Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No, You Cannot be a Professor

Larry Cebula's advice to students hoping to earn doctorates and pursue a career in higher ed. Open Letter to My Students: No, You Cannot be a Professor:

No, my esteemed student, you are not going to be a history professor. It isn't going to happen. The sooner you accept this the better.

This is not because you are not bright enough. You are plenty bright. In any case, finishing a Ph.D. program is more a matter of persistence than intelligence. The reason you are not going to be a professor is because that job is going away, and yet doctoral programs continue to produce as many new Ph.D.s as ever. It is a simple calculation of odds--you are not going to win the lottery, you are not going to be struck by a meteorite, you are not going to be a professor. All of these things will happen to someone, somewhere, but none of them will happen to you.

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