems like PhD programs often get a bad rap (I remember reading a tongue-in-cheek article on the lifestyle of PhD students entitled “So You’ve Chosen to Ruin Your Life”), but I don’t know how dependent it is on the specific school attended. I’m guessing it varies a lot.

As far as intensity of undergrad coursework is concerned, I think it depends heavily on what you study, and I’m guessing the same is true in grad school as well. I found Duke to be an intense and draining experience, but that’s probably because I was pre-med (and a science major) so many of my courses had heavy workloads and were graded on a curve. And since medicine tends to attract some of the best and brightest at the university, I was competing with an above-average demographic for a limited number of A’s, and many of the top students seemed to do nothing but study. If I had pursued sociology or art history instead, I would probably have a very different perspective. Then again, I don’t think Duke is as famous for grade inflation as many of the Ivies are, so the challenge probably varies quite a lot from place to place as well as from program to program.

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Today I offer yet another laundry list of stories, this time focused on top-tier grads who face underemployment, some of whom work in minimum-wage positions.

Harvard to Homeless and Other Anecdotal Evidence Not to Go to Law School
http://butidideverythingrightorsoithought.blogspot.com/2010/09/harvard-to-homeless-and-other-anecdotal_21.html

“In April of 2009, almost one year after I had graduated from Ivy League, I began a pretty hardcore job search […] By September, I had my first job in the restaurant industry serving room service at 6 a.m. “
http://underemployedinnyc.blogspot.com/

“So here I am. Eight years of experience, a Master’s degree, and an Ivy League school. You’d think I could at least get an entry-level position.”
http://gawker.com/5992314/unemployment-stories-vol-32-you-are-slowly-erased-from-the-lives-of-your-friends

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unemployed

For graduates of top-ranked universities, the experience of admitting that you’re unemployed or otherwise unsuccessful can be mortifying. “Oooh, he went to Yale and he still can’t find a job. What a loser.”

Actually, it’s becoming more common all the time.   Below is just a small sampling of what I’m talking about:

Unemployed Yale Graduate Juggles Startup With Fatherhood

Unemployed Banker And MIT Graduate Peddles On The Street For Job

Here’s a personal rant from a Harvard Law graduate:
Unemployed law student will work for $160k plus benefits

You know things are bad when you’re forced to turn to reality TV to find work:
What to Watch on Thursday: Unemployed Duke grad tries “The Apprentice”

Here’s a blog run by an unemployed Columbia grad. This blog includes stories from many other graduates in the same boat:
Ivy Leagued and Unemployed

Another blog, this one from an unemployed Harvard grad – although this one appears to be neglected.
Roller-Coaster Ride of an Unemployed Harvard Graduate

A blog entry from another unemployed Columbia grad (complete with a comment from yours truly):
Confessions of an Unemployed Ivy-League Graduate

Job-search advice from an unemployed Yale graduate:
From Ivy League to Unemployed: How College Grads Should Approach the Job Hunt

Ivy League Law School Graduate Begs for Work on Craigslist

The about page of a dual-Ivy unemployed lawyer:
The Jobless Lawyer

Someone asks advice for an Ivy League MBA who can’t find work:
Expectations of the unemployed

Here’s one unemployed Ivy Leaguer who seems to have turned things around, at least for the short term:
Unemployed Harvard man auctions debut novel on baseball for $650,000

I have no sympathy for this next person, but it still goes to show that a Harvard degree doesn’t guarantee success:
I’m a Harvard grad who can’t hold a fast-food job

An unemployed Dartmouth grad shares her story:
Want Fries With That Frustration?

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