A Ponzi scheme collapses when you run out of suckers. That said, I have no shortage of students who hope and dream about being astronomers. I give them a copy of "A Ph.D. is Not Enough," by Peter Feibelman. I give them a copy of "Advice to the Young Astronomer," by Ed Nather. (It begins, "Go into some other profession.") I tell them that they can make more money with less effort doing just about any job in the world. I tell them I may well be the last astronomer in America to have been awarded tenure. None of them listen. Every last one thinks, "I'll be that 1 in 3/5/7/infinity who will make it."I really need not do this. I could make a perfectly good living right here and now teaching physics to engineers, something that might actually be useful, some of the time. But students interested in exploring the Universe (but I rather doubt paying the price I did) keep bouncing back. So, if I have no choice but to live like a vampire, perhaps I should cultivate a taste for blood.
P.S. As I was growing up, I was told about 9 million times, "You want to major in astronomy? What are you going to do with THAT?" I didn't listen, either.
I love it. Having fallen for the scheme, I'm looking for someone to blame.
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