I once heard a second-hand story about an undergrad at my friend’s college who had married young, been widowed young, and was supported by her husband’s estate so long as she was studying full-time at college. I can’t say for sure I remember the details exactly right, or that the story was 100% true to begin with, but as I recall this was to be her third bachelor’s degree. The first two were in theatre and business. Now she was studying horsemanship.
I would never wish grief on anyone. But at the time I was told this–around age twenty–I glossed over the loss of her husband and focused with amazement on the opportunity. Full support throughout any full-time education! Imagine not having to choose between the practical and the idealistic. Study French lit AND zoo management AND cello. Become a dentist AND an expert in the history of costume. Or get an MBA and a theology degree. Anything you like!
Another (possibly mangled or apocryphal) story I heard from the same college was of a young man with a trust fund that would be triggered by his getting a bachelor’s degree, from anywhere, in anything. As soon as he did that, the money was his.
He hated school so much that, in the years that my friend lived in that town, he didn’t manage it. I don’t know if he ever did.
While I can sympathize with disliking certain aspects of schooling, I can’t fathom not liking *anything*. How can someone not want to learn *something*?
Young writers often ask if they should major in creative writing or in something more likely to get them a job. I suggest studying what you want to write *about*. I got a master’s degree in Museum Professions as research for a play I was writing. I never worked in a museum afterward, and that play never went anywhere. But I don’t regret a thing. I got to work behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and dig up artifacts in Jordan. As far as practicality goes, I think much of what makes a degree valuable in the world of work is demonstrating that you saw something through at a certain level, not necessarily exactly what that something was. And now, in my novel THE WHOLE WORLD, I have a narrator who majors in Art History. It was handy to be able to weave art references into her voice naturally.
What would you study if you could take the time to learn anything in the world?
Thanks for Mary M. for permission to plunder her college memories 🙂
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