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Realizing a PhD is the way to go

djmadnan

Member
Messages
9
Points
0
Hey all,
I'd like to know if anyone out there has been in the same quagmire as me. I graduated in 2002 from U of I Champaign (anyone out there???) with a Masters of Planning and a Law Degree. In the first round, I applied to about 75 jobs, went on 5-10 interviews and wound up employed by February for a substandard salary as a Program Coordinator with a local community development advocacy group. Suffice to say it sucked. The people, the work, just about everything.

The long term implication is that I don't know how much I like planning practice when it becomes completely muddled by politics, race, gender, and damn NIMBYs. I don't like menial tasks like moving boxes or grantwriting.

But I loved school, writing, theorizing and the world of me and my pen and paper. I've long thought academia might be the right direction, but after 8 years of college already, how long can one remain a student?

Do any current PhDs or people dissatisified with the professional planning world vis-a-vis grad school care to offer an opinion on the matter?

I'd also like to know how difficult admissions are compared to Master's programs. I would really like to go Ivy if I am headed towards a PhD, and I was admitted to Ivies for Masters work.

Thanks~
djmadnan
 

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
Messages
2,713
Points
24
djmadnan said:
Hey all,The long term implication is that I don't know how much I like planning practice when it becomes completely muddled by politics, race, gender, and damn NIMBYs. I don't like menial tasks like moving boxes or grantwriting.

But I loved school, writing, theorizing and the world of me and my pen and paper. I've long thought academia might be the right direction, but after 8 years of college already, how long can one remain a student?

I would really like to go Ivy if I am headed towards a PhD, and I was admitted to Ivies for Masters work.
djmadnan

So, what you are really trying to say is that you think that you should not have to start out at the bottome like everyone else and work up from there?

You hate to have to deal with all the messy details that make up living with others in society so you are questioning if it is what you want to do? The problem being that you still have the GOD COMPLEX and want to force your will onto others without all the give and take.

You think if you go to an Ivy League Ph.D. program that you will be an instant shoe-in for one of those comfy government jobs where you don't have to worry who you crush.

Do us all a favor and get out of planning while you havn't wasted to much time. You are not a planner, you are a buerocrat who does not want to earn thier living.

I have a friend who just graduated from Columbia. He has been looking for anything on the east coast for 6 months. An Ivy league education is not doing him any more favors than from a solid planning school any where else, it just raises employer expectations.

I have Ph.D. friends in the planning field. The tedious work does not go away, It increases. You work for a lot less money than a current planner with 5 years experience makes, you have to publish or perish (judging your stated work ethic, a real problem), teach classes (more runny noses we have to deal with), and be involved with your community (something you said you DON"T like to do).

Quit now while you are still just slightly behind
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
But don't some people need to be planning professors? Is there anything wrong with wanting to be one? Every profession has people in academia who look at the big picture. The world of academia just might care about Ivy League Status. I don't assume all professors are lazy burnouts from their fields.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
Messages
2,713
Points
24
Seabishop said:
But don't some people need to be planning professors? .....I don't assume all professors are lazy burnouts from their fields.

Thats the point. He can't hack the proffession, so he decides to teach it? Probably has a lot of half baked ideas that nobody liked. Then he wondered why there was so much political and other crap to deal with.

If he wants to teach fine, but he should have some experience to back it up. He is out in the field for 1 year and he hates it. That is who I want for a proffessor. I believe my assesment was dead on.

UW Madison requires a minimum of 2 years experience in the field to be accepted to thier Ph.D. program and I have never heard anybody site them as a planning powerhouse. What do the rest require?

Sorry for being rough on the guy but better he knows he wont get out of the work and politics and all the other crap he hates.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
There are valuable needs for both the academics and professionals in our field. Both sides need each other and often cross, like it or not, and the best outcomes will come if we work together.

But I agree, teach because you want to teach and research. Not because you don’t want to plan.
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
Actually, I do have a lot of sympathy for this issue but I also have to agree to some extent with D.o.D. I was one of those snotty gifted kids who figured I was smarter than all the adults around me and my parents were clearly idiots. I walked away from a National Merit Scholarship and dropped out college, knowing full well that I would be labeled a 'failure' and experience 'failure' for a few years before there was any pay off for my decision to go out into the world and learn to be something other than academically brilliant.

I have little respect for people like the Clintons, who get quoted as saying things like "Well, we could give you a tax break and let you have more of your money, but you would be better off if we spent it for you." They think they have all the answers and do not trust anyone to make any kind of good decision with their own money. Which is a poisonous attitude, and one I actively sought to divest myself of.

I am now back in school and I am very fond of professors who are still working in their field. Ivory tower types are often clueless as to what is REALLY effective. They have all their theories but, when the rubber hits the road, a lot of that BS turns out to be, well, BS.

However, I seriously doubt that I could make it in a 'normal' planning job and I am still trying to figure out exactly where I fit in. I very much enjoy doing some of the pro bono consulting I have been doing for a friend who is a community activist. And ANY job has a certain amount of BS in it. (Like I tell my kids, "You think I ENJOYED changing your diapers?!!!!")

Perhaps djmadnan needs to do some real soul searching and exploring what kind of careers are out there which might be a better fit. I, personally, think that deciding to go back for one's phd is sort of an immature decision at this point. I am hearing: I did well at school and I liked it, so I am going back to that. Yet he (she?) also says "How long can you go to school?" Exactly! Going back to school is an easy and simplistic answer to a problem that will defy easy answers.

This is a problem that will require real soul searching -- and you will find your answers within. Coming to cyburbia to get total strangers to hand you an easy answer isn't going to fix it. You have to work for this one -- or resign yourself to doing more of the crap you've been doing, which hasn't worked for you so far. And I don't mean the crap from "the job" -- I mean the poorly thought out career 'planning' that landed you in this mess.

And if you really don't want my opinions, don't ask again. I am a very nice person but I have never found it to be 'nice' to feed someone's fantasy. I assume you posted here because you are kind of desperate and you have been unable to come up with answers. So perhaps you are ready to make real changes now. But my experience is that problems do not go away until you really deal with their CAUSE, not just their symptoms. Way too many people go through life with a pitbull gnawing on their leg and asking for painkillers rather than asking someone to kindly help them remove the pitbull and stitch them up and give them antibiotics. I think pain is a Good Thing. It is important information and shouldn't be ignored. It says "Hey, stupid: Don't do THAT!"

I wish you the best of luck in searching for a REAL answer this time around. A Phd might be part of the answer -- but I don't think you have asked the right questions yet, so I would hesitate to make any decision just yet.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Duke, that was kind of harsh and you perhaps misread dj's comments. Let me try. I interpret the post as stating s/he has a master's in planning and has been working for some time, but does not enjoy much of the hands-on work of planning. S/he enjoys research and writing, is thinking of continuing for a Ph.D., and is asking advice.

I can relate. I enjoy doing actual development and long-range planning, but current planning and the day-to-day grind don't thrill me. I would also like to get a Ph.D., and I suppose ideally, split my time between teaching and consulting. The difficult thing for me would be not having a nice, large income. Few programs make it easy for you to earn a Ph.D. part-time.

There are alternatives for you to consider. Many state university extension services have a research/writing/education role without requiring staff to have a Ph.D. The quality varies A LOT state-to-state, with the best generally in the Midwest. Consulting can also be more "academic." You might fulfill your academic yearnings by writing independently, or for your state APA chapter.

Duke is right in saying that you can't escape the politics, though. There is politics in every environment, whether government, private sector, educatio, or even within state organizations.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,898
Points
27
I agree with Cardinal. I think you should look into other options within the planning field before committing to a PhD program. (What about economic development?) It seems to me that with a Master's in Planning AND a law degree, you should have many opportunities.

If you're more into writing and research than the day-to-day work of planning (as I am), consulting is definitely one way to go. Or, look into the "think tanks" and some of the programs that universities have set up to provide assistance to municipalities.

It seems to me that you should go with what you enjoy the most -- and find a way to make a living at it. Not all of us can be great administrators, creative land use planners, or community advocates. Contribute using the skills you have.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Mud Princess said:
I agree with Cardinal. I think you should look into other options within the planning field before committing to a PhD program. (What about economic development?)

LOL - Economic development is mostly what I do. I'd say about a quarter of what I do is research or writing or long-range planning. The rest is administration, marketing, etc. I am probably doing a higher percentage of the good stuff than most economic developers, mainly because I can, and see the big picture.
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
Cardinal,
I agree that Duke was not exactly exercising diplomacy. And I hate to open this can of worms here, but what I heard was "bored gifted kid who never grew up". That is not meant to hurt dj. I understand that issue and there are some real issues for the gifted population being given a ration of shit completely unnecessarily, and made to do things to 'prove' themselves that really aren't productive or necessary. But then it often becomes something of an attitude problem where they can't seem to differentiate between shit they shouldn't have to put up with and shit that everyone has to put up with -- like "politics".

There are ways to deal with such issues, but, no, it will not go away just because he changes jobs, careers, or fields. At some point, gifted individuals have to learn to compromise and that there is no escaping the reality that most jobs will be boring and frustrating some of the time. I took a class Spring quarter of this year about OSHA compliance. I whined endlessly to friends of mine about how wrist-slashingly boring this class was and that if I failed it, I might have to change degree programs because I couldn't face it a second time and it is a graduation requirement.

However, I do have a goal of finishing my degree. So I do what I have to do, even when it isn't 'fun'. I was a dilettante and dabbler who only took classes that interested me when I was 18 and 19 and I made only 2 B's and the rest A's when I attended college as a teen. When I returned to college in my 30's, I decided my GPA would just have to suffer and I would have to take classes I didn't like, gosh darn it, in order to reach my goal.

Gifted individuals are often perfectionists and just plain neurotic about some of this. I had to nearly die to get over it and quit feeling like I needed therapy if I got a B. Gifted kids tend to have their emotional growth stunted by the fact that their mental 'age' is years ahead of their biological age. So many things come easily and quickly to them that they develop no patience. Patience is an aspect of maturity and this is why I say "bored gifted kid who never grew up". It is common for gifted individuals to have difficulty with exactly those types of things that require patience and other things that I would label "a sign of maturity".

This is not really the right forum to go at length into the matter but I do think this is an aspect of dj's problem. Anyone considering going back for a phd has more than 'average' intelligence. A phd might be a great thing for him to pursue -- but I am not convinced it will solve the problem, which I think runs deeper than mere "job dissatisfaction".

However, I would kind of prefer that if dj is interested in my thoughts on the possibility that this is part of the problem, that he contact me privately since it is off topic for a planning forum. I have no desire to hurt anyone. I just think 'changing jobs' is not going to fix anything in this case. I could be completely wrong, certainly. But I think that if I am right about this, it would be a disservice to not speak up and say that I think the problem is more complex than than being frustrated with this one job.

If dj wants a real solution, merely trying to answer the 'question' as it was asked may not be any kind of an answer. Often, the presenting problem is a symptom, not a cause. Treating the symptoms but not the cause usually does not fix the problem and can actually make the problem worse. I think I see what part of the cause is and that my unique take on this might be useful information. In case I wasn't clear earlier, that is why I have my doubts that pursuing a phd is a good 'answer' at the moment -- it may be PART of the answer, but I think it could also result in 'more of the same' if it is not done for the right reasons and if these other issues are not also dealt with.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
Messages
2,713
Points
24
Cardinal said:
Duke, that was kind of harsh and you perhaps misread dj's comments.

Yeah, you were right. I was harsh. However I read his comments, I was a bit on the blunt side. Part of the reaction is knowing that whatever I am, I have a strong desire to make my naighborhood a better place. I see how things work at the municipal level. I don't necessarily like it, its not what I think of as planning sometimes, but dammit, to make a difference you have to stick in there for a while. Making that difference is really hard to do with only 1 year under your belt.

I have a close friend that is tenured at a UW school in urban planning. He worked hard to get tenure, and he still works hard as my comments above state. I am starting to work on an academic article with my friend involving migrant worker patterns. Being a professor means being expected to work within your community within your field, and it definatly takes political savy. All of the things this person seems not to like.

Sorry for being harsh, but I think this person needs to think deeper than they have about what they really want to do. I would stay in school the rest of my life myself if I could, but not to dodge the real life bullet of having to deal with people.
 

Dharmster

Cyburbian
Messages
440
Points
13
A couple of comments

If considering a PhD in planning you must consider a few things:

1) Like in any field the supply of PhD graduates is far greater than the available number of academic jobs - so consider the real possiblity of not ending up in academia

2) The number of urban planning programs is very small as are most programs. That means even if you are lucky enough to get a faculty position you might end up in a directional university

3) Academic life does have its advantages, so if you can land at a good university (even if it takes you a while) and really enjoy your subject area it will be worth it
 

OhioPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
304
Points
11
As one of those with a PhD's who works in academics a few comments.

A PhD program is not the right choice instead of working in the real world. You have to really want to go into academics to go into a PhD program.

There is no benefit to having a PhD in the work world, only a prerequisite to working in academics.

Think hard about whether you really want a PhD. This will take 4 years and you won't be taking "fun" classes. It's all research methods and statistics. Also, how much do you like to write. This consumes the vast majority of a planning academic's time.

In terms of getting into a PhD program, it is considerably harder than getting into a Master's program. Everyone applying to a PhD program has good grades/GRE scores. What we and every other PhD program are looking for is a student that has a very specific research interest that fits well with particular faculty at that school. If you get serious about a PhD program feel free to e-mail me and I can discuss particulars about the application process.
 

japrovo

Member
Messages
103
Points
6
I've also made the jump from the "real" world to a PhD program so, a few good things and bad things about running away to academics from someone in year 5 of 5 just starting to sweat the crummy job market.

As others have said you won't escape politics, but more often than not you will be able to think long term and if you want to, speak the truth as you see it.

Everything (from admissions, to course work, to profs. expectations) is harder than in your master's program---Ivy league status notwithstanding.

However long anyone tells you it should take add a year. You need to be in this for the long haul. If you do this don’t do it because you hate your first job after your master's. You are just as likely to hate this over the long run and bail out with nothing to show. The world around any university campus is littered with people with some PhD coursework and no degree.

Depending on your program or your specialization your work will not just be methods courses. There is some of that but you can fit in some "fun" course work---if it adds to the dissertation---coursework is all about what you need for the dissertation.

You will have more time for friends or family than working a 9-5 job, but as the stipends will be less than you can live on that family better be close by.

You will most certainly have to write grants. It is not just publish or perish---money matters---even recent PhD graduates looking for academic jobs are asked about funding for their work while in school!

You also should expect to move boxes as the small d democrat in me would like to point out. Some schools (from what I understand at least one Ivy I won’t name) are famously hierarchical and you will be the low man until the day you leave.

I think your first expectations about employment should be academic but depending on your specialization there are plenty of PhD's in state and federal government or even private consulting. You need to look to that track before you get too far into a program though. There are diferent sorts of research and writing that will make one plausible for academics or practice.

Going to an Ivy or to one of a few other schools that focus strongly on developing theory may give you something close to the Ivory tower approach you seem to value in your post---but you (and others here) should understand that there are more and more of us out there getting our hands dirty in the real world, quite happily making substantive contributions to our communities.
 
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djmadnan

Member
Messages
9
Points
0
That is a lot to respond to.

I think the diverse audience here makes it difficult to write a targeted question. You all have different perspectives since you are all of different backgrounds in different positions. Perhaps my original message was simplistic and exhibited more cynicism than I really feel. The better question would probably have been "what makes a PhD for or not for you" and those that have and have not chosen to study for one could lend their perspective. It is true that my employment experiences (and experiences with what planning actually consists of in the real world) have been disparaging and frustrating. But earning a PhD is not an escape - but rather another direction, in which I feel my talents, perspectives and interest might better be served. I too have heard that PhDs, even professors, have engaged more in real world planning in recent decades - although some remain firmly entrenched in the world of theory - and that is not something I am averse to. Politics may be something one has to deal with wherevery one is, and a university setting may not be more exempt than I thought, and for that information I am grateful.
Trying to describe my frustration with my work experience in the context of wanting a PhD belittles the underlying desire to return to academia - which has been venerable since I graduated. A better choice would be to go for a PhD when I am perfectly happy in a job, I understand, but isn't there the real possibility that one will 'get stuck' in a satisfactory, but not spectacular position, and find oneself not living up to one's potential? Perhaps I am exhibiting an underlying desire to avoid being satisified in employment so that I can convince myself to return to school - that's something to ponder.

I know this is a multifaceted decision which won't be made easily nor by the reactions one gets to a post on Cyburbia. I would like to thank you all for your input, even those that were 'harsh', as it did make me rethink some of my issues, and for that I am grateful.

Ciao!
djmadnan
 

The Irish One

Member
Messages
2,267
Points
25
but isn't there the real possibility that one will 'get stuck' in a satisfactory, but not spectacular position, and find oneself not living up to one's potential?

That's real life. My brother has been miserable since he got his Phd. Always dealing with people who are only where they are because they know someone or kissed ass the right way. Dealing with people who are clearly less qualified to head a lab or department. I think politics in school is more of a problem than in the "real world"
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
The Irish One said:
That's real life. My brother has been miserable since he got his Phd. Always dealing with people who are only where they are because they know someone or kissed ass the right way. Dealing with people who are clearly less qualified to head a lab or department. I think politics in school is more of a problem than in the "real world"

Brilliant people often have pathetic social skills. It is a complex situation. Part of it is that if your IQ is high enough, it is a little bit like being sent back to 5th grade and told to sit still in your seat and not bother the teacher, since you are smart enough to not need her help and should politely allow your needs to be utterly ignored while she tries to teach a little something to everybody else. (OT: The public school system seems to define "gifted" as "gifted at behaving in class and not bothering the teacher, while you get treated like an unpaid teacher's assistant and are universally loathed by your classmates for the privilege." and a lot of gifted kids get in big trouble in school, trying to entertain their roving minds while stuck in a desk, with nothing to do.) If you went back to 5th grade, how many 5th graders would you count as REAL friends? It is hard for someone to feel understood, etc, by someone with a substantially lower IQ.

Anecdotally, there seems to be a certain amount of evidence that people of ridiculously high IQ's tend to also be 'different' in other ways. There seems to be more issues with allergies, Asperger's Syndrome, and many other things that can impair the ability of a brilliant person from doing well in 'normal' surroundings. I have said for some time now that all those Computer Geeks with pathetic social skills probably have a very mild form of autistic spectrum disorder that just hasn't yet been recognized. The latest research is in line with my thoughts on the matter.

Asperger's is a mild autistitic spectrum disorder that is marked by extremely literal thinking. In short, the exact same trait that makes many of these folks brilliant at computers and other sciences seriously impairs their social skills. Being brilliant in a technical kind of way is not sufficient to be 'successful'. In my experience, folks who scathingly suggest that others get by 'by kissing butts' are trying to cover their own inadequate social skills by claiming that social niceties are morally inferior and the mark of someone too stupid to get ahead on 'brains'. Other research states emphatically that 'emotional IQ' is often more important in success than 'mental IQ'. Or, to quote Henry Ford -- high school drop- out and inventor of the assembly line -- "A big pile of facts in your head is not the same thing as an education." (or something to that effect.)

Cultures that emphasize group success over individual success and where 'socializing' is a de rigeur part of doing business, "leave less money on the table" when negotiating than cultures like America where it is 'everyone for himself/herself'. The "individual over the group" set of values is a set of values that promotes 'slicing the pie' to one's own advantage -- and thereby seriously neglects the possibility of synergistically creating more value than is apparent at first glance. Cultures that emphasize the importance of all these social dynamics -- and where gift-giving and other elaborate social ceremonies are essential to doing business -- have a track record of success for "increasing the pie", so that there is more to go around for everybody when it comes time to divvy things up.

See "The Heart and Mind of the Negotiator" for references to the actual research on these things.

Additionally, you could go to Hoagies for some of the emerging research and wealth of knowledge on the social aspects of living with giftedness. An oft-recommended essay on the topic is Is it a cheetah? by Stephanie Tolan, a big name in the gifted field -- published author and I think one of the founder's of The Gifted Development Center in Colorado.

Anyone who is considering getting a Ph.d. ought to familiarize themselves with some of the work in this emerging field. I have never known someone of "average" IQ who successfully pursued a ph.d. On gifted lists, a common experience is that, in the process of advocating for the needs of their kids, gifted parents come to understand a great many things about their own lives and themselves. It is typically a healing, freeing, and empowering experience.

EDIT: my point is that learning about these issues often helps brilliant people get 'unstuck' from frustrating situations in their lives. Understanding the cause of the frustration can help one find a real solution instead of just bad-mouthing folks who are less miserablethan oneself "In spite of " being less brilliant.
 
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jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Michele Zone said:
Brilliant people often have pathetic social skills. It is a complex situation. Part of it is that if your IQ is high enough, it is a little bit like being sent back to 5th grade and told to sit still in your seat and not bother the teacher, since you are smart enough to not need her help and sho

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
 
Messages
7,649
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29
jordanb said:
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I find that amusing, but I cannot figure out if you mean it as 'agreement' or you are reiterating Chet's point that I should "Shut the F*** up!!!" and am putting people to sleep! :)
 

Dharmster

Cyburbian
Messages
440
Points
13
Michele Zone said:
Brilliant people often have pathetic social skills. It is a complex situation. Part of it is that if your IQ is high enough, it is a little bit like being sent back to 5th grade and told to sit still in your seat and not bother the teacher, since you are smart enough to not need her help and should politely allow your needs to be utterly ignored while she tries to teach a little something to everybody else. (OT: The public school system seems to define "gifted" as "gifted at behaving in class and not bothering the teacher, while you get treated like an unpaid teacher's assistant and are universally loathed by your classmates for the privilege." and a lot of gifted kids get in big trouble in school, trying to entertain their roving minds while stuck in a desk, with nothing to do.) If you went back to 5th grade, how many 5th graders would you count as REAL friends? It is hard for someone to feel understood, etc, by someone with a substantially lower IQ.

While I don't consider myself "gifted" or whatever, I do think being put in a normal educational setting can be somewhat cruel to someone who is very bright especially when young. The problem is that a bright person can remember things much quicker than a normal person. So in a classroom setting they find that things go really SLOOOWLY, and tune out easily (often diagnosed as a short attention span). That hurts because they are tuned out and then the teacher may move onto new things and the person may not automatically tune in. Thus they often do as well as they should because the educational setting doesn't meet their needs.

Personally, I used to take Spanish classes at former workplace and found that things moved too slowly. That was partially because I was one of only two native English speakers. I would often stare out the street at the building under construction next door or even notice the Treasury Secretary's motorcade pass bye. The spanish teacher used to notice and called on me the first year or so.. but after I got the answer right almost all the time she stopped bothering. For her it was hard to understand that I could be staring out the window while listening at the same time.
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
Dharmster said:
While I don't consider myself "gifted" or whatever, I do think being put in a normal educational setting can be somewhat cruel to someone who is very bright especially when young. The problem is that a bright person can remember things much quicker than a normal person. So in a classroom setting they find that things go really SLOOOWLY, and tune out easily (often diagnosed as a short attention span). That hurts because they are tuned out and then the teacher may move onto new things and the person may not automatically tune in. Thus they often do as well as they should because the educational setting doesn't meet their needs.

The essay I referred to (called "Is it a cheetah?") is basically about just that: gifted folks tend to operate "at high speed" and have hungry minds. Acceleration and compacting are generally necessary to keep a gifted kid from dying of boredom. But schools tend to be extremely resistent to such things. A parent of a gifted kid who advocates for a grade skip often gets told that their child can't "behave" in class and, therefore, they aren't "mature" enough to be put with older kids when, usually, the child is acting out due to boredom and frustration and their behavior would improve if they were put into a more academically challenging environment. But the parents very often get told "We will consider a grade skip AFTER your child proves their ability to behave in class." when the grade skip is what would "improve" the child's behavior.

As for the misdiagnosis of 'the attention span problem' in gifted kids: that is a common mis-assessment of the situation. One of my sons is profoundly gifted but was only a B student in school. He was tested for ADD and it was ruled out. But another school that he later attended outright suggested we 'get him labeled and put on Ritalin'. Although many teacher's told us he was 'bright' and "ought to have better grades", he was never referred for testing to see if he qualified for the gifted program. It came as quite a shock to be informed, when he was 11 years old, that he was far more gifted than his brother who made straight A's and was qualified for the gifted program by 3 different states.

It is sort of that 'Einstein factor': after a certain point, a very high IQ makes it rather difficult to deal with 'normal' social situations. Kids with such high IQ's are routinely labeled as 'problem students' and it is not at all unusual for it to be completely overlooked that they are brilliant. Even if they are referred for testing, such kids are still often mislabeled because they tend to not 'test well'. Such kids have to be assessed by a qualified professional, not simply 'tested'. You get really weird answers from them that make their answers "wrong" on a standardized test. For example, they might fail to classify a picture of a 'whale' with other words starting with W because they know what kind of whale it is and they will group a "blue whale" with the B words -- and be marked wrong.

Anyway, I could go on, but I will spare you the rest of my meanderings.
 

BIH80

Member
Messages
64
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4
djmadnan, most people w/ your high level of education know that a PhD would be extremely excessive in your supposed case. What can you do with a PhD that you can't already do? Why don't you consider a 1-year LLM instead? :-c
 
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Actually, I think an LLM is overkill for someone with a JD and a master's degree (unless you really want to go into tax law). That being said, have you thought about practicing law in a "regular" law firm that specializes in real estate and development work? Yeah, there is a lot of politics (office and otherwise) and some amount of mundane work. However, there is probably more administrative and clerical help than you are used to, and the pay is generally very good (depending on the firm).
 

BIH80

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msanthrope said:
Actually, I think an LLM is overkill for someone with a JD and a master's degree (unless you really want to go into tax law). That being said, have you thought about practicing law in a "regular" law firm that specializes in real estate and development work? Yeah, there is a lot of politics (office and otherwise) and some amount of mundane work. However, there is probably more administrative and clerical help than you are used to, and the pay is generally very good (depending on the firm).
So do I but it's less so than a PhD. He strongly think he should have gone for a LLM instead of a master's, academics is part of the LLM's purpose. Anyhow, can't take back the past. I still think he doesn't need further ed.
 
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