So let's talk about the one-year Master's of Arts Program in Humanities and Master of Arts Program in Social Sciences at the University of Chicago!
Current tuition for one year: $62,640.
Cost of living, supplies, and additional quarterly fees: $30k, if not more
If you don't know about the University of Chicago, it's difficult to describe the reputation other than it's not an Ivy but prides itself on being more rigorous than an Ivy. It is home to a lot of very prestigious PhD programs, which is important context
The prestige means it attracts a lot of PhD applicants: people coming from other Ivies or from state schools or SLACs, people whose professors have told them the top schools in the field. But the acceptance rate is low, & there are hundreds of people who don't get into programs
Not all Master's Degrees are scams, and I don't think that framing is particularly helpful, but I do think it's worth really looking at the tactics, values, and magnetism of a Master's, and how, say, a MAPH from UChicago works differently than a MEd from your local state school
I also think that it's often a big ask for someone to sit down with a 7000 word piece, so I'm experimenting with segmenting this piece into 3. Next part: distinguishing between “Prestige Grabs,” “Only Visible Routes,” and “Career Collateral"
Right now in Missoula: pretty much every restaurant is either short-staffed and/or has signs on their doors announcing that they're closed on certain days of the week because they can't hire people. This is a wage issue, but it's especially a housing issue
In Sun Valley: "The situation has gotten so extreme that Ketchum’s mayor recently raised the idea of allowing local workers to temporarily erect tents in a park so they could have a place to live while searching for something permanent"
"Among those struggling for a permanent place is Michael David, a city councilor, who said he can’t afford to rent or buy on his city salary and job as a salesman at a local ski shop, which earns him about $45,000."
I first started reporting on the 4-Day Week pre-pandemic, wrote a whole feature and filed it, and then...the pandemic hit, and writing anything about work felt very besides the point. Fascinating that the (enduring) pandemic --> huge bloom of writing about work/the office
I was initially compelled by what a very staid, old fashioned New Zealand trust company was doing with the four day week — the CEO basically did it purely for productivity reasons (he saw that it was stuck; read an Economist article, convinced the company to do a pilot)
The numbers are higher at Columbia, but the scam — and yes, I think it's a scam — is the same at so many schools, public, private, Ivy, for-profit. Master's programs are *massive* money makers
If the people running these programs don't know that they're exploitative, they're telling themselves very complex stories as to why they're not. In 99% of cases, an MA in Cinema Studies, or English, or "Liberal Arts" does nothing for your job prospects. It only gives you debt.
Slack's Remote Employee Experience Index has been surveying 10k+ employees in 6 countries over the course of the pandemic; tons of really interesting insights — like the fact that 21% are currently looking for a new job:
Watched RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK for the first time since childhood and whew, the orientalism in this movie, but also completely blown away by how much it operates like a Douglas Fairbanks silent pic
Just remembered that this, along with the rest of the trilogy, was one of the first VHS movies my family ever owned — obtained through a detail at McDonald's (!) where you got each copy for like $5 (?) with purchase of a combo meal
The McDonald's VHS sales trend is so fascinating, in hindsight — a way to make a visit "special" but also helped popularize/normalize VHS ownership.
In 1992, McDonald's was the third largest seller of VHS tapes in the country—beating out Blockbuster:
Muscle Milk, The Rock, Creatine, Brad Pitt's Abs, Men's Health, Ripped Tobey Maguire, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — here's food & gender scholar @EmilyContois on the suffocating image of swole that surrounded young Gen-X and millennial men:
"Teen girlhood is a site of constant contradictions. It’s celebrated and derided, sexualized and overprotected. But teen boyhood barely exists. It’s viewed as a life chapter to rush through in order to reach manhood, the stage that matters."
If that line from my own newsletter about "the idea of how I could have lived if I had allowed myself to just weigh what I weighed" smacked you in the face, then you, too, should subscribe to @sarahlovescali
Or if you a cried a big puddle under your chair reading The Bridge Dog
The digitization of Seventeen is very haphazard and weirdly catalogued but I was so thrilled to find the Letters to the Editor re: that cover; if you're one of those college girls from Wheaton who debated this in your dorm, let's chat
A reader just sent me this (fairly heartening?) screenshot that's been making the rounds in her 14-year-old daughter's Snapchat world
The United States is particularly good at looking a sprawling problem like systemic disinvestment in public education square in the face and thinking “I bet some very small individual purchases will fix this.”
This nut allergy / kid coddling essay is so bizarre; do we not recall what became of the last over-coddled generation (answer: after being shamed for moving back into our parents' basements if those basements existed in the first place, we turned into work robots)
Also there's a great section in Barbara Ehrenreich's FEAR OF FALLING where she quotes a bunch of different conservative writers bemoaning the state of coddled and lazy boomers (in their 20s) in the 1970s
Midge Decter's LIBERAL PARENTS, RADICAL CHILDREN (1975): the boomer who "languishes now in a hospital where the therapists feel that in another few months he might attempt a few tasks & even...hold down a job"
also omg forgot to share that one of the Baylor influencer twins (currently finishing up their senior year) got engaged yesterday
reminds me of the Christian university where many of my friends went where one of the women's dorms had sweatshirts depicting the three thing residents should do before graduating and one of them was get an engagement ring?????
Childcare is incredibly expensive for parents — and yet the people doing the work are paid very little, w/15-25% below the poverty line nationwide. No one's getting rich.
It's a classic market failure — and has been for decades:
You know what we've historically done with other services, like K-12 education, road construction, sewage treatment, public park maintenance, that would also be massive market failures? We decide to fund them publicly!
This would've happened YEARS ago if not for regressive baggage about affordable care "incentivizing" women to work out of the home — and also the enduring expectation that women, and women of color in particular, should essentially do this work for free
What if we think of childcare not as a personal responsibility, something to endure and forget about when you get through it, but a public good, deserving of public funding — and, like other public school jobs, treat it as a "good job" & pathway to the middle class?
The percentage of early childhood educators living below the poverty line is *astonishing.* So is the pay gap between ECE workers w/degrees and K-8 teachers. The turnover rate is so expensive — plus you're driving so many people who love the work out of the profession
All of these arguments about "how will we cultivate friendship or fight loneliness if we don't have the office" are built on the very broken pre-pandemic supposition of the office as the center of our lives