Bryan Caplan  

Class Autobio of Mark Thoma

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Another Reason I Will Never Re... One-Sentence Class Autobio of ...

Economist Mark Thoma has posted his class autobiography. My favorite parts:

So, growing up I had a chip on my shoulder, probably still do. I was lucky though for two reasons. First, no matter what I did or how much I screwed around (e.g. in class disrupting others out of sheer boredom), school came easy and I was always at the top of the class somehow. Second, from an early age my mom knew I could go to college and began putting that idea in my head. I never assumed anything else, going to college after high school seemed a natural progression.

[...]

I had no idea how limiting coming out of Chico would be. I've seen a lot of graduate applications in my life, and mine was more than competitive as a math/econ/stat major with really good GREs and great supporting letters. But I was denied every place I applied and to this day I think that still affects my attitude about this profession. I can remember opening the letter with the last chance I had on my front porch and feeling crushed. I was going back to the tractor store just like my dad, brother, and grandfather. You can't get there from Chico no matter how good your record is.

Fortunately for me, I was working for a faculty member doing work for Medicaid estimating reimbursement levels for pharmaceutical drugs and he got to know me pretty well (he's president of a university now). When he found out I had been rejected everywhere, he made a phone call and got me into Washington State University with money, the place where he had gone to graduate school (in an afternoon - it wasn't until much later that I realized how much I owed him for doing that).

Overall, a great read. Who's next, bloggers?


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COMMENTS (2 to date)
dearieme writes:

"school came easy ": isn't that the key phrase, compared to which the rest is all small beer?

dearieme writes:

Here's a little bit of a commenter's: my father was orphaned and his grandparents sent him to a British boarding school. At morning break, the boys had a choice of drink - milk or small beer. Meantime, you fellows in the Land of the Free had prohibition, even for adults.

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