I remember the summer of 2010 I was taking an advanced film class on documentaries, and something about the instructor didn't sound right. So I ran a background check on her.
Turns out, her background in film was minimal at best. Her Master's was in creative writing, and she had a single credit on Imdb for producing a documentary short I'd never heard of.
I was less than thrilled. It wasn't my money being wasted per se, but I benefit I'd earned by spending the first years of my marriage on the far side of the world where things occasionally exploded was somewhat degraded by the fact that I was taking a 4000 level class being taught by an incompetent.
And there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it. Drop/Add had passed by the time I figured it out. And most likely complaining to the department would just get her contract not renewed. Most likely she was the only MA left in the department that summer. Any response I did make would just knock over her rice bowl and do nothing to the shysters that had put us both in awkward places.
Hell, she had a Master's in creative writing and found a job in the midst of the recession. I was more impressed than angry. In other circumstances I would have bought her a drink.
So I left her alone, did my assignments and kept my mouth shut unless she spouted something really egregiously asinine. And we made it through the summer term.
Academia hasn't gotten any better.
In 2015, I predicted that Academia would crash and burn entirely in the fall semester of 2021. Short version, two reasons. One, that's the first incoming freshmen year for the children of millenials. Two, the results of the 2020 census will see how the income advantage of a bachelor's degree over other options have fallen.
And now there's... everything.
Distance learning, the bane of bursars eager to take freshmen money by showing off fancy campuses, is becoming the gold standard. It's making waves in K-12 now that legions of more parents are finding out that six hours in school teaches lessons that can be gone through in two.
But the real kicker is in higher ed. Forty percent of incoming freshmen don't graduate. One in four don't last freshmen year. But that tuition and those fees are no deposit, no return. Something pointed out very unceremoniously to an entire generation kicked out at spring break and told not to come back.
It pains me to think it. I got a lot of friends in the ivory tower. And the thought of my life's work crumbling out from under my feet is horrifying. And it only gets more horrifying the older you are.
Here's hoping you lot all land on your feet.