Posts Tagged With: Education

#11. 10 Things I remember from the first year of PhD

As a maturing third year PhD student, sorry, PhD candidate…(clearly I am getting quite cozy in this title-driven academic society ūüėČ ) I wanted to share some reflections from around this time a couple of years ago when I was a first year. Hard to imagine that time flies so fast. I hope this post will inspire future PhD students or encourage current peeps trying to get through first year. I’ll preface this by saying that our program is in theory four years long…

10. The welcome speech

It was a beautiful sunny September afternoon, and the department gathered to welcome us fresh first year PhD students. It felt like wow! Look at what we have achieved…I am doing my PhD! I literally felt like a rockstar and I know my mum told everyone she knows ad nauseum that her daughter was starting her PhD. Of course no welcome event is complete without a welcome speech. And here came the first bomb. I can’t remember whether it was the program coordinator OR the program director…their first (of many eventually successful) attempt (s) to burst our bubble came in the form of a statistic – ‘Although our program is four years, the National average for doing a PhD in Canada is 7 years’. Really. Thanks for not having displayed that in bold colours on the application page. Little did we know that this was just the beginning… Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

#9. Once upon a time, life was simple

I grew up in Africa. Kenya to be precise. Nairobi to be even more precise. My childhood spanned the 80s and the 90s. While the U.N. was busy describing my upbringing as mundane, deprived and deplorable, I was living some sort of a dream. A dream where the world was simple at least as far as I was aware.

Blue Band

We called margarine blueband, because that was the only brand available. We called toothpaste¬†Colgate, or Aquafresh. Or close-up. But you were clear that you didn’t want the ‘close-up’¬†Colgate¬†because it really had a sucky taste. Television began at 6pm and then, eventually at 4pm – what a treat. So while there was no television to watch, we played ¬†outside, as in ran in the dirt and socialized with other children.

We grew up with ONE, yes one television channel. In high school, we ‘got’ a second one and boy was that revoluntionary. Enter the world of MTV, Fresh Prince of BelAir, Murphy Brown. Those were the days.

Choices were simple. Never mind that structural adjustment was in effect and my parents faced very complex decisions everyday. As a child, choices were simple.

I miss that childhood. Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Education and earninngs – US Census 2012 data

I am self-professed nerd. I like information and I like research. Just this week I’ve been blogging about the value of education and the importance of going to school. Right on cue, the US Census released its data from 2009 this week and a number of reports on education. Here’s one particular quote I like:

“One of the potential benefits of educational attainment is economic success particularly through access to higher earnings…”

Now lets get right down to the nitty gritty in terms of facts and figures. The following are the expected earnings based on educational attainment:

less than high school – approx U.S. $18,000 p.a

High school diploma – approx U.S $27,000 p.a.

GED – approx. U.S. $23,000 p.a

Bachelors – approx. U.S. $48,000

Advanced degree – approx. U.S. $62,000

FYI, for the advanced degrees, there is a great margin in the earnings as per this quote

” Higher levels of educational attainment are associated with higher earnings. ¬†In 2009, adults with professional degrees earned more than any other education level, with mean monthly earnings¬†of $11,900 for full-time workers. On average, adults with a master‚Äôs degree earned $6,700 per month and those with a bachelor‚Äôs degree earned $5,400 per month. Adults with an associate‚Äôs degree earned¬†$4,200 per month on average while those with some college but no degree earned $3,600 monthly.”

Women earn less than men in almost all cases, and this is even further asserted when the figures are broken down by race and ethnicity.

Among hispanics, the report found that adults with a bachelors education have increased in number to 14.1% compared to 11.1% in 2001; for African-Americans, the stats are up to 19.7% from 15.7% in 2001. For non-white hispanics (their designation, not mine) the number rose from 28.7% to 34%. In the general US population 30% hold bachelors degrees while about 11% have a graduate degree. Asian-Americans are the most educated group with 50.3% of this population having a bachelors degree, and 19.5% having an advanced degree.

These are U.S. figures, but they do speak of the correlation I mentioned prior.

You read the detailed reports on the bachelor degrees and the second report on the field of training and economic status.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#4.Education – Why it is still important

When growing up, there was a swahili song on the radio that had all parents and teachers excited. “Someni Vijana” ¬†they bleated out of tune, hoping to¬†manipulate¬†encourage us at the time to get an education.¬†The lyrics basically say¬†study young people, increase the level of your effort, at the end of your education/studies, you will get a great job.

Someni vijana,

Muongeze bei ya bidii,

Mwisho wa kusoma,

Mutapata kazi nzuri sana

~Henry Makobi

That was the 90s. That was Africa. That was within structural adjustment. A lot young people followed that formula only to be disillusioned by economies that were neither ready to absorb them nor appreciate their talents or skills in any monetarily gainful manner as promised. Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What is a Masters degree worth? √† la NY Times

I was scouting the internet to see what’s ‘out there’ concerning Masters degree after doing a blogpost on seven reasons to do a masters, and I came across a series of short articles done by the NY Times’ “Room for Debate” series back in 2009. The writers are three US professors and a financial advisor debating the economic merits of doing a masters degree:

  • Mark C. Taylor from Columbia University,

    Image representing New York Times as depicted ...

    Image via CrunchBase

  • Stephen Joel Tranchenberg, Former University President,
  • Liz Pulliam Weston, personal finance columnist
  • Richard Vedder, Ohio University economist

Now keep in mind that this was at the heart of the economic downturn (2009) so all things financial especially in the States were shrouded in doom and gloom, and also that this is a very American perspective.

Here’s a gist of the arguments they make:

Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at