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Humanities Hell

The Chronicle of Higher Education writes that studying the humanities in graduate school is a recipe for hardship and poverty. “Most undergraduates don't realize that there is a shrinking percentage of positions in the humanities that offer job security, benefits, and a livable salary (though it is generally much lower than salaries in other fields requiring as many years of training). They don't know that you probably will have to accept living almost anywhere, and that you must also go through a six-year probationary period at the end of which you may be fired for any number of reasons and find yourself exiled from the profession. They seem to think becoming a humanities professor is a reliable prospect—a more responsible and secure choice than, say, attempting to make it as a freelance writer, or an actor, or a professional athlete—and, as a result, they don't make any fallback plans until it is too late. I have found that most prospective graduate students have given little thought to what will happen to them after they complete their doctorates. They assume that everyone finds a decent position somewhere, even if it's ‘only’ at a community college (expressed with a shudder). Besides, the completion of graduate school seems impossibly far away, so their concerns are mostly focused on the present.”
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