Sunday, August 15, 2010

You Majored In What?

Heard a great interview on NPR yesterday featuring the author of this book, You Majored In What?, Dr. Katharine Brooks.

It's a practical book on helping college students and career counselors navigate the line between a "practical/doing" major (i.e. Business, Education, etc...) and an "esoteric/thinking" major (i.e. English Lit, History, etc...)

In times of economic challenge, like we're currently experiencing, students are often scared/swayed to major in something that builds skills directly applicable to a job. These scared/swayed tactics often come from parents, who worry about their kids' job prospects in light of student loans. These scared/swayed tactics also can come from red-state conservatives, who worry about people learning to be critical thinkers and questioners.

These conversations are also shaping the dialogue on campuses, as college presidents and deans make decisions on what departments/majors are important to keep, and which ones they want to cut or make smaller.

All majors are important and add to students' growth and development.

Regardless of what students choose, I think taking ethnic studies (i.e. Pan African Studies, Chicana/o Studies, Asian American Studies, etc...) and gender studies (i.e. Women's Studies) is very important -- both in terms of learning/appreciating history and becoming culturally-empowered and confident about who they are.

Just my opinion.

What about you? What did you major in? Or want to major in? Or... have you found that your major had absolutely nothing to do with your eventual career/job choice?

If you're navigating career decisions, check out Dr. Katharine Brooks' blog, Career Transitions.

1 comment:

Renee said...

Hi, Fred. I did the esoteric/thinking route which I sometimes regret financially. In the end though I believe students who go this route gain creative and critical thinking skills which can be used to create your own job or path.