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Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Why You Don't Have to Go to Grad School

December 28, 2012, 4:30 PM

What's the Latest Development?

For college graduates facing dim employment prospects, the imperative to attend graduate school looms. But is slogging through additional years of class work the only way to begin a career in the field of your choosing? For the hard sciences, says author Ron Rosenbaum, perhaps. For the humanities, however, Rosenbaum has only his own career to examine--one that thrived after leaving Yale's graduate English program after the first year. "I had a good life with the prospect, after some thesis labor, of a secure tenured lifetime," he said. "But it was beginning to feel like a life sentence."

What's the Big Idea? 

Rosenbaum ponders the familiar concern for those facing graduate school: How much of life is in the doing and how much is in the studying? And will tedious work now provide a platform for greater accomplishment in the future? Ultimately, concludes Rosenbaum, students must follow their own path. If the tedium of graduate school is judged to be too much, one must submit to the winds of fate. "And, in fact, as many have noted, the choice to go to graduate school may only offer the illusion of comfort and security—these days it's an arduous path that only rarely leads to tenure; for the unwary it's a wild and expensive gamble with no guarantee of security."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


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