Archive | Wednesday , July 21 , 2010

Modite Article: Skip Grad School Life Is Better With Experience.

Skip grad school. Life is better with experience.

July 23, 2007  |  By Rebecca Thorman  |

A few weeks ago, I met a twenty-something pursuing an advanced degree in Political Science to become a professor, although he had no real-world experience in politics. I listened to Mr. Poli Sci and then I said, “How can you possibly teach something you haven’t experienced?”

Mr. Poli Sci became quite defensive at this point claiming he had objectivity (!) since he wasn’t personally involved. I tried to think of one successful person in politics that attempted to stand on both sides of the fence. Politics is about having an opinion. It’s the very definition of passion.

In talking to Mr. Poli Sci, I realized he had committed two common Generation Y sins. One, he had a vague interest in a topic, but no passion, fostering an apathetic approach towards life. Two, he went to grad school to fix it. Life is better with experience. Here’s why:

1) Grad school is good on paper, but barely. An education doesn’t allow your competencies to be realistically measured, or allow you to be differentiated among other candidates. An education simply signifies that you have completed a degree. It doesn’t provide the full picture of your marketable skills.

Moreover, an advanced degree may bring you more money, but it’s not guaranteed. What is guaranteed is the extra stress your additional student loans will create and the regret you’ll feel for wasting your efforts when you don’t end up using your degree. Seems barely worth it considering “grad school is a confidence-killing daily assault of petty degradations.”

2) Employers look for experience, so should you. Real-world experience reigns supreme over schooling. Every time. Your experience in the real-world interacting with real people and real situations allows you to be uniquely suited towards a particular position. Of course, you need education and knowledge to put places on a map. But then you have to go live life to arrive at a destination.

Sure, Mr. Poli Sci would be a good professor, but never great. Great professors have fervent opinions, they know intimately the subject matter upon which they speak, and they have formed a deep respect for the other side. Most importantly, they’ve formed these opinions as the result of real-world experience.

3) Objectivity gets you nowhere. It’s easy to be objective when you haven’t risked anything. But success in business is not objective. Decisions are based on the relationships you have with others, and the emotions of how you’ve lived life up until this point. The facts can be laid out in front of you, but it is ultimately the experiences you’ve had that determine an outcome.

4) It’s better to do something, instead of just learn about it. Why, exactly, are so many of us in such a hurry to re-institutionalize ourselves? I spent years in college yearning to be done with school. Especially the flash card part.

Going to grad school is not having the guts to get on with life. You’re not telling corporate America anything by indulging in a larger map. You’re just making it harder to figure out which road to take. Want to give the finger to the establishment? Go blog. Go start your own business. Go to work every single day and rock every single day.

Preparation is hesitation. Action is change.

Chronicle Education Article: Is Graduate School A Waste Of Time Instead Of Experiencing Life In The Real World?

Seven reasons why graduate school is outdated


By Penelope Trunk

June 18th, 2008

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It used to be that the smart kids went to graduate school. But today, the workplace is different, and it might be that only the desperate kids go to graduate school. Today there are new rules, and new standards for success. And for most people, graduate school is the path to nowhere. Here are seven reasons why:

1. Graduate school is an extreme investment for a fluid workplace. If you are graduating from college today, you will change careers about five times over the course of your life. So going to graduate school for four years—investing maybe $80,000—is probably over-investing in one of those careers. If you stayed in one career for your whole life, the idea is more reasonable. But we don’t do that anymore, so graduate school needs to change before it is reasonable again.

2. Graduate school is no longer a ticket to play. It used to be that you couldn’t go into business without an MBA. But recently, the only reason you need an MBA is to climb a corporate ladder. And, as Paul Graham says, “corporate ladders are obsolete.” That’s because if you try to climb one, you are likely to lose your footing due to downsizing, layoffs, de-equitization, or lack of respect for your personal life. So imagine where you want to go, and notice all the people who got there already without having an MBA. Because you can do that, too, in a wide range of fields, including finance.

3. Graduate school requires you to know what will make you happy before you try it. But we are notoriously bad at knowing what will make us happy. The positive psychology movement has shown us that our brains are actually fine-tuned to trick us into thinking we know about our own happiness. And then we make mistakes. So the best route to happiness is one of trial and error. Otherwise, you could over-commit to a terrible path. For example, today most lawyers do not like being lawyers: more than 55% of members of the American Bar Association say they would not recommend getting a law degree today.

4. Graduate degrees shut doors rather than open them. You better be really certain you know what you’re going to do with that degree because you’re going to need to earn a lot of money to pay it back. Law school opens doors only to careers that pay enough to repay your loans. Likewise, your loan payments from an MBA program mean that you cannot have a scrappy start-up without starving. Medical school opens doors to careers with such bad work-life balance that the most popular specialty right now is ophthalmology because it has good hours.

5. If you don’t actually use your graduate degree, you look unemployable. Let’s say you spend years in graduate school (and maybe boatloads of money), but then you don’t work in that field. Instead, you start applying for jobs that are, at best, only tangentially related. What it looks like is that you are asking people to give you a job even though you didn’t really want to be doing that job. You wanted another job but you couldn’t get it. No employer likes to hire from the reject pile, and no employer wants to be second choice.

6. Graduate school is an extension of childhood. Thomas Benton, columnist at the Chronicle of Higher Education, says that some students are addicted to the immediate feedback and constant praise teachers give, but the work world doesn’t provide that. Also, kids know how to do what teachers assign. But they have little idea of how to create their own assignments—which is what adult life is, really. So Benton says students go back to school more for comfort than because they have a clear idea of what they want to do with their life.

7. Early adult life is best if you are lost. It used to be that you graduated from college and got on a path. The smart kids got themselves on a safe path fast. Today there are no more safe paths, there is only emerging adulthood, where you have to figure out who you are and where you fit, and the quarter-life crisis, which is a premature midlife crisis that comes when people try to skip over the being lost part of early adult life. Being lost is a great path for today’s graduates. And for most people, graduate school undermines that process with very little reward at the end.

Dan Ariely, economist at MIT, found that when people have a complicated choice to make—and there is a default choice—they pick the default nearly every time. So if your parents or friends went to graduate school, you are likely to do the same, not because it’s good for you personally, but because choosing the alternatives seem more difficult. But making exactly that kind of difficult choice is what your early adult life is all about. So don’t skip it.

New Jersey Article: Are Black Writers Stereotyped By The Publishing Industry?


Novelists Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant share one voice

Published: Sunday, June 27, 2010, 12:03 AM     Updated: Monday, June 28, 2010, 1:47 AM
Noah K. Murray/The Star-LedgerVirginia Deberry and Donna Grant, novel writing team of North Brunswick, New Jersey.

By Karyn D. Collins

When Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant are in full-on author mode as they have been this spring and summer, they are a happening — picture-perfect clothes, makeup and hair as befitting two former models (they met while working at the same agency for plus-size models); hugs with their fans; folksy stories about their lives and the places they’ve been.

“There are people we’ve seen every year when we come to their city,” says DeBerry, who lives in North Brunswick and turns 61 this month. “They feel this connection to us. It’s like a reunion.”

Grant says they like to have a good time with their fans.

“People reach out to us. They’ll hug us and everything. Hey, that’s fine. We like hugs,” says the 53-year-old writer who lives with her husband, Hiram Bell, in Brooklyn.

Readers have met DeBerry and Grant so often that they’ve even introduced the pair to family members over time.

“People bring their kids to meet us. We’ve had young adults and teenagers bring their parents. It’s amazing,” says DeBerry.

On their current book tour the writers are promoting “Uptown,” a family drama focusing on gentrification, an issue many black neighborhoods grapple with. The novel also reflects on other real-life issues such as the ongoing real estate and mortgage crises and their impact on the economy.

“Our book centers on a development in Harlem, but wherever we’ve gone, people say to us, ‘Your book is exactly like what’s happening in . . . ’ and they name some neighborhood in their community,” says DeBerry. “It’s happening everywhere. Everyone can relate.”

The story raises questions many in the black community have asked about black developers such as those in “Uptown,” says Grant.

“Do these developers owe something to the people who were already there? Do they owe it to their community to give back? Are they just taking advantage?” says Grant.

“Our books are about deep, personal relationships: friends, families,” says DeBerry.

The pair have been producing a novel almost every year for the last three years under a deal with Simon & Schuster. Their biggest hit, “Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made,” hit the New York Times best-seller list in 1997 and a feature-film adaptation is under development. Actress Regina King recently signed onto the project, they say.

DeBerry and Grant also had success with their 2004 book “Better Than I Know Myself,” which was on Essence magazine’s best-seller list.

Despite their success, the authors say they continue to fight to write the type of stories they believe  in.

They say some publishers would prefer they write grittier, sexier urban books. They left their previous publisher for this reason, and DeBerry says she almost quit altogether. “We drew the line in the sand and said we will not write what I call a booty-thug book. It will not happen,” DeBerry says. “Everyone doesn’t want to read those. Just because we’re black authors doesn’t mean we want to or should have to write that type of a book.”

But the bigger issue, they say, is the way the publishing industry categorizes works by black authors. If you look for DeBerry and Grant novels in most stores, you won’t find them it in the fiction section. You’ll have to head to African-American literature.

“It’s a ridiculous catch-all category that has everything — thriller writers, mystery writers, the booty-thug books, romance writers and novelists like us,” says DeBerry. “As black authors, we get marginalized. We’re only marketed to black readers. We call it the Toni-and-Terry syndrome. If you’re not Toni Morrison or Terry McMillan, if you’re not writing about the past like Alice Walker, you get put in this one category.”

She adds that authors who aren’t black, but write about black characters, don’t seem to have the same problem. When fall arrives, DeBerry and Grant will retreat once again to their “writer cave,” where they will go into writer mode (virtual seclusion) at DeBerry’s home.

The two describe the process as a grueling marathon, in which they typically sit for days on ends at an L-shaped desk, trading turns at the computer keyboard as they write their book.

There is no perfectly groomed hair or makeup, no fan meet and greets. There are few moments of leisure, unless you count quick trips down the street to the grocery or drugstore, or into New Brunswick to clear their heads.

The last time around, DeBerry says, she filled up her car with gas around Thanksgiving and didn’t need to fill up again until St. Patrick’s Day.

Friends, relatives and even local merchants know the drill. Indeed, the ladies confess that one of their favorite restaurants in New Brunswick will drop off meals for them — just in case — if the two haven’t been heard from in a while.

“No trading e-mails — no, no, no. We sit right there side by side in our pajamas with our coffee. One of us types and the other one talks and then we switch; and we just go back and forth,” DeBerry says. “She can start a sentence and I’ll finish it. We like to say we are the author, singular. We are one voice.”

It’s a routine that, after 20 years, the women have perfected. This year they will begin work on their eighth novel, with a target publishing date of summer 2011.

“We’d love to say 2012 for the next book and take a break. But the publisher wants it sooner,” says DeBerry.

Such is the grueling life of best-selling novelists.

Maybe by 2011, their next book won’t be found just in the African-American section of bookstores. Grant says they’ve become increasingly vocal about the pigeonholing of black authors, writing letters to everyone from editors to librarians.

“We feel we have to speak up about this because this is our livelihood,” she says. “I think people understand where we’re coming from. We want to reach everybody. That’s really what we’re all about. We have stories that are universal.”

Xtra Toronto Article: Is The Media Attention About Lesbian Prison Gangs Attacking Lindsay Lohan Anti Lesbian?

Fox News dreams up lesbian prison rape fantasy for Lindsay Lohan
MOUTHPIECE / Homo-ness, physical violence conflated to induce straight terror, desire
By Lisa Foad / National / Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fox News, bulwark of sensationalist right-wing reportage, recently issued this headline: “Lesbian Prison Gangs Waiting to Get Hands on Lindsay Lohan.”

The article, a sleazy regurgitation of the “exclusive” that ran on July 13 in UK tabloid The Sun (“Everyone Will Want a Piece of Lindsay”), chronicles the “brutal conditions” that “bisexual Lindsay” will face in Lynwood, California’s Century Regional Detention Facility, given the “fearsome lesbian gangs desperate to get their hands on her.”

LiLo, argue Fox and The Sun, will have to be on her toes if she’s to dodge the “clutches” of these dangerous lesbians. Warns interviewee and convict Tamara Haley: “The gay inmates wear their shirts inside out to let others know they are available. So if Lindsay doesn’t want someone to grab her ass she’d better keep her shirt on straight. Women grab each other like animals when the guards aren’t looking.”

Let’s back up a minute.

On July 6, Lohan was found guilty of breaching her probation (remember those two DUI arrests back in 2007?) and sentenced to 90 days in the slammer. Further, within two days of clink completion, she’ll sign into a 90-day in-patient rehab program and post-prison probation will involve routine drug and alcohol testing.

Judge Marsha Revel cited numerous probation violations: Lohan’s alleged half-assed attendance at court-ordered booze education program Right On; her absenteeism from a compulsory May court date (Lohan was stuck in Cannes, passport allegedly stolen); the accusatory bleep of Lohan’s SCRAM bracelet during the MTV Music Awards festivities (Lohan maintains the alcohol-monitoring gadget went off of its own accord); the lies Lohan has allegedly told authorities and her refusal to acknowledge accountability.

Lohan, granted a two-week respite to prepare for her sentence, surrendered on July 20. (Her stint behind bars will likely climax at 22-23 days. As LA County Sheriff’s Department rep Steve Whitmore explains, excessive overcrowding means women convicted of non-violent crimes generally serve only 25 percent of their prison terms.)

Fox News is known to peddle phobia, panic and hysteria. In fact, the last time Fox reported on “lesbian gangs” (The O’Reilly Factor, July 2007), the station was blasted for its bloated fabrication of fiction as news. Bill O’Reilly and so-called crime analyst Rod Wheeler reported on “a national underground network” of violent pink-pistol-packing “lesbians” who were “raping young girls,” “indoctrinating them into homosexuality” and “terrorizing” America.

Wheeler was forced to retract much of his so-called evidence, and though O’Reilly refused to invalidate the segment, he admitted its hyperbole. (Indeed. Pink Pistols is actually a national queer gun-rights advocacy group “dedicated to the legal, safe and responsible use of firearms for self-defence of the sexual-minority community.”)

Where Fox News’ 2007 “lesbian gang” story conflated lesbianism with sexual and physical violence to induce straight terror, its Lohan tale is invested in desire. Indeed, Fox’s speculative rape of Lohan is seedy, lewd and wholly scopophilic — this is the stuff of fantasy. In fact, Fox concedes as much, noting Lohan will serve her time in isolation, segregated from the general population. Fox’s hypothetical rape of Lohan, then, is — my God — wishful thinking. But to what end? The Lohan rape fantasy is ultimately a phobically inspired exercise in disciplinary action: at once punishment for LiLo’s queer transgressions and a ray of light (lest sexual assault by a swarm of rapacious prison dykes be enough to scare LiLo straight).

I’ve written at length about the media’s obsession with Lohan as “a site monstrosity,” its “predatory fixation” on “the way she moves, looks, functions and fucks,” its aggressive attempts to manage her unruly queer body. What began with an alleged pre-penned Lohan obituary has culminated in graphic details regarding the “full cavity search” Lohan will have undergone upon incarceration intake and a garish rape fantasy passing as news.

Add to this the recent rekindling of Lohan and DJ Samantha Ronson (pre-surrender, Lohan and Ronson — who infamously split in 2009, two years into their media-gawk-and-stalk-beleaguered relationship — spent most of their time together), and the stale inquiry into the legitimacy of Lohan’s queerness is also back on the table.

As gawker.com’s Brian Moylan snidely quipped in his Lohan jail coverage: “[T]he real news is SamRo is back! Does that mean that Lindsay is also a lesbian when she’s sober?”

Here, I’ll invoke Lohan, who doodled the following on her manicured middle finger while she awaited Judge Revel’s verdict: fuck u.


Lisa Foad is the author of
The Night Is a Mouth. Mouthpiece appears in every second issue of Xtra.

Is Australian Tennis Star Samantha Stosur A Closeted Lesbian?

On the internet, rumours are swirling that Australian tennis star Samantha Stosur is a closeted lesbian.

I don’t know if Samantha is gay. However, I know Samantha’s close friend Australian doubles champion Renee Stubbs is a lesbian. In fact, a few years ago Stubbs came out to the Australian newspaper “The  AGE “. In the interview, Stubbs  talked about her romance with the American tennis doubles  star Lisa Raymond.

Everyone knows there is a lesbian doubles network on the WTA Tour. Some female tennis players play doubles with their lesbian lovers. It just makes sense doesn’t it? Since professional tennis can be lonely for athletes a gay doubles team can spend more time together and make money!

I think women’s tennis is very accepting of lesbians, so if Samantha Stosur is a lesbian the WTA Tour will accept her. Tennis fans don’t care if a female tennis star is gay anyway. The problem is on the ATP Tour, most tennis fans and the media have a problem with male homosexuality. The only gay male tennis player that I know of is the late Bill Tilden. I find it very hard to believe that Tilden was the only homosexual to compete in men’s tennis history.

On the WTA Tour, lesbians have reached the top of women’s tennis.  Gabriela Sabatini, Jana Novotna, Hana Mandlikova, Billie Jean King, Amelie Mauresmo, Conchita Martinez,  Martina Navratilova are grand slam singles champions.  Gigi Fernandez, Renee Stubbs, Lisa Raymond are grand slam doubles champions!

I find it very hard to believe that no gay male tennis player was a tennis champion in the past twenty years?

How is this possible if there is an abundance of lesbians on the WTA Tour? The imbalance doesn’t make sense. Since professional tennis is an individual sport, I believe it should be easier for a gay or bisexual male tennis player to come out of the closet. After all, tennis is not a team sport.

List Of WTA Lesbians Tennis Stars:

1. Amelie Mauresmo

2. Samantha Stosur

3.Billie Jean King

4. Conchita Martinez

5. Lisa Raymond

6. Renee Stubbs

7. Martina Navatilova

8.Gabriela Sabatini

9.Nicole Pratt

10. Jana Novotna

11. Hana Mandlikova

12.. Virginia Wade

13. Maria Bueno

14. Mary Carillo

15. Gigi Fernandez

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