• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Topic: Insanity in Greece (degree wise, education wise, everything wise)

  1. #1

    Insanity in Greece (degree wise, education wise, everything wise)


    I just can't keep it any longer in me...

    Some of you may have spoted a few signs of depression in my latest posts! This is the reason why.

    First a tiny intro about me (cause it does have sense, yes):

    I'm 30 years old, with two kids 4 and 2 years old and a wife x years old! We live in London, where I'm completing (soon at least) my PhD in composition, in a normal reputable university in London (University of London that is). I am pretty much a "music breed" with a diploma in piano, harmony and counterpoint from Greece, an MMus in composition and the PhD along it's way.

    So far so good.

    So, this Xmas I went to the Greek goverment offices to see what I can do to get my MMus (and the PhD to come) recognised under the Greek auhtorities.

    It simply CAN'T be done!

    You see, when I came here, in London, to have my postgraduate, I did so, without an undergraduate degree, from a university, since I was studying music, and music in Greece, 5-6 years ago was NOT in the universities. And not only that! I went and got a pretty nifty scholarship from IKY (National scholarship foundation), which covers my tuition fees and around $1200 per month for 3 years now (!)


    BUT, but, but

    In Greece you can't go for postgraduate studies without an undergraduate degree, so they certainly do not accept people from outside, who've done that (like... me for example). And since the diplomas in piano, harmony, etc are NOT university degrees, there's no chance of getting my PhD to be recognised in Greece, or my MMus for that matter.

    So I CAN'T teach in a Greek university, I can't teach in a Greek school, I can't pretty much do anything on the official roads. Sure I can go the private sector way, but Greece is not THAT big to excuse a full time working composer, working AS a composer. And as you very well imagine, the fees I should be asking are forbidable for any Greek private office or school, not to mention that a PhD doesn't make any difference in the composers race for gigs, does it? Nope! Only when you know people, which I don't cause I've been living away under a forgeign rock, not a Greek one!

    I changed my life, I moved to the UK with my family with myriads of difficulties, I have suffered for 4 years now only to get something that WON'T be usable in Greece.

    Needless to say, this has changed the way I feel for the PhD, in the state that I'm not sure I want to finish it, but try and find a job as soon as possible. Panic mode, sure, but, I just feel cheated and frustrated. I'm not the type of person to quit, so I won't do it, don't worry, but still my frustration is beyond the roof.

    The best thing of all? The hillarious thing? From DOATAP (which is the office for recognition of the degrees), they told me that since I've done 1 year MMus and another 3 years PhD, I could ask that they recognise both as an undergraduate degree in composition! I just felt insulted after listening to this...

    I really don't know why I'm posting, and why I'm posting here, but here's what I think of why:

    Why: Because I need to get it out of my head!
    Why here: Cause it's the best community I've met, who will understand, discuss, not flame, etc...

    Thank you for your time.

  2. #2

    Re: Insanity in Greece (degree wise, education wise, everything wise)

    Hello Nikolas,

    I feel for you. But keep a good attitude, and things may tend to work out for the best.

    I started graduate school intending to earn my PhD in Chemical Engineering. I chose the university based on a particular professor who is top of the Thermodynamics field, and I fought hard to get his attention so that he would choose me as his graduate student -- only to find out after I started working for him that his philosophy of a graduate school education did not match what I wanted to get out of the program. I was miserable for 2 years before leaving with a Masters degree (and viewed by many of the professors and my fellow students as having "failed out" of the program).

    Fast forward 15 years, and I have a great job as an engineering manager in a totally different (and better!) industry than where I was going with PhD. I met my loving wife in graduate school, and we have a wonderful daughter together (that's her in the avatar). Looking back, I am not sure that the PhD would have led to as much job satisfaction as I have now (although maybe it would have -- you never know).

    Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying you should quit your PhD like I did! I'm just saying that it might seem bad now, but in 5 or 10 years you may realize that this episode was really a small bump in the road (or perhaps even a detour that took you to a better place).

    Keep your family close. I have found that they are what really matter, and they help pull you through things like this.

    Good luck!

    PS - You may wonder what a Chemical Engineer is doing on this forum. I wonder that too from time to time. Let's just say that I am reliving my more artistic/creative moments from high school and college, and learning a lot about composing that I wish I had learned many years ago! Maybe one day I will have the time to make it all come together, and I will be able to call myself a composer.
    Best Regards,

  3. #3

    Re: Insanity in Greece (degree wise, education wise, everything wise)


    I certainly felt the utter frustration in your message... and I'm glad that you felt free to post it here.

    It IS a bitter pill to swallow the when arbitrary, nonsensical rules lurking and ready to strike in the dark hallways of bureaucratic entities reach out and bite us.

    I'm beginning the "final stretch" of the teaching phase of my career, so by virtue of the sheer passage of time I've experienced a number of such frustrations, although none probably as heart-wrenching as what you're experiencing. But I have learned that, for one's emotional and mental well-being, it's simply best to let go of what is obviously unchangeable, and trust that -- with continued diligent perseverance and exploration of alternate routes to the same destination -- unexpected "good" things are just as likely (more likely) to land in your lap as the "bad". So...

    Take a deep breath, crack open a bottle of merlot, then....
    Sit down with your wife, and together brainstorm and write down all of the possible alternatives and solutions to explore. Try to avoid embroiling yourselves in conversation about the unfairness of it all. Focus on the positive directions this "opportunity" has provided and investigate them thoroughly.

    You're obviously a very intelligent, talented young man with a great future ahead; you probably are hearing nothing new from me, but sometimes it helps to have the actions you know are a must be confirmed from somewhere else -- even from another continent!

    Trust that you will survive and thrive in spite of these obstacles that currently seem so impermeable. A better day is ahead for you!

    My Best,


  4. #4

    Re: Insanity in Greece (degree wise, education wise, everything wise)

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolas View Post
    So I CAN'T teach in a Greek university, I can't teach in a Greek school, I can't pretty much do anything on the official roads.
    What a loss ... for Greece!

    Bureaucracy can be a pain in the ***.

    If I were you I would definetely finish the PhD because
    - I promise you will feel great (!!!) afterwards
    - Bureaucracy could always change in future. A small sentence in any law text somewhere and whoops you may have your degree in Greece also.
    - Having a title that is acknowledged in other EU countries is not bad at all. Who knows
    - It proves to other people and to yourself that you are able to go through thirsty phases and win nevertheless

    I am holding my thumbs for you!

    I remember I had a phase when I wanted to go out of my studies instead of finishing the both diplomas that I have. And actually for what I am doing now I technically would not need them as documents. But it gives me a certain inner stability that I finished them - as projects that I completed successfully.

    All your strings belong to me!

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Houston, TX

    Arrow Re: Insanity in Greece (degree wise, education wise, everything wise)


    Our prayers are with you as you agonize over these decisions. I know what it is to be career-frustrated - I have a BA in Sacred Music but have never been able to find employment in the music field, but have attempted to bless others with my God-given abilities, and for the last ~25 years have been gainfully employed as a computer engineer, but have longed to be fulfilled with my music ambitions.
    If this is any consolation, at least here in the United States, most of the professionals with whom I work, find employment in areas completely unrelated to the degrees which they have accumulated.
    I certainly hope that you can fulfill your dreams, but as others have related, oftentimes the most fulfillment comes in areas completely unrelated from our original plans.
    As a Christian, I ask God to lead and guide me, and to open doors to paths which He would wish, and although at times they were not what I would have chosen, He has led and provided for me and my family for many decades.
    Last edited by rfdillon; 02-07-2008 at 01:01 PM. Reason: Clarification

  6. #6

    Re: Insanity in Greece (degree wise, education wise, everything wise)

    Hey Nikolas, that really sucks!

    How would it be if you became a lecturer here? Would you then be able to transfer to lecturing in a Greek university, or would that still be dependent on having a first degree?

  7. #7

    Re: Insanity in Greece (degree wise, education wise, everything wise)


    I dropped out of Ph.D. "school" in Computer Science because I was pursuing it at night while managing a $9M software/hardware development job during the day and the classes were composed of foreign students that never worked before. The instructors were having to explain how to do functional decomposition on software programs!

    In my undergraduate days, I went to engineering school with several Greek students (I learned all the "good" Greek words!). Most of them wanted to get a job with a US company that had a presence in Greece, so that they could go back on US salaries.

    That can be an option for you too. But I would suggest that since you are that close to finishing, you do so (they can never take that accomplishment away from you). You can either go to private industry or immigrated permanently to the UK, Canada, Australia, or the US.

    If you don't want to get a typical "corporate" job, consider the private school route. That is actually a very viable solution for some people in North America (I don't know about the UK).

    Regardless, my advice is to focus on finishing up your degree, then worry about what comes next. Opportunities WILL come your way.


  8. #8

    Thumbs down Re: Insanity in Greece (degree wise, education wise, everything wise)

    our ancient countries, where culture has born, have this orientation to paradox:

    - in Italy I studied 11 years of Conservatorio to have my degree in Composition. this is the normal amount of time requested (1 entry level year for selection, 4 years of basic composition and harmony, 3 years of counterpoint, fugue and advanced composition, and last 3 years of orchestration and modern form: everything including litterature, history of theater, history of music, analysis, Organ, piano score reading, singer accompainement, improvisation and plain chant or Gregorian, etc. etc.).

    - in Italy University degree is from 2 (short diploma) to 6 (long degree like Medical science) years long.

    - to arrive to the final one, I had to pass round 35 test in Conservatorio.

    - The University plan is based on 20 to 30 test more or less.

    - The Composition degree is considered like an UNDERGRADUATE even in Italy!

    Everybody respect a Composer, due to the long and extensive study but you are not a "Doctor": in a State rating your 11 years of Conservatorio are less than 2 freeking years in an University!!

  9. #9

    Re: Insanity in Greece (degree wise, education wise, everything wise)

    Fabio: Pretty much the same in Greece! 2 years in harmony, 2 in counterpoint, 2 in fugue and 4 in composition, in order to get a freaking diploma in composition, which is NOT a university degree!

    lunker, DDW, Hannes, rfdillon, Pingu and dave.

    Thank you for your support.

    Alternatives there are, I have no doubt. I also have plenty of trust in my skills as a composer, and I am investing a great amount of time and energy in the Internet, in hopes that living in Greece won't exclude me from some jobs abroad. As a matter of fact 2 contracts for computer game music (indie however) are not based in the uk, but in Greece (ok, I'm Greek, makes half sense really) and the other in Japan! So hopefully more jobs like this can come this way. Not that it's any reasonable amount of money, not even enough for 2 months rent (rents in London are crazy, btw).

    The other alternative would be to stay in the UK forever, which is not a bad idea really. My wife has been working for 3 1/2 years now, is an architect and well.. things would work out. If it wasn't for the family. I have NOONE here. NOONE. My son went into surgery on Monday to remove his tonsils and adenoids (he had a lot of apnea (apnoia?)) and I wasn't there, since I had to pick up the other one. The rent is, currently at £1000 ($2000) per month, while in Greece we are, as we speak, building a house (4 bedrooms, rather big I'd say and excellent quality), etc... Greece, from that side is the best thing to do. Not to mention that everyone I know would love to live in Greece! On the other hand the financial and the career issue is nothing short of horrible in Greece.

    Private sector I'm honestly thinking about it, as well as opening a conservatory myself! Problem is that music is not taken seriously in Greece, by noone (and this is why I left in the first place). Opening a conservatory means a huge investement with small return (there are 3,000 (!) private conservatories (more like music schools) in Greece! Is there any room for one more?)

    I won't be quiting my PhD! Not after SO much effort and time gone into it. Of course no one can tell what will happen in the future, it certainly is something to be called "Dr. Nik!", isn't it?

  10. #10
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    California Redwoods

    Re: Insanity in Greece (degree wise, education wise, everything wise)

    Well, l am glad you are determined to complete your PhD. It can do no harm!

    Since you have spent so much time in the UK, and are familiar with it's customs, you should at least consider staying there. I know it is not so easy to leave your homeland, but I know that I could even now, be content living in Germany or Canada.


Go Back to forum


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts