Free advice.

I’m going to miss the group of Wayne State students we have working for GrossePointeToday.com this term. They’re smart, energetic, capable, everything a hyperlocal website needs. What’s more, they’ve given me something every editor wants over time — improvement. It’s a pleasure to handle their copy.

Every so often people ask what I tell journalism students about their prospects for a career in journalism. Over time, I’ve developed a short speech. It goes like this: “I don’t know what your future holds for your chosen field. Recent events would suggest the outlook is grim. The very best of you will probably get work somewhere in journalism, but most of you won’t have it easy and some will strike out. Change your major while you still have time, but stay in this class to learn to be a better observer, a sharper questioner, a less credulous media consumer and a more careful writer. They are skills that will serve you in any field you choose.”

How does that sound? I can’t lie to them, but I believe what I tell them: Studying journalism will, if nothing else, make them better news consumers, and brother, we need those more than ever. Last night at the gym, I grabbed the last treadmill for a 20-minute speed-walk to nowhere, and found myself face-to-face with the TV tuned to Fox News. Glenn Beck was on, and even the closed-caption Glenn Beck is hard to take. G. Gordon Liddy was pimping gold during the commercial breaks, alternating with Beck pimping his book. I considered for a minute when the last time I heard gold touted as a serious investment option outside of the apocalypse-now media. The early ’80s, I guess, the time of runaway interest rates and dark mutterings in corners about Krugerrands vs. Maple Leafs. Which reminded me of a police report I saw recently, in which the officer noted the homeowner’s loss to thieves: One Rolex Oyster, several coogerands. I can say with authority that journalism has taught me to spell the South African gold coin correctly.

(Although I always have to check. Two Gs and one R, or the other way around?)

And now it’s time to go. Editing copy put me behind, and now I’m off to the gym and various holiday/maternal obligations. Lucky for me I got a whole extra hour of sleep today and Alan made coffee so strong I’m risking v-fib. Today’s question: How much of your formal education have you left behind in your life?

Posted at 9:54 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' |
 

52 responses to “Free advice.”

  1. LAMary said on December 15, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Rands are the currency in South Africa, so remember that someone named Kruger has a Rand named after him. I wouldn’t devote too much brain space to this because I doubt it will come up often
    Sometimes I think I’ve lost about 90 percent of my education from kindergarten to the few grad classes I took. Odd bits come back to me when needed, though. Mostly I think I learned how to learn and developed a desire to learn more,so that’s something. I see my own kids not getting nearly as much US history as I had, that’s for sure. I’ve retained more than they’ve learned in that subject.

  2. Jean S said on December 15, 2009 at 10:29 am

    oh, this allows me to tell one of my favorite stories about my husband…when he left Rutgers, MA in History in hand, an MBA-obsessed fellow sneered at him during a job interview: “History! why the hell would I ever want to hire someone with a degree in history?” John cooly replied, “Well, I can read, write and think. You need anyone with those skills?”

  3. Jen said on December 15, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I like your speech to journalism majors. The thing is, a lot of them probably won’t heed your advice. I wouldn’t have when I was in journalism school. I’m mostly happy doing what I’m doing, I keep diversifying myself and learning to do a lot of different things at the newspaper company I work for (in addition to reporting, I take photos, do layout, blog, edit video and moderate our online forums) and hope that strategy will either keep me employed here or help me get employment somewhere else if I need to. I seem to have good luck and I’m generally able to land on my feet, so I’m hoping that holds out, too. *knock on wood*

    I remember really weird things from school, mostly facts that come up in Jeopardy clues. I love to learn, though, and I keep reading books and internet articles on various subjects. I just didn’t like school as well because we didn’t just get to learn – we had to take tests on the stuff. I double-majored in Journalism and History, and I always hated the history tests because there was always a section where we’d have to remember exact dates of events. Who cares? That’s not the stuff I need in my brain, because I can look it up. Now, the essay questions when they asked why events were significant, I could totally rock those. That, to me, is what they should be teaching in history class.

  4. Julie Robinson said on December 15, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I’d go along with Mary–I learned how to learn and think and to value learning and thinking. Actually, I inhaled those values every day at home but my education cemented them. Learning to think and write are not taught at business schools and IMHO it’s business school values that got our country in our present mess.

    But is it irresponsible for J-schools to continue churning out grads? As a religious studies major I can hardly say it is. No one ever said job to me in college.

  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 15, 2009 at 10:51 am

    I’d say a journalism bachelor’s degree makes as much sense as, say, anthropology/political science as a double major, or a master’s of divinity.

    Even a chemical engineering degree doesn’t guarantee what you’ll be working in ten years down the road. If you can communicate that, i wouldn’t push the “change majors” angle at all. A science degree is not exchangeable with a humanities degree, so there’s a certain amount of sorting, but it’s very broad. After that, it’s graduate degrees and/or skill development and proof of proficiency. That’s the job part — the degree should be about learning to read, write, and think, as Jean’s husband said, with allowance for going into the general type of knowledge work (science, engineering, management, etc.) you want to end up working in. But the BA/BS degree isn’t and shouldn’t be a vocational program, if only on practical grounds. It’s about the final stages of making your brain a self-managing learner in an unforeseeable future of information flow.

    But a master’s in journalism makes no sense, unless you want to go on to a PhD program. Yes, i often say the same thing to M.Div. candidates, but it doesn’t stop many. A seminary degree is becoming required only for going to the largest churches or ending up working in the governance structure; as for getting a decent paying job in the first ten to fifteen, it’s of marginal value.

  6. Laura Lippman said on December 15, 2009 at 11:02 am

    The coogerand is clearly the currency of attractive women over forty, on the prowl for younger men.

  7. Julie Robinson said on December 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

    JeffTMMO: in my denomination you cannot serve any church without an MDiv, and the same for the denomination our daughter has joined. Are you really saying that pastors don’t need a grounded theological education? Sarah went to seminary because after several years of working with youth pastors and church camps she saw too many who couldn’t sustain their ministry, and inevitably they hadn’t had seminary training. I am always astounded at people who have been “ordained” without even any college. Just having good intentions is not enough.

  8. Connie said on December 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

    My MA in Library Science has almost nothing to do with what I actually do all these years later. My work is mostly finances – in the millions – personnel management — over 100, politics and public relations. I do still know how to file cards in the card catalog, a truly useful skill in this digital age.

    My kid is applying to IU for a Masters in Public Policy. I predict that she will someday end up either an environmental lobbyist, or running some NGO. She is considering getting an MSES (environmental science) simultaneously.

  9. Jeff Borden said on December 15, 2009 at 11:12 am

    The one thing I’ve told my journalism students over and over and over again is that regardless of the medium in which they work, they need to be great researchers and excellent writers. I’ve also encouraged them to learn a second language and to study economics, which is the Achilles heel of many journalists.

    One of my students had an excellent plan. She was a photogenic, second-generation Mexican-American interested in becoming a sports reporter. She’ll do great covering baseball with its myriad Latino players.

  10. mark said on December 15, 2009 at 11:22 am

    You should tell your journalism students to buy gold.

  11. Jim said on December 15, 2009 at 11:22 am

    My advice to any potential journalism student: Read Bob Garfield’s “The Chaos Scenario” before making any long-term decisions.

  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 15, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Julie, i know that’s still true in most mainline denoms (the MDiv requirement), but what they aren’t necessarily telling ’em is that after adding another $30K to your student loan obligation, you can’t find work that pays more than $30K in gross salary. A few do, but most MDiv grads, the overwhelming majority, don’t. If you get out without student loan debt, and/or have spouse who’s cool with providing most of the income and often the insurance package, there are jobs aplenty in the mainline Protestant denominations, but if you need to support yourself in more than an AmeriCorps level, let alone support a family, you are hosed. Hosed. And it’s gonna get worse before it gets any better.

    I loved seminary, and i think there needs to be a way to provide oversight/accountability to or through pastor-mentors with seminary training for every congregational leader, but with the average Sunday congregation size in the mainline Protestant denominations at 65 butts in seats, and average age 68 . . . the economics of an MDiv pastor, fulltime, in every building, is broken beyond repair. Time to train up more lay/licensed leaders and figure out how to give them oversight, lest they build their whole ministry on “Purpose Driven Life.”

    Even in the “job guaranteed” Methodist Church, at 48 i’m still five years younger than the average ordained pastor. Not only are fewer younger/out of college people going to seminary, the attrition rate is 4 out of 5 of them within 5 years . . .see first paragraph.

    (I’m a systemic fluke – working largely w UMC, but seven other denoms doing pulpit supply, not in FT pastor position. Ordained, but working weekdays in juvenile court system as mediator/diversion counselor.)

  13. brian stouder said on December 15, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I like LL’s coogerand currency; But, come to think of it, I’m as likely to benefit from randy cougers on the prowl, as to be struck by an asteroid from the wide heavens above

  14. adrianne said on December 15, 2009 at 11:37 am

    I thought Glenn Beck was the gold-pimper – so much so that Fox News had to belatedly change the credit under his name during his gold-pimping commercials to distance his affilation with the network.

    My favorite takeaway from my college education was not the journalism classes, except for the ones led by old-codger Boston Globe reporters, but the history and English classes that opened up new worlds, at least for me. Oh, and the billion hours I spent working at the Daily Free Press!

  15. nancy said on December 15, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Beck and Liddy both pimp gold, evidently. Beck is like Paul Harvey — the commercials blend right into the show.

    BTW, if you DVR’d Colbert last night, please watch it now, so we can discuss how funny Snoop Dogg was.

  16. Deggjr said on December 15, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I think the first 2-1/2 sentences of your advice currently apply to almost every field in the United States.

  17. John said on December 15, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Cougars are in a younger demographic than I. My current demo is the GILFs which begs the question, what would be the next older demo?

    I am still using my math/computer science education and have had to expand upon it several times in the last 30 years as newer languages and work requirements crop up. My literary and history education, although not used for my livelihood, provide the basis for hours of meaningful conversation with others mulling over cultural references and societal changes.

  18. paddyo' said on December 15, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I agree with Jeff B. That initial taste of focused research (reporting) and writing (deadline, feature, etc.) in college J-classes helped . . . though I was a relatively decent writer already.
    An across-the-liberal-arts-spectrum of other disciplines didn’t hurt, either, particularly survey/entry-level courses in geography, geology, etc. (about the only science I could stomach at age 19-23). I naively used my four years of HS Latin (Roman Catholic seminary, they took us young in the old days) and applied them successfully to avoid the U.’s foreign language requirement . . . to my everlasting regret. Latin made me a better writer in English, but I wish I’d taken Spanish or French or German or SOMEthing linguistic in my youth.

    As for Nancy’s advice to students, it’s hard to argue with reality — but . . . my fervent hope is that the ones who ignore that advice, as Jen observed, include the versatile, energetic and ever-curious ones we will still need, regardless of where “the media” go, to gather, interpret, write and edit the news, whatever the format. It’s a generational thing.

    My former son-in-law went to J-school as both his newspaper-journalist mom and I initially rolled our eyes. He distinguished himself as a campus journalist — and ended up blogging for an alt-weekly, where I’ve not seen his byline since mid-November. Ah, well . . .

  19. moe99 said on December 15, 2009 at 11:47 am

    http://improveverywhere.com/2009/12/14/guerrilla-handbell-strikeforce/

  20. Lex said on December 15, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I’m not even sure how much of my education has fallen away, but I have observed two interesting things:

    1) I did OK in algebra/calculus classes, but I never looked back at that stuff after freshman year … until I started learning how to crack databases and learned Structured Query Language, which was, well, um, let’s say after I turned 30. Then it was like my entire Algebra I textbook rematerialized between my ears overnight, dripping wet so that I felt the weight of it.

    2) I think it was Joe Namath who said that he didn’t really start to see stuff on the football field until about the beginning of his third year in the NFL, but that when he did, the change was as dramatic as a curtain rising. That’s kind of how my analytical skills developed. I had an excellent liberal-arts education, but I didn’t get really good at finding the flaws in things until years later, and when it happened, it happened pretty much all at once. I suspect, but cannot prove, that getting to a paper big enough that I no longer needed a second job had something to do with it.

  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 15, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Snoop, fo shizzle; better sport than some who’ve been Colberted, but the closing performance was meta-meta irony-ironay for me. But i’m not the target demographic, dog.

    Word. Or as Stephen would say, The Word.

  22. Peter said on December 15, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Especially because I went to architecture school pre-CAD, there’s very little that I learned that I still use on my job.

    One of my depressing thoughts is that with all my years of higher math, I have had to use trigonometry ONCE in my thirty years of practice, in order to determine a field dimension. The contractor just about fainted: “You mean you didn’t forget that stuff?” What’s depressing is that the problem wouldn’t occur today, thanks to CAD and field lasers.

  23. Jolene said on December 15, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I’m sure lots of my formal education has fallen away, but what’s stayed with me is my graduate-level training in research methods and statistics. Not that I could sell myself as a statistician, but having a strong sense of how knowledge is generated and what a statistically significant conclusion is helps a great deal in assessing popular arguments.

  24. Jessica said on December 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I went to St. John’s, the so-called Great Books College, and have never left Plato, Descartes, Euclid, Shakespeare, Homer, Hume, Leibniz, Tolstoy, John Locke, or Thomas Jefferson behind.

    Because we read and discussed original scientific papers, I know WHY I have to believe that matter is made of atoms although I never saw one and never will. Ditto with Darwin and his successors.

    Now that I am a computer programmer, I call regularly on the methods of proof and analysis we worked on through four years of classical math and calculus. And I recall all the literature I read (especially Billy Budd, Moby Dick, and Middlemarch) when I look for ways to influence my co-workers and get along with them.

  25. Rana said on December 15, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I teach history, and I can tell you that the majority of what I teach (and use) are writing, analytic, and research skills. The topic at hand is just the clay to which the tools are applied – something that takes students a while to realize. (This isn’t to say that the topics aren’t interesting on their own merits; rather, most of what I teach is independent of them.)

    My own subject knowledge fluctuates considerably – there are some areas (especially those dealing with natural or technological trivia) that go in and stick, permanently, while others, like the Compromise of 1850, need to be re-studied each time I have to teach them. But, while the topic knowledge is fluid, my academic skills are near-bedrock at this point. (Though I need to undergo a refresher on the latest databases… thank you, librarians! for keeping on top of that stuff.)

    Having been through grad school all the way to the end, and having crashed and burned on the standard post-grad job track, I feel pretty strongly that most people don’t need advanced degrees; they need the basic skills, a good deal of grit and determination, and curiosity about their chosen line of work. That’ll get you ahead with a lot less time and money wasted.

    (A cynical, but not inaccurate essay on whether one should go to grad school or not: http://weblogs.swarthmore.edu/burke/permanent-features-advice-on-academia/features/)

  26. Kriesa said on December 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Hi, Peter. I’m a newbie here, but piping up because it sounds like we have similar educational backgrounds. I got a bachelor’s in applied math, then went back to school a few years later for an M.Arch degree.

    I use my math background… never. It’s only good for people who want to make fun of me for ever needing a calculator.

    For the most part, I don’t use a lot of what I learned in architecture school, either. I had to learn the practical, day-to-day stuff on the job. I was in school in a strange time slot where we still did hand drafting and chip board models, but used computers for presentation work. I sometimes do get to use my 3-D modeling and PhotoShop skills.

  27. judybusy said on December 15, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    In my very first attempt at college, I was a German and French major, with a plan to become an interpreter at the U.N. Sadly, my dad lost the farm, ending my funding. It took me a few years to get back to school.

    Ultimately, I obtained a very practical master’s in social work, which I use every day. Thank goodness I had a (second) forced haitus from school, saving me from a very interesting but ultimately not-too-marketable women’s studies degree, which I had previously contemplated.

    I took one journalism class, and don’t remember much. I became an atheist about two weeks into my first philosphy class, and still remember a film class vividly. I have gone on to learn some Portuguese and am now working on Spanish (today I learned how to say, “I want to drink a beer!” Yay!) I would say most of my higher education has a profound effect on my life, as it has shaped me and given me a passion for continued learning.

  28. Mosef said on December 15, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I had planned on becoming a doctor so I took all the pre-requisites. Changed my mind and went into finance after attending busines school. (They do actually teach you how to think and write, contrary to opinions above.) Anyway, I used to think all those bio/physiology/anatomy/chemisty classes were a waste of time since I didn’t use it for my profession. But then my son got a serious chronic disease and I realized that those classes were preparing me to be his parent. They were invaluable to me in understanding and directing his care.

  29. Jen said on December 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    As many people have alluded to, it has less to do with the exact degree you earn, and more to do with the fact that you went to college. I’m working in the field in which I got a degree, but my husband is essentially a social worker (he works at the area council on aging), and he has a bachelor’s degree in psychology (related, of course, but not the same). He keeps talking about going back and getting a MSW or maybe a master’s in psych, but then he’d have to go back to college and he really doesn’t want to have to 1) do the studying and 2) pay for it.

    Slightly off topic, my mom found an article about the top jobs that are low-paying and stressful, and both social worker and reporter were on the list. Somehow, I don’t think that we’re going to be swimming in dough anytime soon.

  30. mark said on December 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    I was a political science major, which qualified me to go to law school or become a professional cocktail party guest. I did both.

    Jolene- Al Gore should hire you to help him avoid telling dramatic, embarassing, but statistically insignificant, whoppers. http://www.sphere.com/world/article/al-gore-fudges-numbers-at-climate-change-summit-in-copenhagen/19281919?icid=main|main|dl1|link1|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sphere.com%2Fworld%2Farticle%2Fal-gore-fudges-numbers-at-climate-change-summit-in-copenhagen%2F19281919

  31. Kirk said on December 15, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Dave K.,
    From yesterday’s thread: I had to look. Klu played for the White Sox in ’59 and ’60.

  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 15, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Nancy, this just isn’t going to turn into a Snoop Dog discussion, is it?

  33. nancy said on December 15, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I liked how he rhymed “dominos” with “vamanos.” To wit:

    I’m kickin on these hoes, do ’em like dominos
    I slam ’em on they back, and tell ’em vamanos

    I remember when this guy was the scariest black man in America. Now he’s just your stoned uncle.

  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 15, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    With a touching “Peanuts” tale as to how he got his name. Honestly, it never occured to me — Snoopy.

  35. moe99 said on December 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    mark, per Matthew Yglesias, what you are citing is an example of Gore Derangement Syndrome:

    http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/12/gore-derangement-syndrome.php

  36. Joe Kobiela said on December 15, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Made it on top last night and saw a billion stars and a few shooting ones. Getting ready to go to Chicago and down to Huntville Alabama tonight. should be a good night for star gazing. You can follow me on flightaware.com, put in 1914g under tail number. Dave K was that the same trip Uncle jack took you to the suppermarket that sold booze??
    Pilot Joe

  37. mark said on December 15, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    No, moe, I was citing an example of Al Gore just lying to tell a dramatic story to the faithful. His assertion “these figures are fresh” and “it’s hard to capture the astonishment the scientists felt” are just made up.

    If the debate is over, and truth is known, why isn’t the truth sufficient.

    If fuzzy journalism is the issue, I nominate the AP for reporting the story without mentioning Gore’s venture into make-believe. http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9CJA39G0&show_article=1

  38. Dexter said on December 15, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Pilot Joe…it was thrilling to watch live-teevee as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner lifted off for a four hour flight. Now just a year left to obtain certification and get those cabins filled up with human cargo. Still…I know I would prefer a Net Jet , but who wouldn’t? I watched a YouTube of Tom Brady explaining why he chose Net Jets…feeling refreshed after a flight was his biggest reason for flying Net Jets fractional ownership planes. Still…he pays Net Jets two million dollars a year to have a plane at his disposal…and , this surprised me…he does not fly on the team plane to games. He takes his private plane , plugs in his computer, crashes on the couch, has a bottle of water, walks around, takes another nap, and he’s ready to go play him some football. I wonder if the 2 mil is in his contract demands, and the Patriots pay that. Winning a bunch of Superbowls does open doors, I would guess.
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    Everybody thinks the monocle looks goofy, and I agree…but they are coming back it appears..maybe due to the old Steampunk movement, maybe it’s the old “goes around, comes around” syndrome.
    http://www.stylelist.com/2009/12/11/monocles-poised-for-comeback-thanks-to-british-eyewear-chain/

  39. Dexter said on December 15, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Oh my gawd…look at all this education in this room. My degree from the college of hard knocks doesn’t cut it in here, but since you folks ain’t all snooty and all to me, I may hang around some.
    I think the person I know with the most education is my sister-in-law’s sister, who has a doctorate in anthropology from The University of Chicago. Now there is an interesting human being. She has Irish Wolfhounds and rescue pit bulls. Her bf travels the globe overseeing accounts for his employer. Wotta couple.

    I have seen lots of sports personalities, but I was thinking how many writers I have ever actually seen. I had a drink in the Cleveland airport with Bud Gallmeier and Carl Weigman of the Fort Wayne Newspapers once, I had a chat with Jim Taylor of The Toledo Blade once…but outside of sports, I have seen very few authors. I met Studs Terkel twice and I have a book inscribed to me from him, but the only other big name writer I recall seeing was Lewis Grizzard, the southern humorist that was featured in the Fort Wayne New-Sentinel, if I recall. I saw Grizzard walking with the aid of a cane and a shoulder of a woman on a Savannah , Georgia street one summer evening, shortly before his heart gave out forever.

  40. coozledad said on December 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/reports/billion/timeseries2008.jpg
    2009 is on track to be more expensive, due to crop loss from unseasonable flooding throughout the Southeast. Denial is getting expensive.

  41. moe99 said on December 15, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Well mark,given this description, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breitbart.com
    I don’t accept breitbart as objective journalism. Journanimalism perhaps.

    try this one instead:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/james_balog_time_lapse_proof_of_extreme_ice_loss.html

    We’re not entitled to our own facts. Al Franken.

  42. Rana said on December 15, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    If the debate is over, and truth is known, why isn’t the truth sufficient.

    Because, despite the truth being known, the debate is not over, because some people don’t care about objective facts (that’s not “truth” to them) and because there are interests that benefit greatly from the status quo.

  43. brian stouder said on December 15, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    If the debate is over, and truth is known, why isn’t the truth sufficient.

    I’ll take the BBC (in the below-linked 2007 article) over Breitbart, but thanks anyway

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7139797.stm

    an excerpt:

    Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years. Professor Wieslaw Maslowski told an American Geophysical Union meeting that previous projections had underestimated the processes now driving ice loss. Summer melting this year reduced the ice cover to 4.13 million sq km, the smallest ever extent in modern times. Remarkably, this stunning low point was not even incorporated into the model runs of Professor Maslowski and his team, which used data sets from 1979 to 2004 to constrain their future projections.

    Now, the fellow may not be right, but Gore was quite accurate in his recap of what he said.

  44. Deborah said on December 15, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    I have a degree in education from a Lutheran college in Nebraska, but now I’m a graphic designer (for the built environment). Have been for nearly 30 years. I taught for a very short time, it was not for me. Almost nothing from my formal education is pertinent to what I do now. I can’t think of a single thing actually. I learned on the job, it was a great education, learning by my mistakes. I made a lot of them that I know I will never ever do again. The greatest teacher is failure. I think I do alright but it wasn’t easy getting here, long hours of doing it over and over and over until it’s right.

  45. brian stouder said on December 15, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    After high school, I attended a few classes at IPFW, and then headed for ITT technical school, where I got a degree in electronics – which, although I have truly never utiized that stuff, nonetheless got me hired into the job (which I still have) almost exactly 23 years ago…because the fellow who hired me graduated from the same place 20 years before that.

    All I know is, Pam and I continually try and impress upon our young folks the existential importance of continuing (and/or continuous) education; school today, higher education after that, and books and so on all the while.

  46. mark said on December 15, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    moe- The article I linked was from the AP, reprinted on Breitbart’s site. I’m not commenting one way or the other on the melting ice, other than to acknowledge that Gore’s fabrication of the conclusion didn’t stray materially (to me) from the actual conclusion of the scientist involved. The rest was just gratuitous fabrication to impress the crowd. Claiming “fresh figures” and describing the “astonishment” of the researchers when, at best, he is misremembering a conversation from seven years ago, is, well, classic Gore.

    And brian, since the article you linked is two years old, that would mean the summer ice will be gone in just 3 to 4 years. Maybe Gore is actually downgrading the threat? Which is the “truth” that we’re not allowed to dispute?

    Edit to brian- actually, I don’t know when the BBC piece was written/published. It says 12 december 2007, and reads like it was written then, but the final pararagraph references Gore’s speech, which was on 14 December 2009. Makes no sense to me.

  47. moe99 said on December 15, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    did you watch the ted.com video I linked to, mark? The photographer was a doubter before he got started.

    The majority of climate scientists are still agreed that we are in the midst of significant climate change. Despite what Gore said. And if you get beyond the headlines and the puffery, Gore is not outside the accepted knowledge. Just like death panels and all. Trying to come up with some sort of spin to take our eyes off the ball.

    Those pesky facts with their liberal bias.

  48. Denice B. said on December 16, 2009 at 12:11 am

    THE smartest person I know quit high school as soon as she could. She set about getting a education for herself by reading. She read everything and taught herself to write. First short stories, then novels. Now she is a rather well respected author and speaker. She teaches writing to high school students as a guest speaker. She is educated by life and reading. And she is the most amazing woman I ever met. I merely went to high school like a good girl, and went to a year-long LPN school. I scratch by. But some people aren’t cut out for school. Yet they can be great.

  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 16, 2009 at 7:45 am

    I suspect that the average income and median level of schooling for commenters on this blog would prove that educational attainment is not a panacea for vocational success & stability! But we’ve got our graduate degrees to keep us warm, and we’ll none of us be bored inside our own heads. Meanwhile, most of the professionally successful and economically rewarded people i know have a bachelor’s at most.

    Oh well!

  50. A. Riley said on December 16, 2009 at 10:13 am

    The thing is, those letters after your name are basically a punched ticket, a stamped visa, whatever. Without that credential, there are lots of doors that are just plain closed, and I speak from experience. Speaking of experience, it takes a *lot* of experience and connections to make up for not having that BA when you’re looking for a job.

    The student debt load on young idealists (seminarians, journalists, artists, social workers, musicians, etc.) is appalling. An upper-middle-class kid goes to Northwestern or Brown — or an out-of-state public Ivy like Michigan — and comes out with a degree in flute performance and a debt the size of a mortgage, and what the heck is going to happen to her? I don’t have kids, so I don’t know how those dinner-table conversations go, but they can’t be pretty.

  51. basset said on December 16, 2009 at 10:55 am

    speaking of dinner tables… how does one couple spend $58 thousand at Outback Steakhouse in three years? Along with $91 thousand at Longhorn and $21 thousand at Pizza Hut?

    http://blogs.nashvillescene.com/bites/2009/12/champagne_budget_soft_drink_ta.php

  52. Rana said on December 17, 2009 at 1:54 am

    More on Gore:

    http://connect.sierraclub.org/post/ClimateCrossroadsBlog/proof_that_al_gores_not_crazy.html