@stuffisthings Does the job training in Germany have anything to do with the tracking at the secondary level? As in, not everyone goes to university or does the Abitur, and there are pretty strict divisions between the vocational tracks and others? Or is there job training for university-level graduates as well? I used to live in Germany (a long time ago), and I remember an American friend (who was married to a German, and she had no real financial reason to work, just boredom) complaining that she thought being a florist might be nice, but she'd have to do that lengthy training program.... My other idea as a gift to my undergrad institution, should I ever have lots of extra money (I'm in the arts, so this is doubtful to happen): having a start-up fund for new graduates who get jobs in low paid fields (like museum work or publishing) from low-income backgrounds. This dream scholarship would be like the rich parents I never had: it'd pay for moving expenses, first/last/security on an apartment (which, I know from personal experience, is difficult to scrape together if you are making $24K in NYC), heck even cover student loan payments for the first few years. In other words, basically be a cushion that the upper-middle-class kids from my college had that I didn't. It might go to the same person who gets the Angry Little Raincloud Endowed Summer Internship Fund, or maybe not.
(Just getting this out of the way: I'm still grossed out by the auctioning off of internships and all of this.) One of the nicest little and totally unpublicized things that my undergraduate institution did was having stipends for students to take unpaid internships. It wasn't really enough to cover the cost of living someplace like NYC-- where the arts and publishing gigs would be-- and there was also that pesky problem of the "student contribution" to financial aid packages, which was supposed to be covered by summer work (which, de facto, meant either taking out a student loan to cover that bit or, if one was lucky, the parents had enough money for it). But, I always appreciated that nod to leveling the playing field a little bit. Also, not to drag up the whole cost of college thing again, but that's one of the benefits of going to a rich school. There are funds for stuff like that. (Yes, I know they're more expensive, and I'm old and maybe this all changed, but I went to a fancy place for less than the cost of Big State U., because of very generous financial aid; i.e., I did not go 6-figures into debt for NYU.) If I ever have enough to give serious money to my alma mater, I've already decided that it's going to fund opportunities for low-income students to do internships or whatever in the arts. Maybe by then, the whole internship thing will be reformed, but I'm not holding my breath.
@lapgiraffe Thank you! I've noticed the pre-cooked rotisserie chicken thing, too (at Whole Foods and Fairway, no less). OK, I agree that if everyone's drinking, yes, it will be cheaper to eat at home (someone's home.) And, also, I agree that this applies primarily to people who already cook (was it in this comment thread? another?). Back in another life, I cooked a lot: I had everything one needed, spice-wise, and since I cooked a lot cooking was easy. I could whip up even fairly elaborate dishes with little effort, and it made sense to have lots of spices/oils/whatever on hand because I would use them. I can't even get through a bottle of red wine vinegar within a year these days...
@aetataureate Finally, an easy problem to solve: Listen up, people! Stop being judgmental assholes. Thank you. (If only.)
@seaermine Exactly! I wish as a society we'd get away from the idea that math and science are inherently harder than the humanities. (There's a gender thing there, as well, but that would totally sidetrack this discussion.) They're very different ways of thinking and require very different skills, and some people are good at one, some at the other, and some truly annoying people are good at both (I'm looking at you, Eric Kandel, Mr Nobel Prize winner in medicine who wrote a very good book on art, too.)
@seaermine Just to be ornery: there are many, many wrong ways to interpret a painting in an art history class! (I feel like I should insert some sort of emoticon here.) Anyway, see below, about me having taught art history to Rutgers undergrads. I was occasionally jealous of my colleagues in math and the hard sciences, as their students seemed to accept their lousy grades without complaining whereas intro humanities students seem to think that anything-- no matter how uncritical, ungrounded, or crazy-- should have earned them an A.
@Franny @aetataureate @ vicky austin I did a PhD at Rutgers, and by default, also taught undergrads there. I agree: it is absolutely possible to get a very good education there. There would be a bigger difference if she was deciding between Rutgers and a small liberal arts college (let's say Oberlin for the hell of it. Or Amherst), where it would require her putting in more work to get into the honors college, make contact with professors, etc., in order to get the same kind of experience at Rutgers as at a SLAC. Large research universities versus a small liberal arts college are two very different college experiences, by design. But between a large research university, that happens to be the public flagship, and a large research university, that happens to be private,* there isn't as much as a difference as an undergrad. * That is, for ones that don't have a "residential college" type of environment built in. The undergrad experience at Harvard or Princeton is different, because they replicate the small college experience in many ways. Rutgers doesn't, but neither does NYU.
@KathleenD@twitter I need to read this!
@deepomega Yes, right, and I did mention that NYC-LAX (major pairs) has gone down significantly, like international flights. And taking a shorter view, airfares have definitely going up, with crappier service. I can chart a steady increase in base fares (plus the added annoyance of baggage fees and fees for many things that were formerly included) on the city pairs I travel frequently, which are all basically captive to one major airline (so no competition from VX, Jet Blue, or Southwest). There are great deals for NYC-LAX, not so much for NYC-CLE. Flying from other podunk towns in the midwest (including places at risk for losing their air service entirely) is neither fun nor affordable.
@deepomega Is it? Seriously, I am an airline geek, and a few months ago I was actually looking up exactly this stuff (ooh! how much did flights on Northwest cost in 1972 from Seattle to Minneapolis?!?) Maybe we're looking at different time periods, but in the early 1970s, before deregulation, flights for non major city pairs (e.g. NYC-LAX) were not cheaper. Maybe they were already cheaper by then. There wasn't as much as difference in fares in the 1960s/70s. There were fewer fare classes, and fewer advanced purchase discounts, etc. You could walk up to the counter and buy a flight that wasn't insanely priced, unlike today. I was actually surprised, because I've always gone along with the story that airfares have decreased substantially. They have, in some markets. But for say a DSM-NYC flight, I think I'd prefer 1973.