Liberal Arts at Work on Ruining My Life?

tbone and I also agreed that a liberal arts education has also ruined our chances at happiness.

At the point where 50% of college-bound seniors in my graduating class were headed for the University of Michigan, I went to Albion College. At Albion, all of my professors had or were working toward PhDs but they actually taught me themselves. They invited me to their houses for dinner, they took me on class trips, they knew me well enough to write recommendations for me, and they still know me when I come back to campus. As an undergrad at U-M, I may have had lectures by a professor, but all of my interactions would be with GSIs (graduate student instructors) while the professors went off and did research and taught graduate students.

That wasn't what I wanted, and I knew that I could go to a small, private liberal arts school for undergrad and go on to graduate school. I would get a more individualized education and I could follow it up with a degree from a big-name school. And once I was at the graduate level, I would actually be taught by professors.

Now I'm actually at this big-name school, doing graduate study, and it isn't at all what I expected. It may be because the School of Information doesn't have an undergraduate component, but I don't see how being a master's student is any better than being an undergrad. We are still in the situation of being lectured by a reknowned professor while our discussion sections are led by GSIs.

I can't say this is all bad, because although the worst instructor I've had at SI is a doctoral student, the best teacher I've had is also one. Another of my favorites is an adjunct lecturer with a master's from SI and no doctoral study.

The problem is that when you need recommendations for an internship, a GSI isn't going to cut it. An adjunct lecturer isn't going to cut it. I didn't take classes from well-known professors in my field until this semester and at this point I don't know how to approach them.

SI is small, for U-M, but it's somehow not small enough for me.

srah - Saturday, 7 February 2004 - 2:53 PM
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