Sunday, August 02, 2015

One way to choose a major

Nell Zink’s novel Mislaid is as lightweight as drifting dandelion fluff, full of superficial characters acting in outlandish and unbelievable ways, but certain passages ring true. Here, young Karen demonstrates how to choose a college major: 

She was planning, tentatively, to major in English. As she explained to her mother in a letter, she knew English already, so she could probably get okay grades. There was no point majoring in something she didn’t know already, as she would just get into trouble or, more likely, major in the wrong thing. Employers always need English. Besides, she had to take all sorts of electives to graduate anyway.
I wonder how many of my students follow similar reasoning--because what, really, is the point of studying something you don't already know? Seems like a colossal waste of time.

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