Friday, October 01, 2010

Unsolicited Advice

One side effect of the switch from our homebrew registration system to Banner is that the system has flagged me as needing advising before I can register. I'm sure that some string of if-then logic looked at my number of earned credit-hours (currently 17) and my lack of a declared major, and determined that I probably needed some guidance before I signed up for more classes that bring me nowhere closer to a degree. I can hardly imagine what the system's algorithmic progress-checking would think of my three semesters of junior-level computer science followed by three semesters of graduate-level statistics (which is easier and less work than undergraduate-level computer science), especially when it comes out that next semester I'm planning on enrolling in Microbiology 540.

So today I went to the advising office to get my hold cleared.

The advisor could tell from my academic file that this was not a standard freshman advising appointment. I quickly explained that I work here and take advantage of the staff benefit where I get to take classes for free.

He told me that he is working on his masters degree and that while he is not really all that excited about the idea of still more school that he feels that he should continue on to get a Ph.D. I told him that this is probably not the best idea. I pointed out that for most people getting a Ph.D. is likely to make them less employable. I reminded him that the chance of getting a reasonable academic job is pretty low and not looking up.

I think that this is important information to be communicated to students at advising appointments.

(And, yes, I got my hold cleared. Now I am free to register for Microbiology 540--assuming there are still seats left when I become eligible in November.)