Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Question Millennials Didn't Ask

I just saw an article in the NY Post titled, Picking the Right College Major Could be Worth 1.7M.

Aside from the bullshit title, it's an article that is chock full of facts that were general knowledge back when I was in Eighth Grade. 

However times have changed.


A friend of the family has a kid that is the right age to go to college.

As a friend my advice was asked.

Naturally my reply  was, "for fuck's sake don't go to college unless you have an actual reason to go there.  It's monumental waste of precious time.  You'll only end up enslaved to your student loan debt and I do mean enslaved.  Those damn things are non-dischargeable  Debt Bondage is the oldest type of slavery in the world so I when I said enslaved, I meant enslaved.  Why if..."

I want to be a veterinarian.  

(*Cataline gives a long tired sigh*)  Well I knew the kid had the brains for it and wasn't going to be dissuaded by me.

"Fine forget about the Pre-vet program, it's garbage to suck money out of idiots who can't get into the grad school program.  Get a double major in Animal Science and Micro-biology.  Also get adopted by a Native American tribe because the Dean of Admissions is a complete SJW who will turn you down flat just for being White."

"Also you'll want to interview your potential college while they are interviewing you."

What do you mean?

"Ask them questions, like..."  And here I gave the kid a list.  I was a little surprised I needed to.  That was pretty standard stuff when I was a kid.  It turned out that times had changed.

A lot.

I later asked the kid's mom how it went and she said, "Okay" in a manner that meant that it wasn't.

"What's wrong?" I wanted to know.

Plenty as it turned out.  When the kid had asked, "how much money can I expect to earn in the first year with this degree?

The answer from this major university was effectively, fucked if we know.

It turned out that that kid was first one to ask that question in fifteen years.  Think about that for a second.  They stopped, getting asked that question by potential students in 2002.  I honestly couldn't blame the college for not bothering to know what the answer was when it would cost money to survey the first year graduates.  Why spend that money for a question that isn't going to get asked.

How much is your degree worth? Is easily the most important question you can ask a college if like me, you neglected to be born into money.

And for the last fifteen years.  Every college freshmen was acting like they were born into money.  How on Earth was this very basic planning for post graduate survival ignored?

Cataline shall now quote Cataline:

Gen X frequently asks the question, what the hell is wrong with the Millennials?

They live in padded bubbles where nothing bad can reach them. Entirely free from the merciless ravages of reality.  How is this possible?

I recently ran across a statistic that shocked me.  I didn't believe it at first and then I started running it through the mazes of my mind.  And I realized it was perfectly true.

Almost everyone born before 1961 went through a period of malnutrition at some point in their lives. 

Think about that for a moment or two.  Almost everyone.

Food wasn't as plentiful or anywhere near as cheap as it is now.  Prior to 1961 if the meat was past it's sell by date and vegetables were wilted, you boiled them to death and seasoned the hell out of them.  You then tried not to think about the taste and you roared at your kids if they didn't finish everything on their plate because what was on their plate was it.  There was nothing else available, the cupboard was usually bare.  Making kids eat gone off food was a matter of survival.  It was also a matter of personal humiliation if you were their Dad.  Backyard gardens were everywhere and they had nothing to do with eating healthy other than it was healthy to eat.  A few backyard chickens were often an edge against non-survival.  Weasels and chicken-hawks were a threat to your family's existence. 

Those days were gone but not at all forgotten for Generation X, when we were kids. 

Saltine crackers and milk were still a treat when I was a kid, not the emergency rations they are now.  If Mom bought Ritz crackers you knew you were having company that night because they sure as hell weren't for you.  If you didn't eat everything on your plate, you were morally bankrupt as a seven year old human. 

Generation X was the first generation born and raised without the physical threat of starvation hanging over their heads.  But the societal memory was still there.  We were raised in an environment where there was always the question in the back of our parents minds, 'will there be enough to eat tonight?'

There always was of course but the demands of a clean plate at the end of every meal lead to Gen X's notorious problem with it's waist line.  Fat cell numbers are set in childhood but stay constant in adulthood.  If you are fat as a kid you are going to be fighting a weight problem your whole life.

But as I said we were raised in the memory of hard times. Hungry times.  Survival urgency was real for us as a threat, even if it was a threat held in the abeyance all of our lives.

A real threat to your survival is the ultimate reality.  It keeps you grounded.

When the Millennials came along, even the memory of real hunger had faded.

Think about really beautiful girls and I don't mean good looking.  I mean no shit actual TENs.  Can you name one that isn't ditzy as hell?  Of course you can't.  Beautiful girls are raised in a bubble where everyone is kind to them and smiles at them whenever they walk into a room.  They are insulated from the harshness of casual cruelty because everyone wants to keep beautiful girls smiling beautifully.  No one wants to hurt their feelings, (*notable exception of course being other beautiful girls.  Hurting a beautiful girl's feelings are very much on the table then*).


They grew up in a world where there hasn't been want for two generations.  They don't have anyone in their family who was in danger of starving to death ever.

But they could be first.  And sooner than they think.


RobM said...

Good oh. And to your point about growing up and what we ate, I think you could easily push that date to born after 1972 or something. I was born in 63 and we had a big family and the food issues the author mentions were same at our house, cept no chickens. That would have been cool.

Mom cooked lots of casseroles and pasta. Liver and onions or round-steak that was about to completely turn brown in the wrapper were pounded , dusted with flour and meat in general , was a infrequent treat.

I do know youngers that grew up, same area, same income bracket, but born in early 70's and by then, there seemed a noticeable change, even in our house. Most incomes really improved in the early 70s' too it seems. In any event, I think growing up treasuring getting Ritz crackers or meat has made me much better grounded. I wouldn't trade it... and plus, back then, we knew we didn't have money, but neither did anyone in our neighborhood or school.

Benjamin van der Voorn said...

Hi Cataline, I'm a student starting university (which is college to you yanks) this year. Can I ask what all your other questions for the universities are? They sound very useful. Cheers.

Cataline Sergius said...

You are better off interviewing departments than the university per say at this point but here are a few off the top of my head.

How hard is it to get into upper-level courses as a freshman?

Is there opportunity for independent study within this major?

Is there an opportunity to be involved with advanced research within my major?

What kinds of internship experiences would be possible if I majored in this field?

What percentage of students from last year’s class found jobs in their field? Last 5 years currently employed in this field

How many students from last year's senior class went on to graduate school?

NAMEHERE is my first choice for housing. What chance do I have getting it as a first-year?

How many upperclassmen live off campus?

What kind of student is unhappy here?

What are the required Freshman classes for all students?

How is the advising system set up for freshmen and who does the advising?

Good luck!

Rebel Skate said...

Not just the idea of starvation, we also had the Cold War hanging over our heads. No matter what the perceived threat was we were well aware of our mortality. That is one of the biggest differences between the generations.

Chris Lutz said...

Was a kid in the 70's and teenager and college were 80's into early 90's. Yeah there were times when food was, this is it. Never a chance of starving or being hungry but you ate what you had and your mom was watching the pennies.

Veterinarian, ouch. Daughter considered that for awhile in HS. Once you get by the sales pitch here's what you find:

1. Low teens acceptance rate into the vet programs.
2. Four years of college where you better make A's in your core classes and have close to A's in everything else. Get a B in one of the core classes and you had better look somewhere else.
3. If you are doing pre-vet, you had better come in with 100+ hours of some sort of experience at a vet's office.
4. You better get 100+ more hours in pre-vet.
5. Good recommendation on getting some undergrad degree that is useful and not simply pre-vet.
6. Expect to pay +50K per year in vet school. And you aren't going to have time for anything else.
7. Finally, four years after graduation you can expect to make in the mid-80's for income. Too many vets.

Daughter wisely decided that having a life, and being able to have a family meant going the vet-tech route. She found a good four year program and finished in three since she acquired credits from classes and AP in HS.

Emmett Fitz-Hume said...

I think Rebel Skate makes a good addition to the theory.

The starvation/hunger thing is true. My parents were ruthless about food and what the spent on it and how much they bought. I still regard French Onion dip and potato chips as a treat. And hamburger helper was another treat in our house.

But man, try explaining the general atmosphere of everything during the Cold War to a millennial and all you get are dumb looks as they calculate how it pertains to them and their Special Bubble.

Sim1776 said...

Good post, Cataline.

I've always told my children that college is a waste if you major in something that requires more than a 4 year degree and/or doesn't provide direct employment. So out of 3, only one is going to school and that is for nursing.

The financial aid scam has allowed schools to enlarge programs that have no bearing in the real world but to create overeducated service sector employees buried in debt. I believe this why the college-bound no longer ask those questions. Everyone is now told they need to go to college and can major in anything they like and a career awaits them on the other side. Wtf does a "gender studies" major do beside rentseek and spew crap? Zman's "xirl science" segment of his podcast was entertaining for the sheer absurdity of what passes for academia these days.

owlish said...

So, I don't know. Went to college in late 80s. We were never starving, but "eat everything on your plate" was a thing, even though mom's Eat Healthy plan of boiling everything to death, without salt or fat still drives me up the wall. I'm around a bunch of 20somethings these days, and while I don't know anyone going into gender studies, I know at least a couple of atheists working on advanced degrees in the Department of Religion.

dfordoom said...

Rebel Skate said...

Not just the idea of starvation, we also had the Cold War hanging over our heads.

I lived through the Cold War. It was a hell of a lot less scary than the world of today. Back in the Cold War the grown-ups were still in charge.

As for starvation, you have got to to be kidding. No Boomer or Gen Xer ever had to worry about possible starvation. Hunger was something that the generation that went through the Depression had to worry about, but Boomers and Gen Xers? Hardly.

Jew613 said...

How did things work out for the kid? Maybe this is a crazy idea, but what about an apprenticeship? In the old country of New York you can't become a vet through apprenticeship, but you can become a vet tech, then join veterinarian school mostly done. Less schooling and you get paid along the way. Is the same possible in Michigan

Cataline Sergius said...

The problem in Michigan is that the MSU Vet school is the only one in the state and it is now garbage thanks to an SJW Dean of Admissions.

She stands on the rope for any unqualified Intersectional Candidate and lifts it over her head if the kid is straight white female. If you are a straight white male just forget it, you are never getting into that program.

It used to be the number three program in the country and thanks to SJWism it has crashed into the garbage tier vet school ranks.

Jew613 said...

Michigan is the number 2 state for dairy products in the USA, as well as a major source for cattle and hogs. Seems a terrible policy to be turning your one vet school into a joke.

Well for whatever its worth I can think of an option for the kid.

Go to any vet school, even one out of state, but make a deal with the army for them to pay for her schooling and she does a tour with them. A friend of mine did this and the military paid his way.