Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Home for the holidays for graduate students

Friends, print this out and send it to your parents -- it'll make your lives easier.


  1. Addendum: If your grad student relative is still single, please avoid asking about marriage prospects. "What more does your professor (PI/boss) want from you>" is also a loaded question.

    Incidentally, my high school arch-nemesis is a third-year neurosurgery resident. Although his long-term income and prestige are likely to be higher than mine's, I'm really not jealous. His current pay and work hours suck, plus he's paying off a $200,000 educational loan at 6.x% interest rate. Anyway, I have solace in that a failed reaction at workplace can be treated as another data point, whereas a failed surgery can amount to death and lawsuits.

    Here's a radical solution to the PhD scientist glut: Nip the problem in the bud and divert the bulk of undergrads to med and law school. (Previously, I would've included MBA program, but MBAs are a dime-a-dozen nowadays especially with online/distance schooling nonsense.) After all, in comparison to PhD scientists, aren't physicians and lawyers generally considered more "essential" to society? Let their ranks get flooded with people of equivalent quality so that the market price of health care and legal aid plummets. Let their salaries take a dump like those of professional scientists.

    Biggest obstacles to this radical plan: Unlike science grad programs, the AMA and ABA actively limit the number of MDs and JDs in in training to safeguard their tangible value. Even the most prestigious of chemistry grad programs cannot boast acceptance rates as low as the top-tier med and low schools, let alone the top humanities departments!

  2. The lawyer glut is already happening. A fair number of law firms have already downsized and the law school classes often swell during a recession. It's not uncommon to see 3,000 applications for a 200-spot graduating class.

    And there is more competition for the 'traditional' law-student summer externships which are supposed to provide networking and experience over money. Both the students, the recently graduated and the unemployed are all going for them.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20