Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Glory Days in Liberal Arts College

A young lady of my acquaintance recently graduated early from college with a liberal arts degree. While she waits for the next school year to begin at graduate school, she is looking for a job. This has left her with time on her hands and a chance to reflect. There’s the rub! She has been asking her friends if they know of any jobs that are available. They have a habit of asking, in turn...
“What do you want to do?"
“What do I want to be? I don’t know. Maybe become a writer,” she replies.
“Have you written anything. Do you have anything in mind?”
These questions draw a complete silence.
The dilemma of a liberal arts degree! After spending her life being subject to the demands of her parents, she went off to college and got her freedom, but at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars per year. Her parents’ and grandparents’ money bought her the attention of all those professors. She was the paying customer, to whom they deferentially paid homage. She was a queen. Now it’s back to reality! To be a writer in the “Real World” she first has to write something and then has to sell it! Oh, those awful corporations aren’t just begging her to allow them to pay her for her writings!
Presumably, a similar revelation is about to hit the rest of this year’s crop of liberal arts graduates. Unlike their science and engineering colleagues, they do not have a clear marketable skill. So they muddle around until they find something they can do that people will pay for. They’ll go into teaching or advertising or low paying newspaper jobs. Anything that will help pay off those college loans. And they will spend the rest of their lives reliving the glory days, when the world was at their feet, back when they were in college!


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