He wrote about "bad reasons for going to law school." Most of the reasons he gives, in one way or another, apply to going to graduate school in almost any field that's not STEM. Unfortunately, they also seem to be the chief reasons why new or recent graduates go to grad or law school.
Here are some of the worst reasons to go to graduate school, especially in the humanities or non-quantitative social sciences, listed in no particular order:
- I can't get a job with my BA in English, History, Philosophy, Sociology, Political Science or fill-in-the-blank.
- My advisor says I'm the best student he's seen in years and that I could make "major contributions" to my field.
- Well, I know there aren't a lot of jobs in the field. But I only have to get one of them.
- And I'll be the one to get that job.
- At least I won't have to start paying off my undergraduate loans.
- They can never take your education away from you.
- No one in my family/community has ever done it before.
- I want to make a difference in some young person's life.
Plus, you'll make far more of a difference by working with some young person before, rather than once, he or she goes to college. I think about that every time I'm grading college students' papers and finding mistakes I learned not to make when I was in fourth grade.
If you want to "make a difference", here's an even better idea: Get yourself a good job and do some volunteer work. Then, at least, the people you try to help and the people who are helping you do it will be grateful to you. That's more than can be said for all of those self-absorbed kids whose parents dumped them in college because they're unemployable and otherwise unmotivated. Actually, it's also more than can be said for the parents, who think it's your job to give their kids good grades, no matter how little or how poor work they do.
- I am passionate about (Subject X) and want to devote my life to researching and writing about it.
- If I don't do it, I'm a failure.
Also: Check out what Professor William Pannapacker, a.k.a., Thomas H Benton, has written on the subject.