My degree is called MSPPM

I have not sat down and written anything substantive about myself in a long time.   I thought I would do so tonight, as I for the first in a very long time, find myself a little bored. I finished graduate school this week, I have no job prospects on the horizon, and don’t have a lot on my plate.

That is right. You heard it hear first, I am officially done with graduate school.   I have earned my Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon and I have no idea what I am doing with my life. Now, those of you who know me, probably think I am freaking out.   I have another surprise for you. I am not freaking out at all. Actually, I am not worried.   Weird, right? I actually find in laughable.

I know things like this work out for me some how. I have a great network of people and whenever I am in crisis things figure themselves out. So I am writing about how I am not freaked out now, and how silly I was to think an expensive piece of paper would make my life better.

I think back to a year ago when I had just returned from Ecuador. I was convinced a graduate program was going to open doors, and give me access to a career path, inaccessible at the time. Somewhere, near the beginning of the second semester is when I started realizing that was not going to be true.

Now don’t get me wrong.   I am not saying I didn’t learn things. I learned some really great things. I am more comfortable with statistics than I have ever been in my life. Linear programming is something I find really fascinating, and I understand why Monte Carlo simulations are wicked kewl.   Where did all of that get me? Well, not far.

On the job-hunting front, I have slowed down the rate I have been applying to jobs. The end of the semester really did me in, so I need to get back on the ball. Do you want to know the problem I am having?   I don’t really care what I do.   Not really at all. I have applied to everything from an Executive Director position to a population researcher.

Fact: I have applied to 51 positions and have had phone interviews for two of them. I did not get a second interview from either of those places.   Freaked out?   No, seriously, I am laughing.   A degree in public policy and management? What in the world is happening to society such that we are giving out degrees in that now?

I will never understand what made me think the void between professional vocational training and proper academic training was a great place to land. Ugh, silly Josh. You are probably saying, “What else would you be doing now?” I have no idea, and your question is pretty silly if you think I can answer questions about alternate realities.

Oh well. This is the professional update. I will tell you about personal updates in the next post.

Total Student Loan (Undergrad and Grad)

Current Principal Balance:


Accrued Interest:


Late Fees:


Listened to: Dance Yrself Clean from the album “This Is Happening” by LCD Soundsystem

I am Accepting Applications

I am accepting applications from employers who want to hire me. In May I will have my Master of Science in Public Policy and Management.


  • Your company or organization should not be evil.
  • Your company or organization should not make weapons or make it easier for others to make weapons.
  • You should pay for me to travel abroad at least twice a year.
  • I would like a salary that lets me as a single male live comfortably and pay off my loans.
  • Competitive benefits package.

Please send all applications to joshuaferris [a] cmu [dot ] edu.

I am willing to live anywhere. I do like being able to see water and I like cities. Heat and I do not get along.

Money is Dumb

When I moved back to the United States in May, I applied for a Graduate PLUS loan to live off of while I was in school. My application came back denied, because it said that I had bad credit. I was a little shocked and called PNC Bank to find out what had happened.   My old car insurance agency, Safeco, had billed me $92.57 on my last month of insurance.   I never received that bill while I was out of the country and thus it went unpaid. This eventually made its way to a collection agency called IC Systems Inc., who put a big old spot on my credit report.

I do not even think I owed Safeco any additional money, but to file a dispute with Safeco would take a lot of time and in May I did not even have enough money to buy books so I was in need of my student loan. I paid $92.57 to IC Systems, plus an additional $25.00 for them to fax PNC Bank to let them know I paid.

They did and my loan went through.

Now it is November. I am running a little short on cash due to my move in August so applied for an extra $1000 to help me out until January. Guess what? I get denied because of a $92.57 Safeco problem on my credit report. AES can’t find the letter, nor can PNC Bank.

I called TransUnion credit reporting agency where they say they will investigate the $92.57 IC Systems Inc credit is equal to that of the $92.57 Safeco problem.

What is the status of my loan? Denied until further notice.

The semester is coming to an end

My first semester of graduate work is coming to an end. I am pretty tired, but have enjoyed myself a lot. Probably because I am not working, but enjoyment prevailed none the less. Today I must finish statistics homework (four problems on simple linear regression), write two healthcare policy memos, and a 3 page essay for my course in globalization.

My last exam is on the 6th of August and then I am leaving for a train trip to Portland, OR a few days later. I am super excited, except that my camera is not working and I do not think I can get it repaired before I go.   

I am really enjoying being back in Pittsburgh. It is sort of sad to think that the sort of work I want to do will probably not allow me to stay here after next May. Lots of my friends are here and I really enjoy the town. Just another adventure to be had I guess.

Listened to: Sun Will Set from the album “One Cello x 16: Natoma” by Zoë Keating

People are massive

Yesterday I was sitting in class and this woman decided to eat her dinner while we were there. She had a huge roast beef hoagie, a bowl of grapes, cookies, and some sort of tea. She was as big as a house and the amount of food was incredible. The hoagie was so big that she would shake when she opened her mouth in order to eat it. The quivering was not from excitement, but she had to stretch her jaw more than was naturally allowed in order to get her lips around it. I think it took her about 3.5 minutes to eat the entire thing.