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Thread: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

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    Member Member Nachtmeister's Avatar
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    Default (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    It is not totally EB-related, so I apologize for posting this somewhat off-topic thread, but I could not think about a better place to ask for some general *hints* about this.

    I just terminally flunked some very serious exams at the uni, thereby getting myself expelled from my engineering course. Among other reasons, I definitely spent more time alternating between aimlessly browsing the web for ancient history, then playing some EB, then browsing some more - than I spent time with learning my required subjects (math, physics and chemistry).
    Now a friend who is currently studying for a master degree in history (although it is not ancient history) visited, we talked some and had a few beers and glasses of wine in the process. He kept saying that I was wasting time with engineering anyway and should go study history immediately.

    The question I have to ask the professional historians and history students among you is - should I (regardless of whether I am actually fit to study history)? Rough pros and cons? What sort of "job perspectives" does one have after "finishing"? What's the general picture (not necessarily just in Europe; I like travelling and can imagine that I would enjoy, for instance, catalogue-ing bits and pieces at an excavation site somewhere in modern Iran or wherever, learning the lay of the land and the way of the people, maybe decyphering some very old, very fascinating clay tablets in linearB or runes or maybe even some completely unheard of glyphs)? Is this Idea (the one in the previous brackets) of working as a historian (partly in the archaeological field) completely misguided/out of date?

    Again, sorry for knowingly abusing the EB forum, but it's just such a good place to get history-related questions answered... I would be very grateful for some pointers about this.

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    Guest desert's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    From what I've heard, historians are a lot like small game developers - when they aren't releasing a book/game, they are desperately poor.

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    iudex thervingiorum Member athanaric's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Do what you really wanna do. If it feels right for you to go into history, do it. Prepare for a lot of writing and looking up sources though.




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    αἰὲν ἀριστεύειν Member tsidneku's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Unless you decide to pursue a career in classics (i.e. attaining a graduate degree or a doctorate), it is unlikely you will have constant exposure to things like archaeological digs. In our modern world, we like to try to quantify things and project practical applications to whatever we do. To be honest, I feel like history has little application (please don't slam me for this! I am a fourth year Classics major myself). Humanities, like their namesake, make us more human. I think they are in themselves worthy of study and dedication.

    An undergraduate degree in Classics will force you to study either (or more likely, both) Latin and Classical Greek, they will help you learn more Romance languages and even ones of slavic origin. The study of these ancient languages sort of forces you to learn and understand the grammar and syntactical construction of sentences. If you really want to project into a field of work, something along the lines of editing or journalism may be a possibility. Teaching, be it highschool or uni, are also potential occupations if you choose to get a PhD.

    In my opinion, study something you enjoy. Your education doesn't set your future in stone. :)
    Last edited by tsidneku; 04-01-2009 at 00:49.

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    Member Member anubis88's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Quote Originally Posted by tsidneku View Post
    Unless you decide to pursue a career in classics (i.e. attaining a graduate degree or a doctorate), it is unlikely you will have constant exposure to things like archaeological digs. In our modern world, we like to try to quantify things and project practical applications to whatever we do. To be honest, I feel like history has little application (please don't slam me for this! I am a fourth year Classics major myself). Humanities, like their namesake, make us more human. I think they are in themselves worthy of study and dedication.

    An undergraduate degree in Classics will force you to study either (or more likely, both) Latin and Classical Greek, they will help you learn more Romance languages and even ones of slavic origin. The study of these ancient languages sort of forces you to learn and understand the grammar and syntactical construction of sentences. If you really want to project into a field of work, something along the lines of editing or journalism may be a possibility. Teaching, be it highschool or uni, are also potential occupations if you choose to get a PhD.

    In my opinion, study something you enjoy. Your education doesn't set your future in stone. :)
    I agree... I'm a history student myself... You should study something you know you will enjoy... Even if you don't get a permanent job as a historian, it will definetly be EASIER for you to get a degree from something it won't be a pain in the ass to study... After you have completed a college, it will be much easier to get a job even in non related fields....

    And if that doesn't work the way you want it to, you can always get another degree...

    at least that's how i comfort myself
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    amrtaka Member machinor's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Here at the philosophy department when we're asked "so... what job perspectives do you have with philosophy?" we answer: "well, we'll see... but it's still better than history". ;(
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life


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    Post Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Yeah, ironically, the best employment opportunity for you is to become a university professor and teach more people this useless subject! (1/2) They have good pay (although I am not entirely sure about Germany), low hours, little regulation, large vacations (two months in the summer, winter and spring breaks) and if you get tenure, then life is perfect. The job satisfaction is usually rated as one of the absolute highest.

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    EB II Romani Consul Suffectus Member Zaknafien's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    if I were you I would go into anthropology or archaeology, not History in general. My first BA was in History, and its almost useless. If I get to go back to school someday, I'm going into anthropology instead.


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    Member Member Africanvs's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    I will play devil's advocate here a bit. I think the most important question to ask yourself, is what do I want out of life? You've already worked hard toward engineering, and just because you failed (Probably because you spent too much time playing EB and not enough time studying) doesn't mean you should quit. If it is something you know you will hate doing, that is another story. The fact is, working in the history field leaves few options for history related occupations unless you go all the way and get a PhD, even then you aren't guaranteed a great job. That being said, just because you have a degree in history, doesn't mean you can't use that degree to work in any number of fields if you can market yourself right. Edward Gibbon (Lawyer and Historian) has taught us that you can be both successful in another career, and a historian at the same time. I have always loved history, and used to be a history major myself. I switched to another field that I am both intereted in, and I felt had a better chance of making me a decent living, so I would have the freedom and financial means to do what I enjoy doing, which is travelling and visiting the places that I read about in the history books. You can always enjoy history, no matter what you do for a living. That being said, if you're really passionate about history, and you want to dedicate your life to it, don't let anything or anyone stop you from accomplishing your dream.
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    Voluntary Suspension Voluntary Suspension Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    The job market in the sector has collapsed, you are looking at a minimum of 8 years (probably 10 because your doctoral proposal will be rejected first time around), in the UK you have to find private funding for five of those years.

    I would advise you to become an engineer, the prospects and pay are good, you will never have much money or free time as an academic and you will not get a permenant contract for perhaps another 10 years.

    Question: Do you have 20 years to spend banging your head against a brick wall before you can settle down properly?

    Do you have a partner who is will to put with you upping sticks every few years?

    I am a postgraduate, my Masters will finish in September, I have been denied funding for my proposed PhD, so I have to take 9-12 months out. I will be 23 before I start my PhD if I am successful next year. It will be another 4 years before I can hand in my thesis, I will not recieve my doctorate before I am 27. I will most likely be over thirty before I recieve a permentant contract.

    Currently, I do not have enough money to take a weekend to go and see my friends, I have no girlfriend, I see my family for a few days in the four-week break between terms. I can't afford to get my back fixed, and I'm burning through all my savings.

    So, do you want to spend another 10 years in school?

    Do you want to study history more than you want to start a life?
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    If you choose to go the soft science route, graduate study is one of your only pathways to getting a decent job (and even then it is a precarious road).

    However, graduate study itself is not quite so universally bleak as it has been described by the above poster. Granted, I am an American studying political science and so I cannot speak for grad school experiences elsewhere and in other departments (although the history dpt here is structured similarly). My graduate work is funded (as are most PhD slots)... Nevertheless it is hard on significant others as you are still dirt poor no matter how "big" the stipend.

    But you should be aware now that your GPA will have to be STELLAR in your new major (if you go that route) from here on out if you choose graduate work. Your major GPA is more important than your overall GPA, but it still reflects poorly on you as a student if your grades were utterly dismal.

    In any case, do what you love. Life is too short to spend it in a cubicle (even if it has a nice view).

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    Tribunus Plebis Member Gaius Scribonius Curio's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Ironically enough, this somewhat echoes my position about a year ago. I hadn't failed my engineering course but I wasn't doing well after 18 months. Following a bit of self-analysis, I've now come to the conclusion that my practical reasoning for doing engineering in the first place was flawed (with maths and science I tended to grasp concepts very quickly rather than was actually consistently good at them, by contrast my essay writing has always been well structured and argued, when it isn't spontaneous...).

    Basicly I bailed from my engineering degree into a BA, and am majoring in Ancient History following recommendations from my Classics unit co-ordinator last semester. I'm also studying latin, (and was arranging an appointment with the faculty to get dispensation to do an extra latin unit next semester today as a matter of fact). I'm enjoying it not only because I enjoy reading about history, but more importantly because I am good at it. (I am that shallow... ).

    I am one of those people who is not currently concerned about the lack of prospects, but would like to do post-grad study (it would be a long way off, I'm still technically in 1st year). As per the article posted above it probably seems a little immature, but I'm not big on plans and descisions anyway.

    My advice is switch, if you know you are going to enjoy it, and you think that you can handle it...
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    Abou's nemesis Member Krusader's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    When I studied Medieval History at the University of Bergen there was a joke about the Historical-Philosophical Faculty.

    "Here we educate ourselves to unemployed".

    Unfortunately that's the truth as well. Though in Norway at least you will have better job oppurtunities with a bachelors in history than no bachelor at all for many jobs.
    Last edited by Krusader; 04-01-2009 at 11:03.
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    Member Member Nachtmeister's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Thank you all for taking the time to give me such elaborate - and sincere - advice.
    I will reply directly to your posts as I see myself being a member of some of the mentioned or implied, "difficult" demographic groups...

    desert, this is true; it is also somewhat appealing as it bears similarities to "the artist's way"...

    athanaric, this requires first *knowing* just what exactly I *want* to do - looking up sources is not going to be a problem though; I deeply enjoy any research. Especially if it involves books/text. I believe I am reasonably capable of structured writing, so that is not going to be an issue either.

    tsidneku, while not having done much language study aside from high school Latin (and some unqualified bits and pieces of modern Greek, Italian and "Plattdeutsch" (northern German dialect closely related to English and Dutch) in my "free" time as an engineer student, I do have a disposition towards language in general and feel confident that the prospect of "necessity" of learning ancient Greek, Latin and other languages is more of a benefit than it is an obstacle. And I (in part) agree that a specific/specialized education does not entirely set a "fixed" course while breaking the steering mechanism in the process.

    anubis88, It is true that some fields become more accessible with academic degrees - however, other fields can actually close up due to them (here in Germany, although I said that I do not limit my lookout to my current location, it becomes rather unlikely to get an aprenticeship due to "overqualification").

    machinor, you have a point there... I assume you are referring to jobs for counselors in huge capitalistic companies (General Motors etc) who want their "politics" sanctioned by philosophers for ethical acceptability etc., the kind of job that is in part similar to that of an "environment engineer"...

    Teleklos Archelaou, thank you for this very interesting link; the writer confirms certain suspicions that I have harbored for some time now (which in turn are *really* the component responsible for the mentioned "depression"/lack of motivation to do anything at all, countered only by the realization that doing nothing contains it's own "little suicide"). The partial solution he provides is indeed only partial as practical positions for historians in the heavy industry (the current moneymaker as the artificial industry/banking companies has/have made a grand display of utter failure just now) are *very* difficult to rationalize... Whether the Sumerians used/discovered a mathematical algorithm that is now applied for a certain operation in computer processors is almost entirely irrelevant - as long as the algorithm works, it is sound and will make money with a copyright to it... Exception/example: The processor being called "Sumerian" would be a very swell marketing gag albeit only comprehensive to the very few people who have combined specific components of history and mathematics in their studies... For other economy-related "humanistic" fields (personnel development etc), an anthropologist is likely better suited to the aveilable jobs...

    Aemilius Paulus, I am unlikely to become a professor due to age issues - I am already 24 and have not even started yet... The theoretical perspective is appealing --- I assume you already read Teleklos' link.

    Zaknafien, I am taking that into serious consideration - although it might prove impossible due to terminally flunked, very basic scientific subjects from my engineering course... Physics=>no go; Chem=>no go. The german bachelor-system gives three attempts @ any exam, upon failure to attend (my case), you get it counted as failure to solve the assignments, ergo failure to comprehend. After third attempt, you get banned from the whole subject branch (physics=>mechanics, etech; chem=> biology, materials science etc.; math, which I luckily could avert, would have gotten me also banned from *any* IT). Bans are applied to the entire EU, so my best chance for getting a Bsc. would be emigrating to USA - but for this I do not currently have the funds. By a long shot. So, what it comes down to is the modular composition of Archaeology. If it contains physics/chem (which I consider likely), I am, for now, screwed...

    Africanvs
    , that dream is difficult to grasp because I have a lot of such dreams, most of them impractical, some of them even in the application area of music... Drums & E-bass... Some in history, some in medicine, some in biology, some in engineering, some in philosophy, graph arts, programming, (computer-) game creation, sci fi writing, women... I must go by logic as my empathic mind (still trying to figure out which brain half it is in) is a bit unreliable/deranged.

    Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla, I based my decision in the spring of 2005 to study engineering on precisely your reasoning...
    I do not (and reasonably will not) have a partner to consider in this, so it is all about my individual gain/survival plus some idealistic "improving human society's outlook in general", which I thought to be most effective by contributing to tech development so far. I now realize that the matter is somewhat more complex and among other things closely related to power structures not only in governments...
    As stated above, I am already 24, so "getting my bed made" early on is not an option anymore. Neither is it something that appeals to me particularly, to make the point clear, I can (disregarding physical and ethical requirements for the theoretical argument) even imagine a life in the foreign legion.
    However, funding is a very real issue to me, as I am no bourgeois. The problem with engineering is my faulty perspective/attitude that has now blocked that particular path (in the academic realm).

    Charrette, "love" is a difficult argument from the perspective of the land-less. By GPA I assume you are referring to something within the general terminology of "marks"... The problem with those is that I do not follow/believe superiors easily (exception: military) without full grasp of and consent to their reasoning. My experience with university so far has been that reasoning often gets postponed ("you will understand this in five years but for now just trust me...") and asking questions/disagreeing with seemingly sound reasoning tends to spark personal ire, radically reducing perspective on good grades. Often, this effect is amplified by timing issues - for example, in engineering, it is impossible to cover the entire boolean algebra and linear algebra and calculus and everything else from there down to the math. axioma before the "algebra I" exam takes place in semester I without practically completing all studies before enrolling and applying for exams.
    In short, they don't like skeptics in Germany. Therefore, I am not planning based on "stellar" ratings...
    So thank you for pointing out the requirement of such for high academic employment.

    Gaius Scribonius Curio, this is interesting - I have similar dispositions. The difference is that I am (due to age and funding issues) somewhat concerned about immediate prospects. I am, however, not concerned that much about low money in the near future, as long as it is enough to pay the bills. So a study course that allows for working part-time as a freelance event logistics guy (filling up freezers at discos, tending bar, setting up stages etc.) would be a good idea, if such a thing exists. I would have a problem with seeing myself "cut off" from higher income forever (as in "life") though. Don't want to set the future in stone, as tsidneku put it.

    Krusader, educating myself for unemployment is something I do all the time... Bosses don't like me because when I differ in assessment of "the best approach to the problem at hand", I usually say so or they can read it from my (sometimes involuntary) expression. That's fine in fields where THE best approach is a necessity and "bosses" are thus open to suggestions/discussion before action (ironically, the German military -at certain levels- is an example of this). Generally, loose work environments with relaxed people (such as event logistics in general or small companies) and work environments where the "all" of every member is needed are good while cubicle jobs tend to be short-term with a very un-dignified end. Unfortunately, the latter appear to be more wide-spread than the former, which I personally see as the reason why we are currently in a global recession.

    Again, thank you all for posting; you are broadening my horizon and helping me develop something like the preliminaries for a "plan" to create a life!
    Last edited by Nachtmeister; 04-01-2009 at 14:12.

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    Member Member Macilrille's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Historian, unemployed as I have no secondary subject and can thus not be employed as High School teacher. PH-D's in history are rare here (though ironically someone just got a grant basically by a rewrite of my Master's Degree thesis) and you need them to teach at universities. Museums are impoverished and thrive on free labour from students...

    Need I say more?

    I gave up a well-paid career as a carpenter at 27 to study history and become and unemployed pauper still now at 38.

    And I do not regret it for one second, I just regret that I got no secondary course.

    Point is, follow your heart, not your whims or what you think will net you a good job (for disinterest kills grades), and do what you please. If history pleases your heart, study it, but do not expect to be rich or get a great career unless you are both talented and lucky.
    'For months Augustus let hair and beard grow and occasionally banged his head against the walls whilst shouting; "Quinctillius Varus, give me my legions back"' -Sueton, Augustus.

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    master of the wierd people Member Ibrahim's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Quote Originally Posted by Nachtmeister View Post
    Aemilius Paulus, I am unlikely to become a professor due to age issues - I am already 24 and have not even started yet... The theoretical perspective is appealing --- I assume you already read Teleklos' link.

    !
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    EB TRIBVNVS PLEBIS Member MarcusAureliusAntoninus's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    I have been going to university off and on for about seven years now. I originally started in Biology, planning to go into Veterinary Medicine. After trying at science twice and failing out twice (I just didn't go to classes and hated the day long labs for every class), a few years back I switched over to History. I'm about to get a BA in History, now. There isn't much to do with a History major but History is something that I enjoy working at. I even do optional reading for some classes! At this point, I just want to graduate, too.

    If you're like me and find yourself only willing to work fully at things you enjoy, pursue what you enjoy.


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    Member Member Macilrille's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    24... I would not mind going back to 24 with the experience and self-confidence I have now. Loads of young beauties would be in even worse danger than now ;-)

    Point being 24 is no age at all... Ibrahim is very right, death is when it is too late. While I studied I did so with a farmer's wife whou could have been my mother, her kids had moved from home, her husband made loads of wonga, so she had nothing to do and took up the pursuit of history. One of the professors also told of a Mason unskilled-labourer who decided at 60 to study besides his job and passed his Ma Exams at 70-ish...
    'For months Augustus let hair and beard grow and occasionally banged his head against the walls whilst shouting; "Quinctillius Varus, give me my legions back"' -Sueton, Augustus.

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    Guest Aemilius Paulus's Avatar
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    Question Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Quote Originally Posted by Macilrille View Post
    Historian, unemployed as I have no secondary subject and can thus not be employed as High School teacher. PH-D's in history are rare here (though ironically someone just got a grant basically by a rewrite of my Master's Degree thesis) and you need them to teach at universities. Museums are impoverished and thrive on free labour from students...

    Need I say more?

    I gave up a well-paid career as a carpenter at 27 to study history and become and unemployed pauper still now at 38.
    Hmmm, where do you live? City and country please, if it is not too private of course.

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    Member Member Nachtmeister's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Macilrille, I am beginning to realize that trying to "calculate" life ahead of time is futile and that things have a tendency to stray away from plans; this seems to be an effect of causal chains that increases significantly with the amount of time involved in the planning... So, I come to the conclusion that studying should not be motivated by the degree gained after several years of study (as it has been with my attempt at engineering) but rather by sheer craving for subject matter... ^^
    So you are right - following the heart's desires is more likely to result in success. By success I mean the subjectively perceived success (finally developing a solid *idea* of Julius Caesar, as in being able to imagine him standing before you, to imagine his gestures while speaking, his flavour of character and patterns of thought for instance - which I believe to be possible because his "de bello gallico" is still preserved - or maybe just the "roman soul" in general) rather than acknowledged success (doctor degree etc.). The former is a result of true gain of knowledge and reflecting on it. The latter is rather the result of "connections", as your example of the person stealing your credit quite accurately proves... So there is no true value in acknowledged success itself.
    The only exceptions are acknowledgement (by society) of sanity and freedom as life is harsh when lacking one of them (lacking their acknowledgement is bad enough regardless of their "objective state").
    However, I also have to take into account that there is still a certain flexibility in the above mentioned causal chains/fates: Interference by random events is inevitable but even on rough seas the course set influences whether or not a shore is reached and if a shore is reached, which one it will be and what lands can be explored beyond it. The past affects the present, we affect the present, the present affects the future. Thus, given the present and what we do with it, future events change. I assume that this is what signifies the difference between heart and whim?
    The thing about young beauties in danger apparently remains the same at all times; there are always some things that seem more easy in retrospective than when confronting them in the present - and then there is always that path of valour that seems just beyond reach but very easy to pursue with some minor changes to the past... But I am beginning to think that it can also be reached by a huge and thus by comparison less rewarding effort in the un-altered present. The perceived shrinking of it's reward is what is keeping me from immediately ceasing the folly of procrastinating. But maybe tomorrow... Maybe tomorrow I will change all that and lay hands unto (my) destiny.
    Ibrahim is right - there is profound wisdom in your words. It is greatly appreciated!

    Ibrahim, there is profound wisdom in your words as well! It is too late in death and before that it only seems too late as long as defeat and despair are admitted...

    MarcusAureliusAntoninus, what can I say? You have hit the mark.

    I am honoured to have been presented with my first baloons - - by Ibrahim for tactical observations
    and with my second balloon by Christopher Burgoyne for physical elaboration on the advantages conferred by the Kontos over the Xyston.

  22. #22
    Marzbān-ī Jundīshāpūr Member The Persian Cataphract's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    See, this is a societal problem when it comes to its innate ability to kill passion and to smother creativity with production. Our job markets are still adjusted towards industries, even though these same industrial veins which gave many people the food on the table that they needed, are slowly withering away.

    See, I got my master's in computer engineering a few years ago. I wasn't really jumping out of joy. Sure, I'd get a job. Sure, I'd get a steady income. Maybe some job security too. But it really brought me no joy. Even though I loved computers, and still do, I hated the programming. Even though I passed, it was just something about writing accordingly to a given nomenclature and syntax which eventually bothered me so much I would eventually shun it. So much that my stomach would feel sick. Even the complex multi-variable math and linear algebra I welcomed more. Several times, I considered dropping out because at times I felt "What's the point, really?".

    I saw people I knew from high school already get a good job, and a steady pay, and they didn't need no damn degree to actually charm their way into the social strata. If they knew how to sell their skills, they could go pretty far on that alone. And it wasn't really that weird. In fact, it just looked enticing to just... Throw the towel and say "Fuck you for stealing four years of my life.". And that was already when I had gotten my Bachelor's degree, and was one year away from getting a Masters'.

    So anyways... What is there to say? That you indeed are on your own? Sure, we can be morose, just like that.

    Or you can start embracing the fact that if you let society affect you into becoming something you don't want to be, you've caved in. And realize that it goes the other way too. You can be anything you want. Literally. And you don't really need anyone's permission to have your way. Do you have something to say? Start a blog, and pay for a domain-address. If you're good and sell yourself well, you could eventually make a living out of it. Sometimes, it's just that easy if you dedicate yourself to something.

    If you are going to become a historian, don't settle by just becoming a historian. Focus on becoming the authority to be consulted upon in a certain specialty, and make a mastery out of it so that you establish a reputation and a name for academic excellence. We have enough people who just know how to read the classics. What else can you offer? What else? Really. Be brutally honest with yourself.
    Last edited by The Persian Cataphract; 04-02-2009 at 00:49.


    "Fortunate is every man who in purity and truth recognizes valiance and prevents it from becoming bravado" - Āriōbarzanes of the Sūrźn-Pahlavān

  23. #23
    Member Member Africanvs's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    It seems like several posts have taken a philosophical turn. Sure there are many different philosophies out there from Zen to Stoic but ultimately, you have your whole life to decide what you want to do with it. You first need to figure out what you want out of life, and then do the things necessary to get it.

    If you are content being homeless and living under a tree in the Black forest, by all means go for it. No one will ever expect anything out of you. If you want to find a wife, and have children, you're going to need to help provide for that family so it's important to eventually get yourself some sort of trade so you can do that, and preferably have enough hours in the day to spend a little time with them, and for yourself as well.

    It's OK though if you don't know what you want to do yet. 24 is still young. Not everyone goes to University at 18, Bachelor's by 22, Master's by 24, etc. Some go into the military, some switch majors 4 times at college, and others work for a while, or just F off until they figure out what they want to do. I have done all 4 and at 28, I finally have some direction, and I'm starting to see what I want out of life. I'm still young too and I have my whole life ahead of me. I'm single, I don't have children, and I can do whatever the hell I want.

    That being said, we don't all have the luxury of floating around forever, and depending on who's money you're spending, you may have to make a decision sooner rather than later. I think everyone who has replied here makes excellent points and it's really a testament to the kickassness of the EB community. I will say, be wary of whims, they tend to change like the weather.

    The fact is, life is just a ride man, you can change it any time you want. If things aren't working out and you don't like the way it's going, just change it. People make that out to be so much harder than it is. Even if you spent 12 years studying medicine and one day woke up and said, "F medicine, I'm going to be a locksmith," you know what, life would still go on. The sun would still rise the next day, and set in the evening. People might think you were an idiot for doing it, but so what, it's your life. Let them do what they will with their own.

    The only other point I have to make is that you shouldn't abandon something just because it's hard and you fail the first time. Everyone fails, it's what you do after that defines you as a person. If we shrank from every adversity, we wouldn't get far. Basically what I'm saying here is that if you're going to drop the engineering, do it for the right reasons, not simply because you didn't make the cut the first time. I reccommend getting a piece of paper and a pen and writing down some goals. You may not know them all yet, but you might be able to name a few. After that just make a plan based on your interests and passions that meets all of the goals. Now you don't have to list everything you want out life, like meeting a good woman. If your life is going smooth and you're a happy person, that stuff will come. For example, here is mine:

    What do I want out of life?

    I. Have the time and money to see the World and do the things I like to do.

    II. Work for Myself.

    III. Make a Difference.

    Based on my interests and passions, how am I going to get it?

    I. Earn my PhD in psychology and start my own practice. I have always been interested in psychology and with this career I can work for myself, make a difference by helping people get through their problems (specifically veterans with ptsd - I am a combat veteran myself), and make a reasonable salary which will give me the financial freedom to do what I want and travel the world.

    Sure there are going to be challenges along the way like getting by BS, then my PhD, then starting up my practice, but I'm not going to stop living my life and enjoying it along the way because who knows, it might end tomorrow. Maybe my plan will change somewhere along the way as well, but my goals probably won't.

    I'm not really sure what else to say, this post has already gone on way too long. I only spend all this time typing, because I really do give a shit. ;) This is just one fellow's opinion. The greatest thing about life is that there's no one right way to do it. Everyone's life is different. I know you'll figure it out Nachtmeister. In closing, Einbecker beer is awesome.
    Last edited by Africanvs; 04-02-2009 at 03:46.
    "Insipientis est dicere, Non putarvm."

    "It is the part of a fool to say, I should not have thought."
    -Pvblivs Cornelivs Scipio Africanvs


    Lives: Pvblivs Cornelivs Scipio (A Romani AAR)
    Lives: Alkyoneus Argeades (A Makedonian AAR)


  24. #24
    Satalextos Basileus Seron Member satalexton's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Remember this, The end justifies the means.




    "ΜΗΔΕΝ ΕΩΡΑΚΕΝΑΙ ΦΟΒΕΡΩΤΕΡΟΝ ΚΑΙ ΔΕΙΝΟΤΕΡΟΝ ΦΑΛΑΓΓΟΣ ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΙΚΗΣ" -Lucius Aemilius Paullus

  25. #25

    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Quote Originally Posted by Macilrille View Post
    Historian, unemployed as I have no secondary subject and can thus not be employed as High School teacher. PH-D's in history are rare here (though ironically someone just got a grant basically by a rewrite of my Master's Degree thesis) and you need them to teach at universities. Museums are impoverished and thrive on free labour from students...

    Need I say more?

    I gave up a well-paid career as a carpenter at 27 to study history and become and unemployed pauper still now at 38.

    And I do not regret it for one second, I just regret that I got no secondary course.

    Point is, follow your heart, not your whims or what you think will net you a good job (for disinterest kills grades), and do what you please. If history pleases your heart, study it, but do not expect to be rich or get a great career unless you are both talented and lucky.
    well, a good thing you can always go back to being a carpenter. at least part time.

  26. #26
    Member Member geala's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    My advice would be not to study history. Only do it if your goal is to become a teacher.

    It is very difficult to become a professor here in Germany as you know, to expect this is rather daring. Your age would be the slightest problem however. To be a scientific associate is not always big fun on the longer run, and even such jobs at the university are rare. You could work as an archivist or for some public corporations as a historian, but again it's rare to get access to it.

    That sounds of course cruel, uninspiring and materialistic. Unfortunately I know some persons who tried to live their dreams and studied certain subjects (you know, "study what you like") and were now, at the end of their thirtees, rather disappointed people with no job or other jobs. Driving a taxi is not a bad job but you have not to study for it. And permanently living from social subsidies is only nice for some persons. When I was exactly of your age I had to decide wether to study history (my dream) or some other stuff. I decided cowardly to study the other. Now I'm rather happy with it. I am very occupied with history in my leizure time, I can "study" every aspect of history I like and ignore other aspects which are boring to me.

    BTW we need good engineers, we need them a lot more than historians. I can study history more or less myself but I cannot construct a bridge or a motor.
    Last edited by geala; 04-02-2009 at 12:50.
    The queen commands and we'll obey
    Over the Hills and far away.
    (perhaps from an English Traditional, about 1700 AD)

    Drum, Kinder, seid lustig und allesamt bereit:
    Auf, Ansbach-Dragoner! Auf, Ansbach-Bayreuth!
    (later chorus -containing a wrong regimental name for the Bayreuth-Dragoner (DR Nr. 5) - of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", reminiscense of a battle in 1745 AD, to the music perhaps of an earlier cuirassier march)

  27. #27
    Marzbān-ī Jundīshāpūr Member The Persian Cataphract's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    I disagree, respectfully of course. Again, we come to this dilemma of why engineers are better adjusted towards a job-market generally aimed towards industries, and why the humanities are ill-suited towards the current state of the job-market.

    It is all simple, really. I think it is a matter of initiative. Engineers already have a job-market prearranged for them because of the industrial properties of their education; this makes an engineering programme quite well-tailored to suit the needs of such companies. Especially industrial economical programmes are for such reasons quite popular choices due to the fact that graduates are practically educated in how to effectively lead companies and understand the inner machinery of an industry, both in the micro- and macro-economical sense of the matter.

    This is precisely the anti-thesis to the more fluid arts and sciences of the humanities; industrial economy has the property of generating more job-opportunities, while a historian could have difficulty even applying to clerical jobs. This is a gigantic problem, both in approach and in expectation, and the fact that tuition fees are wasted towards these two aspects makes it all much more baffling.

    Hence, I'll say this once, and once only: Individuals who study the humanities must bring the change to themselves and around themselves by taking the initiative of creating the lifestyle they want. It's a fact of life. What we don't want to do is to fall into the trap thinking that engineering is the only education necessary in order to be productive in society. There will always be engineers because of the way the job-markets are adjusted. What we need is colour, diversity, and creativity. Engines are going to get produced anyways, new software will be released, economical management come and go... But what happens to a book written by a talented person which ends up becoming a best-seller?

    I dare to argue that society has conditioned us into a worker's mentality, and emphasized the division between white- and blue-collar workers as the two viable pools in which one must belong in order to maintain the society we live in, in a cycling, sustainable manner. I think this is wrong; after all, heavy machinery, and automation is laying waste to thousands of blue-collar manual labourers, and software is effectively cutting down office space and staff by nearly equal measure.

    And now... We just don't what the hell to do, except for falling into the absurd idea of having to study between three to five more years in engineering, just to actually score a job-interview. What happened? How did this happen? How did we allow this to happen? What, now everyone needs to be a mechanical engineer, chemist, or a programmer, otherwise society will destroy you so utterly that you must end up in a state of hopelessness and apathy?

    Initiative. Take initiative. Find something you're really good at and dedicate yourself to mastery. Envision success so much that you'll walk, talk, and breathe success. Stop thinking about what others feel and think about you. Don't narrow down the world and your lifestyle by looking at the job-opportunities provided by another five years of complex math, and so forth. Especially if you hate it. That's never healthy, and you'll feel like shit. Don't think about what you need in order to get. Think about what you can give.

    You don't believe me? Just take a look at the Angry Video Game Nerd or Maddox. What did they start out with? Look at them now, the former gets around millions of viewing numbers on his reviews, while the latter eventually released a fratirical book which became famous as New York Times' bestseller. And what are they living off...? Whining? Cursing a lot? That's it? That's all it actually was needed...? Yet they pulled it off.

    Ergo, you can become anything you want, get anything you want, as long as you pull through with dedication, effort and passion.


    "Fortunate is every man who in purity and truth recognizes valiance and prevents it from becoming bravado" - Āriōbarzanes of the Sūrźn-Pahlavān

  28. #28
    Member Member Africanvs's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Quote Originally Posted by The Persian Cataphract View Post
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    I disagree, respectfully of course. Again, we come to this dilemma of why engineers are better adjusted towards a job-market generally aimed towards industries, and why the humanities are ill-suited towards the current state of the job-market.

    It is all simple, really. I think it is a matter of initiative. Engineers already have a job-market prearranged for them because of the industrial properties of their education; this makes an engineering programme quite well-tailored to suit the needs of such companies. Especially industrial economical programmes are for such reasons quite popular choices due to the fact that graduates are practically educated in how to effectively lead companies and understand the inner machinery of an industry, both in the micro- and macro-economical sense of the matter.

    This is precisely the anti-thesis to the more fluid arts and sciences of the humanities; industrial economy has the property of generating more job-opportunities, while a historian could have difficulty even applying to clerical jobs. This is a gigantic problem, both in approach and in expectation, and the fact that tuition fees are wasted towards these two aspects makes it all much more baffling.

    Hence, I'll say this once, and once only: Individuals who study the humanities must bring the change to themselves and around themselves by taking the initiative of creating the lifestyle they want. It's a fact of life. What we don't want to do is to fall into the trap thinking that engineering is the only education necessary in order to be productive in society. There will always be engineers because of the way the job-markets are adjusted. What we need is colour, diversity, and creativity. Engines are going to get produced anyways, new software will be released, economical management come and go... But what happens to a book written by a talented person which ends up becoming a best-seller?

    I dare to argue that society has conditioned us into a worker's mentality, and emphasized the division between white- and blue-collar workers as the two viable pools in which one must belong in order to maintain the society we live in, in a cycling, sustainable manner. I think this is wrong; after all, heavy machinery, and automation is laying waste to thousands of blue-collar manual labourers, and software is effectively cutting down office space and staff by nearly equal measure.

    And now... We just don't what the hell to do, except for falling into the absurd idea of having to study between three to five more years in engineering, just to actually score a job-interview. What happened? How did this happen? How did we allow this to happen? What, now everyone needs to be a mechanical engineer, chemist, or a programmer, otherwise society will destroy you so utterly that you must end up in a state of hopelessness and apathy?

    Initiative. Take initiative. Find something you're really good at and dedicate yourself to mastery. Envision success so much that you'll walk, talk, and breathe success. Stop thinking about what others feel and think about you. Don't narrow down the world and your lifestyle by looking at the job-opportunities provided by another five years of complex math, and so forth. Especially if you hate it. That's never healthy, and you'll feel like shit. Don't think about what you need in order to get. Think about what you can give.

    You don't believe me? Just take a look at the Angry Video Game Nerd or Maddox. What did they start out with? Look at them now, the former gets around millions of viewing numbers on his reviews, while the latter eventually released a fratirical book which became famous as New York Times' bestseller. And what are they living off...? Whining? Cursing a lot? That's it? That's all it actually was needed...? Yet they pulled it off.

    Ergo, you can become anything you want, get anything you want, as long as you pull through with dedication, effort and passion.


    Excellent post. I like the point you made about doing what you're good at, and dedicating youself to it. This is different than doing wat you like in that doing what you like for a living can always take what you like and make it what you hate. Have you made this strategy work for you TPS?
    "Insipientis est dicere, Non putarvm."

    "It is the part of a fool to say, I should not have thought."
    -Pvblivs Cornelivs Scipio Africanvs


    Lives: Pvblivs Cornelivs Scipio (A Romani AAR)
    Lives: Alkyoneus Argeades (A Makedonian AAR)


  29. #29
    Member Member Macilrille's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    Both Africanus and TPC made exellent points and I hope our advice helps you. In the end I have worked as teamlead at DHL and substitute public school teacher for the past couple of years and it puts food on the table. But I still pursue my dream, for two years, when I turn 40 I will settle and study history in my spare time, while earning my living in some other way. It makes it all the easier that I am single- no family to feed and clothe ;-)

    I live in Aarhus, Denmark and I have fucked my elbows up in viking re-enacyment fighting, so no more carpentry for me :-(
    'For months Augustus let hair and beard grow and occasionally banged his head against the walls whilst shouting; "Quinctillius Varus, give me my legions back"' -Sueton, Augustus.

    "Deliver us oh God, from the fury of the Norsemen", French prayer, 9th century.
    Ask gi'r klask! ask-vikingekampgruppe.dk

    Balloon count: 13

  30. #30
    Bopa Member Incongruous's Avatar
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    Default Re: (ancient) history as a new purpose in life

    I am only taking History and Classical studies in order to add depth to my studies in Political science and International Relations, without these two I would see no point in studying any form of history, unless there really is nothing else you like at uni, in which case go for it.

    Sig by Durango

    Now that the House of Commons is trying to become useful, it does a great deal of harm.
    -Oscar Wilde

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