Monday, February 28, 2011

As I write today's Outrageous News post, my sympathetic nervous system has kicked into high gear.  I perceive a threat to my way of life and my future livelihood, and evolution has prompted the release of catecholamine hormones like adrenaline into my system.  If my parasympathetic nervous system doesn't kick in soon to calm me down, somebody might get hurt.  (Okay, or I might run away, but considering how much  I don't like to run, fight is much more likely than flight in my case.)

Wow, Sarah. Those are some pretty big words! Where did you learn all of that?

Oh, me?  Why, I learned it all at the University of Utah, where I'm currently a senior finishing up my Degree to Nowhere, also known as Waste of Time 101, otherwise denoted as a Bachelor of Science in You'll Never Get a Job So Why Even TryMy professors call it a psychology degree, but what do they know, right?  They couldn't possibly know more about their field than Utah State Senator 
Howard Stephenson, who thinks my college degree will lead to nothing worth all the money and time I've spent on it.

Stephenson declared my degree a degree to nowhere as a way of highlighting his love and devotion to applied technology schools in my state. (And his distaste for the fact that the other senators think those schools should have their budgets cut the same as my school.)  Despite the fact that Mr. Stephenson seems to have done just fine with his own BS in Psychology and a Masters in Public Administration, he thinks my university is pulling to wool over my poor little naive eyes, and I'm certain to decide my degree is one great big disappointment when I graduate and realize there isn't a single job to be found.

The funny thing about that... As a person who is pretty good at looking for jobs, I decided I should help the poor senator out and find the jobs he hasn't been able to find.  Five minutes into an online search, I found 3 positions which opened within the last day or two that require a bachelors degree in psych or a related field.  I found four others open to candidates with graduate work in psychology.  There are likely countless others I didn't find because I wanted to narrow my search to one particular employer in order to prove a point.

The employer?  The state of Utah.

That's right, Mr. Stephenson.  The know...the one that pays you to be a senator...employs people with "degrees to nowhere."  Apparently, the government hasn't gotten the memo that Utah is nowhere.  Do you know who else employs psychology grads?  Research labs, marketing departments, treatment centers, counseling offices, colleges, clinics, corporations, and factories.

Maybe Stephenson got his MPA because he finished up his psych degree and couldn't find work he wanted to do, and that experience has forever tainted his view of that education.  I respectfully offer that without that useless degree, he would never have gotten into graduate school in the first place.  It's kind of a building block situation, you know?  You fill out the grad school application and under the "Did you successfully complete your degree to nowhere?" question, you have to mark yes or they won't even give you an interview.

Would I have more guarantee of a job if I had gone to an applied technology college?  That's debatable, but even in the midst of a recession, Stephenson seems to think I would.  Do I want an applied technology job? No.  No, I can't say that I do.  Would having an applied technology job make up for the fact that I don't want an applied technology job?  Everyone but a certain senator probably knows the answer to that one.

Thanks for the rallying cry in favor of an ATC education and for your note of caution about my degree.  I think I'll stick with the plan, if it's all the same to you.  I just trust all my know...the ones making money with their degrees to nowhere...


Bart said...

Heh, heh, heh... and to think I have FOUR degrees to nowhere (BA, MA, MPhil, & PhD in Psychology). And I have a job, too, where I actually use those degrees (I'm a professor at one of our chronically underfunded state schools).

But what the honorable Senator's comments really made me think of was the times that people have called degrees in the arts useless. (Apparently he didn't even feel the arts degrees needed to be pointed out as a waste.) But I was at the Utah Opera last night for a wonderful production of Mark Adamo's "Little Women," and I just kept thinking about how many people were employed there, as well as with the Symphony, Ballet West, Pioneer Theatre Company, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, and Repertory Dance Theatre, to name a few local examples. The wonderful organization Americans for the Arts has published reports to document that huge number of people are employed in the arts and that billions of dollars are involved in the arts and creative industries.

(Speaking of billions, how is it possible for the state to "waste billions" on these degrees to nowhere? Our entire state government's budget for this year is $12 billion. Apparently the liberal arts students take up 8% of the complete state expenditures. Not that you'd know it by the conditions of the classrooms....)

Anyhow, thanks for the great post. And good luck with that totally useless, waste of time, what were you thinking psychology degree! (And more power to you!)