An 80 Percent Chance Of Annoying Questions
The "real world," I'm told, is a scary place. And, unfortunately, as my semesters at this school get progressively fewer, this frightening phenomenon is getting progressively closer. With each class I get up in time for, with each professor I choose to tolerate for a few hours, with each drawing of sombrero-clad Mexican jumping beans I finish in the margins of my notebook, reality creeps ever-closer, repeatedly chanting, "How are you going to find a job?"
This so-called job hunt isn't a problem for everyone. Did you major in Computer Science? Then kick back, relax in your chaise lounge and wait for a slew of recruiters to throw money, diamonds, and tropical alcohols with little umbrellas at you. Leaving the academic quagmire of Boston University to attend a respectable graduate school somewhere? Then what the hell are you whining about? You still have a few more good years of living in an altered state of reality. Leave that whining and good old adolescent angst to us - the few, the proud - the students with useless majors.
Almost all of my friends will soon have a degree that will have some kind of whimsical, frivolous word written under the line for our major field of study, and none of those words will be anything marketable. In my apartment alone, we've got all the heavy hitters - English, philosophy and communications. All we need now is a Boston College student with an Irish Studies degree and we'd be all set.
I can see myself in 5 years, living in a cardboard box with my friends, trying to offer our skills in linguistics, semiotic analysis or writing a great opening paragraph to a news feature to anyone who happens to pass by our little hovel of poverty. I can also see our beloved, evil Chancellor riding down the street in a Sherman tank, trying to find and beat us for defaulting on our student loan payments. After his battalion of airborne simians tears our clothes and hair to sell to wig manufacturers, he will stand over our shivering, hungry bodies. "How's that Film degree with a minor in Women's Studies helping you now, fool?" he will ask, cackling maniacally. Or, maybe I'm overreacting - except about those flying monkeys and about all of us homeless people living together - because we useless majors like to stick together.
Students with useless majors share an unspoken connection - a bond of kinship and camaraderie that runs deeper and thicker than that sludge in the Muddy River. It's all part of the common experience we share. Whenever we go home, we are constantly assailed by parents and other relatives, who inform us that, if they were to go to college, it would be "for something practical." "Mass communications?" they ask, "sounds interesting where can you get a job with that?"
This nagging phenomenon is not just a shared experience for those with useless majors everywhere, but it also follows a structure that is curiously repeatable. When I tell people I'd like to use my degree in Television to pursue a career in writing, I always get the same reaction: First, a pause, as if they were waiting for me to say "just kidding!" and follow-up with what I'm really going to do; then, when they realize that's not going to happen, they produce a lilting, "Oh, that sounds interesting." And then the cherry that tops this bitter sundae: "so where can you get a job with that?"
Some would say this is indicative of a larger societal shift that emphasizes money and material wealth as the determinant of all that is good and right. If these people knew my relatives, though, I'm sure they'd see they're just looking for someone who can get them into a classy retirement home but maybe they do have a point. The School for the Arts, which used to encourage me everyday with its "Learn What You Love" posters, has changed its name to "College of Fine Arts," because "it's more prestigious," which, when translated into normalspeak, reads "other colleges laughed at us, and none of our graduates could give us money."
I've decided if writing doesn't pan out for me, I'm going to be a TV weatherman. Not only do you not need to know anything about meteorology, but you also get to play with blue screen technology every day, and that's got to be fun. Each night, after I'm done talking about developing low pressure systems, I'd call up my friends with useless majors, ask them how they're doing with their TV weathermen careers, and organize a nationwide practical joke - a day when all the five day forecasts in the country include plagues of locusts, political revolutions, and relatives asking where you can get a job with that.