scarletmuse wrote:I do not know a single 3L who was on campus this fall and was not miserable. It was a semester of near-universal suckage. Sorry, kids! (Hopefully we were just a particularly disgruntled class or there was some weird astrological thing happening or something).
Why was it so awful? Was it the school? Too busy? The economy? I usually hear wonderful things about Michigan so i'm wondering why there are so many negatives. Can you elaborate?
Yeah, to be clear, I'm one of the people you generally hear gushing about Michigan. My experience here has been overwhelmingly positive in the balance. I think this fall was a combination of things. For me personally, it was the grand slam of a) the class I had been most looking forward to being really, really disappointing, b) getting pneumonia mid-semester, c) being EIC of my journal and not anticipating just how much work that was going to entail in the fall, and d) many of my dearests deciding to study abroad.
As for why it sucked in general, I think there were probably a few factors but the economy was huge. I think everyone was waiting for the sword of Damocles which may or may not have been hanging over all or some of our heads to drop. There was a sense that probably some people had been no-offered, but no one knew anyone it had happened to, so we didn't know whether we had been spared or people were just being quiet. Which meant that 3Ls didn't want to talk to one another (even good friends!) about future plans. Public interest people who rarely know about post-graduation jobs in the fall were worrying a) that their funding would disappear, and b) that there would be more competition than ever for those jobs. People applying for government jobs were told that applications could be up by as much as 100% due to the new administration and the economy. Even the faculty and administration were a bit at sea in terms of advising us – there's never been an economy quite like this in their professional lifetimes.
That said, I can't explain why that atmosphere of misery seems to have dissipated this semester, since if anything the economy is worse now. I think there are two explanations (notice my affinity for lists?): a) we are inherently self-absorbed creatures, and I perceive everyone to be happier because I am, and b) there's less uncertainty about what's coming. There's still some angst about career stuff, because even those whose firms seem healthy now fear that they could go tets up next week. Hell, I'm going to the federal government and I occasionally worry about my job disappearing. But by and large people know how the economy has impacted them and have a game plan to address it.
I have no reason to believe that Michigan has been hit harder by the economic environment than any of our peer schools; in fact, my impression is that our administration and ocs were far more proactive than most. This summer, while everyone else was still playing in the Happy Fantasyland sandbox, Michigan 3Ls were getting weekly emails full of sturm und drang (ie don't assume you're getting an offer, here's stuff you can do now to hedge your bets, here's how we can help, etc.) Seriously, my fellow SAs got a kick out of it, since they weren't hearing word one from their schools. I think that this has worked to our advantage in the long run, but holy crap did it add to the general atmosphere of anxiety, doom and gloom.