Interesting Brian Thing

I saw this under Brian’s starred items. It interested me.

“When I talk to economists who earned their econ Ph.D. in the 70s and 80s, they paint a grim picture: 70 hour workweeks, followed by truly comprehensive exams where everything’s fair game and lots of students fail.

When I talk to economists who earned their econ Ph.D. in the 00s, they paint a different but equally grim picture. Near-impossible admission hurdles, followed by grueling labor (though probably more in the 60 hour range).

My experience was totally different. In 1993, Princeton accepted me from Berkeley with a 3.8 GPA, GREs in the high 90s, and a few strong letters of recommendation from semi-famous economists. No publications, no research experience, no extra-curriculars. During my time at Princeton, I never worked more than 40 hours per week, and I finished in four years.

All of which leaves me wondering: How lucky was I? Could it really be the case that I wandered into grad school during a brief golden age of easy admissions and light workloads? Or are my seniors and juniors simply exaggerating to raise their status?”

I always feel like college is very un-demanding. Classes only take up 20ish hours a week, and homework another 10-20 depending on the season. Most of my work is extra/supra-curricular.

What about you guys?

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One Response to Interesting Brian Thing

  1. Andrew Chesley says:

    Hey, I starred that too! No way!

    Anyway Joey, Caplan is talking about the perception of hard work in grad school, not undergrad. So, just a heads up.

    I, like you, do little school work and I agree that most of my time is spent doing extra-curricular activities, especially student government.

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