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« Grades | Main | On "that question" about philosophy »

11/11/2013

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Elisa Freschi

Personally speaking, I try to figure out what really interests the student (in one case, I had a student who was really into expensive cloths and could not imagine living a life with a low salary; although this is quite alien to me, I took this concern seriously and told her that it is unlikely to earn a lot in philosophy).

However, I am surprised by another remark of you, the one concerning "promises". I have the opposite experience: when I was in graduate school, I have seen my teachers accepting too many people, people who then ended up doing something completeley different (e.g., a career as saleperson) and regretting the time they had "wasted" and not even enjoyed (I have nothing against the idea of taking a PhD in philosophy just because one enjoyes it, and then going back to one's career as a lawyer or the like). Before reading this post, I would have said that one could have avoided it by looking at them more carefully. Not that one does not grow up, but I wonder if some general features, the ones which have to do more with personality than with research, are not lasting features? Say, the ability to endure criticism, to organise oneself, to enjoy spending time alone?
Furthermore, I wonder whether "dissuading" isn't meant for a different purpose, i.e., making the person aware of whether she is really passionate about philosophical research by showing her its downsides.

Jaded

The choice must be your own, of course. But many faculty advise Just Say No because they have seen Many people (some very promising) after ten years in grad school with no job, no savings, no health insurance, no prospects. Many of these people are bitter and many ask (quite literally): why didn't someone warn me how bad things Really were?

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