Saturday, December 24, 2011

My college major, for better or for worse

If you returned (or went, if you've never been) to college to study anything you want, what would you major in, and why? (This is another Reverb Broads entry.)

I often lament that I didn't go to college for something "practical." I jokingly blame my parents for not making me study something more practical, although of course, unlike the people whose parents really did do that, I'm quite glad that mine let me choose my own destiny.

I remember visiting both the career counselor at school as well as a private one my parents hired, so surely one of them touted the merits of studying something "practical." I keep putting that word in parentheses because in essence an English degree IS practical. How lucky I am to have the benefit of going through life seeing grammatical and spelling errors everywhere I look! And think of all the books I had the benefit of reading in a classroom that other people had to muddle through on their own. I didn't have to take any complicated math classes. So what if I have no idea what a quadratic equation is. Would that really help me in my life today?

In the event that someone had sat me down and said, "look, here, missy: You are welcome to major in English (with a side of French) if you choose. But do keep in mind that your major will shape where you wind up after college," I'm not sure I would have reacted favorably. I probably would have been even MORE likely to study English and French.

And, frankly, it's pretty neat that I got to get a bachelor's degree in reading, writing, and talking about what I read. It almost seems too good to be true, at least for someone who enjoys those things (which I do). And, since I did an interdepartmental major of French and English, I was able to spend my junior year in Montpellier, France, which was one of the most amazing years of my life. So there you have it. I would not change anything about my major. I'm glad we cleared that up!

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