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I’m having trouble justifying College to myself Amp Sim & Guitar Effects Plugins
Old 13th June 2018
  #1
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I’m having trouble justifying College to myself

I’m 19 going on 20, I’ve been through one semester of college as an open major, taking audio engineering courses and gen-eds. I have 20 credits of gen-eds from high school. Long story short, I didn’t enjoy it and am questioning going back. I don’t want a career in music specifically, just want to do audio for a living. Live events, broadcast, television, recording, whatever. I just love audio. I feel like I’m waisitng my time waiting around at College for another 3-4 years when I could just put myself to work. But even if I do Nail The Mix classes, find an apprenticeship I can work at for little or free, and work a management job to help fund all of it, my parents still think it’s a bad decision not to go to school at the same time.

What are your expiriences with school? Is the debt worth it for someone who wants to work in entertainment?
Old 13th June 2018
  #2
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

If you're in a situation where you can get a real 4-year degree without piling up a hundred grand (or way more) in student-loan debt, you'd be nuts not to do it.

As for an audio degree vs a "normal" BA or whatever, I'm pretty sure they have an equal chance of getting you an interview at studios, where they can size you up in person. But an audio degree won't get you an interview anywhere BUT studios. And maybe Guitar Center.

I and my landlord across the hall have a handful of freelancers we call in from time to time. Some of these guys rang the doorbell and handed us a resume, some of them we got through Musicians Institute. But we didn't bring on any of the MI kids because they knew more. As a rule, they don't. It was really because of what kind of people they are.
Old 13th June 2018
  #3
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I am definitely going to be pulling in the mentioned amount of debt sadly.
Old 13th June 2018
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadAnimemes View Post
I am definitely going to be pulling in the mentioned amount of debt sadly.
Okay. With that much skin in the game, I wouldn't bet on audio school.

One possibility might be to take a year off and see if you actually can get yourself in at the bottom at some place where you can build a career, with the condition that if it doesn't work out you go back to school. Do your parents live in a place where that's possible? Or does Grandma have a spare room in her Manhattan duplex?
Old 13th June 2018
  #5
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If you don't have a career in mind that requires specific training or a Masters or Doctorate, do not get a Bachelor's degree. Aside from being incredibly expensive, it becomes even more expensive when your degree does little more than put you at the front of the line for positions that don't require a degree and pay hourly wages, not salary. A bachelor's degree means absolutely nothing to employers these days, unless it's very specific and a step towards a particular master's degree or doctorate.

As if this weren't painful enough on income prospects, there's a huge possibility that you will not be able to finish in 5 years, let alone 4. Degree programs and requirements, as well as course credit values and applicability are constantly changing these days. You may take a math course that was equivalent of 4 credits towards a science major when you enrolled, but when it comes time to start the science sequence, that course no longer counts for full credit, essentially meaning you have to take it over again before you're allowed to move onto your major.

I initially attended a 4-year state university, and after 3 and 1/2 years barely had 2 years worth of credits that actually counted towards my degree. Granted I was also working to pay the bills, but I ended up moving back with my parents, and decided to consolidate my state university credits into my local state community college for an associate's degree. Worked great on paper, until more than half my university credits magically expired and/or value reduced to half credits. On top of that, my AP and second language qualifications from high-school somehow no longer applied. I was for all intents and purposes, starting completely from scratch, except for a few creative/elective 2 credit courses. I went from having enough credits to get a dual associates degree with two majors in math and science after a light semester of electives, to having to take calculus, chemistry, and physics sequences all over again. I've taken precalculus FIVE times in my life. I literally aced the course the last two times I took it hahaha Literally 99% score to the syllabus, with ease, as second nature. That's when I decided I was sick of college and they were never going to let me have the degree I wanted, so I decided to leave rather than get a BS BS in Liberal Arts and Psychology. Better to have the experience than racked with debt and a BS BS in BS. Such BS.
Old 13th June 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
I initially attended a 4-year state university, and after 3 and 1/2 years barely had 2 years worth of credits that actually counted towards my degree.
Whose fault is that?
Old 13th June 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Whose fault is that?
Mine for choosing a Psychology major from basic Liberal Arts. I'm guessing you didn't read even half my post?
Old 13th June 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
Mine for choosing a Psychology major from basic Liberal Arts. I'm guessing you didn't read even half my post?
I read the whole thing.

A Bachelor's in Psych will get you an interview at lots of places that can lead to a real career. That's why my son picked it.

He did five semesters of community college, then transferred to UC Irvine. He graduates day after tomorrow.
Old 13th June 2018
  #9
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If you're not already making 50K a year in audio then go to college. It will be worthwhile if you make it worthwhile. Study something that will get a you a good job with benefits. Medical technology or healthcare jobs for example. Keep working at audio in your spare time and if you're lucky you'll end up with the audio career you hope for. And if not, at least you'll eat well and have health insurance.
Old 13th June 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
He graduates day after tomorrow.
Congratulations Brent!!!
Old 13th June 2018
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I read the whole thing.

A Bachelor's in Psych will get you an interview at lots of places that can lead to a real career. That's why my son picked it.

He did five semesters of community college, then transferred to UC Irvine. He graduates day after tomorrow.
It could be that the state schools in NY are a corrupt, racially motivated bait and switch scam. You get what you pay for I guess, especially if most of the bill is paid for with other people's money.
Old 13th June 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
... the state schools in NY are a corrupt, racially motivated bait and switch scam.
I'm pretty sure that's what's carved into the base of that big statue out in front of Sheldon Hall at SUNY Oswego. But it's hard to tell because it's in Latin, so you have to be educated to read it.
Old 13th June 2018
  #13
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My son got an apprenticeship out of high school with a big government contractor, which also got him his security clearance. He started at $35k per year and 5 years later he's making $70k. He is still working on getting his 4 year degree because he will make even more money with one.

My daughter, who is 2 years older than my son, got a 4 year degree in psychology and made $22k out of college for 2 years, then $35k for 2 years, then $70k for less than 1 yr before she parlayed that job into a $90k/yr job. So for those years that we joked that my daughter would end up renting a room from her brother, she ultimately passed him up in earning potential because of her degree. My son is basically capped out without a degree. My daughter is just now starting to enjoy the fruits of her degree. We fully encourage my son to complete his degree but it is more difficult since he is working full-time. You decide which is better, but in the end the statistics show that those who earn a degree make more in the long run.

Like Mike Rowe (Dirty jobs) advocates, college is not for everyone and I agree there a re circumstances where this is the right choice. But if you have the ability, I think you should get a degree. And if you are a minority, I definitely think you should get a degree.
Old 13th June 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I'm pretty sure that's what's carved into the base of that big statue out in front of Sheldon Hall at SUNY Oswego. But it's hard to tell because it's in Latin, so you have to be educated to read it.
Actually I've heard Oswego is an exception because it's attended by predominantly rural and outer-suburban types. It's mostly the schools close enough to the city that rate meat for the grinder by color and fat content hahaha
Old 13th June 2018
  #15
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Curenrntly with the full time job I’m working. I’m on course to making $48k/ay within the next year or so. I’m just not sure what I would study that wouldn’t make me regret being at school besides business, taking the audio courses as all of my electives(which is what my parents are currently on board with). Then get better and better at what I really want to do while I’m working full time salary to pay of college with the job I already have and look for a job in audio that can make me around the same amount. I just wanted to streamline that process somehow by getting into the industry earlier, maybe save myself years of stress.

Last edited by DeadAnimemes; 13th June 2018 at 09:14 PM.. Reason: (Clarity)
Old 13th June 2018
  #16
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I'd suggest that if you're going to spend a pile of money on education, and you're technically-minded, then go for a degree in a "STEM" discipline -- engineering in particular (I chose electrical, because that aligned with my main interest). You can always do other things, but a science or engineering degree will help to guarantee that you don't go hungry and that you can afford some "toys".

Now, if you're having second thoughts about ANY 4+ -year degree, then I'd probably suggest specialized training in one of the skilled trades. Make solid money in a trade and develop an audio career on the side.

In my experience, school doesn't count for as much in the audio world as the schools themselves would have you believe. Work history in a similar environment seems to be a bigger factor.
Old 13th June 2018
  #17
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The only thing that scares me about that is the math, never been to into that past geometry.
Old 14th June 2018
  #18
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Years ago it was stated that most people do not settle into a career until their early 30's. Looking back, I would have done thinks a lot different in finding a career that would have made more money. It is not all about the money, but you need to find a career that you will be happy. But also, just as important or maybe more is that you need to make a decent living. If you plan on having a family, then making minimum wage or working a job that has horrific hours and you are never home will in the end, make for a VERY unhappy life. I have an acquaintance who got a PHD in History because that was his passion. The only jobs out there for a History major was teaching at a university, which he did not want to do. He ended up working as a delivery person for UPS. Makes around 65k-70k per year with overtime with UPS. Talk about a waste of money on an education! Spent all that money on a degree that he would not use.

Long story short. You need to go into a field that is going to make you enough money to live comfortably. There is a myth that love conquers everything. It doesn't. When the electricity is being turned off and the bill collectors are ready to repo your car, you're not going to be happy. If fact you be living in hell.

My goal when I graduated from high school was to play in a symphony orchestra. I was ready to audition and was told by my teacher that I would be able to win the audition within 6 months. But I was married and had several children. An orchestra position would have paid back then around $7,000.00 per year. Most symphony players had several part time jobs just to make ends meet. My wife and I talked about it and I decided that my family life was more important than anything. So I sold my French Horn, took up piano lessons and bought a new Roland Juno 60. That was the start of a really great journey. I never went into music as a career. I ended up in management and sales for some years and then eventually started my own company when I was 37 years old. Even though I didn't have a college degree, I had a good friend that had been in several successful businesses who advised me to take all of my business courses at night. Especially Accounting. Which I did and it made all the difference when I opened my own company.

I play keyboards on the side, mostly as a hobby, but I still love music and it has been incredibly satisfying for me.

My counsel to young people these days is what I stated above. Find a career that will make you a good living and go for it. Get the education you need to be successful in that field.

Best Wishes on your planning and success.
Old 14th June 2018
  #19
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Sometimes when you get a job doing something you love it turns into a grind just like any other job. At one time I was working as a live entertainer 5 days a week which was a dream come true for me. Money, girls, cheeseburgers, t-shirts The gigs were all in local hotels, resorts, bars, etc. After a couple years I was sick of singing cover songs for tourists. It got to where I was only doing it because I needed the money. I started a totally different business so that I could enjoy my guitars again.

What I'm trying to say is be careful what you wish for because you might get it!
Old 14th June 2018
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
A bachelor's degree means absolutely nothing to employers these days, unless it's very specific and a step towards a particular master's degree or doctorate.
A bachelor's degree means, at the very least, the the degree-holder had the patience, perseverance, commitment, and dedication to see a large "project" [sic] through to completion.

Given two all-other-things-equal job candidates, any employer is going to look more favorably upon the degree holder for that reason.

(They may then select the other candidate due to salary expectations...so there's yet another thing a bachelor's degree means!)
Old 19th June 2018
  #21
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Here's my two cents: I'm mid-thirties, and don't have any college. In the course of my working life, I have supervised and made more money than many college grads. College doesn't guarantee a good career or income.

That being said, if I had to do it all over again? I'd have gone back to school sooner. I've been dipping my toe into higher education, but between the massive expenses and finding the time for school, it's been a no-go. Why go back to school if I'm doing well for myself? Because I work in one of those positions that this business over here lets you do without formal education, but most others don't. With a degree, I could move wherever I like and make even more money than I do now. Also, there is the experience and education that comes with a degree. I'd like an English degree since I do so much technical writing, and it'd be nice to have the educational background so I'm not second-guessing what I write.
Old 11th July 2018
  #22
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Old 11th July 2018
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
Sorry, I just can't accept advice on skipping college from a man who thinks "free hundred and firty four years" is English.
Old 11th July 2018
  #24
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Getting an education is often mistakenly viewed as a means to an end. However, lets not forget about the journey. It should make you a better critical thinker and problem identifier/solver. If it doesn't, then you are not getting the right education.
Old 13th July 2018
  #25
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I can only speak to my own experience but my company hired tons of kids directly out of University - the only strict requirement for an interview was a Bachelor degree with a decent GPA and a willingness to travel. And a resume/cover letter that shows you can write. Didn't really matter what the degree was in. We were looking for soft skills - folks who could present well in a business setting, were reliable, self-directed, ambitious and who could communicate effectively in front of a group of people and in writing.

We hired 1 in 30 or so. We hired them as trainers to go onsite and train new users how to use our software. After a couple years training they could move into implementation and work with a project manager. Then some became project managers implementing the software for new customers. From there some went on to other positions in the company: QA testing, marketing, some with a technical bent helped conceive and design new features. Some loved life on the road and stayed in training. Some went into management.

Based in Newport Beach, CA we mainly pulled from UC Irvine.

I think a Bachelor's Degree is really important. Back in the day, money was tight so I did a couple years at a JC and then transferred into a highly regarded University and graduated with a degree two years later. I think this is still the most affordable path. Having that degree set the trajectory of my life onto a path of success.

But if you hate it then University is either not for you or your not ready yet. I screwed around for a couple, three years after high school before I buckled down and got serious. If I had gone straight to University I probably would have flunked out.
Old 22nd July 2018
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
Here's my two cents: I'm mid-thirties, and don't have any college. In the course of my working life, I have supervised and made more money than many college grads. College doesn't guarantee a good career or income.

That being said, if I had to do it all over again? I'd have gone back to school sooner. I've been dipping my toe into higher education, but between the massive expenses and finding the time for school, it's been a no-go. Why go back to school if I'm doing well for myself? Because I work in one of those positions that this business over here lets you do without formal education, but most others don't. With a degree, I could move wherever I like and make even more money than I do now. Also, there is the experience and education that comes with a degree. I'd like an English degree since I do so much technical writing, and it'd be nice to have the educational background so I'm not second-guessing what I write.
Sounds like you're contradicting yourself here. Above you stated you made more $$$ than most college grads and that college itslef doesn't guarantee good career or income. Which means it's probably overrated then.
You said you work for a firm that lets you do things without formal education that other businesses won't.
Then you state you would given a chance go back to school to earn a better income and career flexibility.

For me I would have gone to a technical or vocational institute as opposed to a regular college or university. Maybe better term would be a trade school. I would have seen that as a better and maybe even more affordable alternative to a college/university.
Old 22nd July 2018
  #27
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Most of the time I recommend getting the formal education but for what you want to do it’s not going to help. The live sound business is all about experience. You’ll be better off not getting into debt and just start getting involved any way you can. I would start by getting to know sound techs at any local venues. Volunteer to help them for free or in exchange for education. Live audio is not exactly my forte but I know enough to tell you that with or without a degree you’re still going to start at the bottom and work your way up. Might as well skip the degree and start that long, hard climb. Good luck!
Old 23rd July 2018
  #28
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Derp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirhowardlee View Post
Sounds like you're contradicting yourself here. Above you stated you made more $$$ than most college grads and that college itslef doesn't guarantee good career or income. Which means it's probably overrated then.
You said you work for a firm that lets you do things without formal education that other businesses won't.
Then you state you would given a chance go back to school to earn a better income and career flexibility.
Your mom's contradicting herself!

But yeah, you're right. And it is a bit of cognitive dissonance going on there to go along with it. I know I've met the right people and been at the right place and right time for a lot of opportunities. I'm trying to get some debts paid down so I can do the school thing anyway. Not so much because it could help me further my career, as it is just curiosity. Plus I've been watching this channel on YouTube called ActionLab that made me remember that learning is actually pretty fun.

So in summary, you should totally go to school, but don't go to school.
Old 23rd July 2018
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadAnimemes View Post
I am definitely going to be pulling in the mentioned amount of debt sadly.
Don’t do it. Total waste of money.

Find out what companies handle the large shows and venues in your town and call them to see how they hire.

I have a friend who took a year course at aes inst or something like this and he went straight to work doing sound for some pretty big names via an internship through this one year or 6 month program. He’s working amazing shows and traveling, I’m not.

I have a BA & MA from NYU, which was a total waste of money. It’s only saddled me with debt and provided zero job opportunities. I was more successful before the debt load made my life a slavery to the loan. I started and sold two businesses before college and used the profit to help finance school.

In the end, any meaningful jobs went to connected people. I was back at square one but now with a huge debt. Stupidest thing I ever did.

Go to college if you plan to get a professional degree or PHD. Otherwise, go work.

My good friend left college to pursue a band with me. He then found himself working on an assembly line and 1 year later he was in a corner office doing logistics for the plant. Now he has 250 employees delivering just in time parts to Ford and GM.

No college degree.
Old 24th July 2018
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
So in summary, you should totally go to school, but don't go to school.
Hmmm.... okay. over
Well if I had to do it again I would have gone to a vocational or trade school.
Learned something practical that I could apply when I graduate. I would have taken up maybe electronics, computer repair or maybe even plumbing.
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