Posted in College

From U to Blue: Majors

I want to take a break from the usual to talk about academic majors, a terrifying aspect of college for those who do not know what they want to do.

There are 4 main types of people when it comes to choosing a major:

  1. The people who know what they want to do and stick with it. One of my closest friends has known for years that she wanted to be a teacher and is currently pursuing this at University A (UA).
  2. The people who know what they want to do but switch majors in college. They begin with a desired major, say history for example, and then change their minds sometime during their college career.
  3. The people who don’t really know what they want to do, but they choose a major that interests them and go from there.
  4. The people who don’t really know what they want to do and take a general education track while they try to decide a program of study.

I’m a number 3. I began as an English major with a public administration minor, intending to pursue a writing or editing career. I eventually switched to undeclared.

When I got to College 1 (C1), I didn’t really know what to do. Literature classes didn’t particularly sound fun. While I was looking at the school’s academic programs, I stumbled upon social science. Courses that involved social work, psychology, marriage.This looked interesting; these were classes I wanted to take. So I became a social science major.

Choosing a major can be stressful–it’s a highly-pressured decision. Colleges want you to choose a major when you apply. You might want to declare a major so you have an idea of what you want to do for the rest of your life. The decision is important, but it shouldn’t be so frightening that it consumes your every thought. The great thing is that when you’re a senior in high school, you’ve only had a short amount of life experience. As you journey through college, you will begin to learn more about the world and what careers are available. There are the obvious: doctor, lawyer, psychologist, musician. But what about the copyeditors, the nautical archaeologists, and the oceanographers? The wildlife photographers and the artificial turf manufacturers?

The point is that there’s a vast array of jobs that some people don’t know exist! While choosing a college major is a crucial decision, it’s okay to change it. There is no shame in dropping an economics major for a communication disorders program. Research the programs at the colleges you want to attend (or find colleges that have the programs you’re looking for).

So what does my little personal history from earlier lead to? The benefit of experience. Colleges and universities have certain degree requirements. These usually include courses in humanities, sciences, mathematics, etc. I’ve heard so many complaints from people who “don’t need this class for anything…I’m a [insert-major-here] major.” Understandable. When you’re an English major, you will probably not use calculus in your daily work (and hopefully, that’s not included in your school’s degree requirements).

The best part about those required electives is that they build your knowledge base. It’s awesome. It may even change the course of your entire life–that’s how a lot of people decide on or change their major. Chemistry majors that become nursing students. Computer science majors who switch to technical writing. English majors who decide to study social work.

Because of these classes, I have learned about environmental science, macroeconomics, the U.S. Constitution, marriage and family, and health and wellness. Things click differently for me than they previously did, and the information you can retain these classes is incredible.

I don’t fear required classes. Instead, I try to be enthusiastic about them because who knows? They just may change everything for me in the best way possible.

Posted in Uncategorized

Cursive: The Secret Code

The year is AD 3031. All forms of handwriting have become obsolete, and everything that paper was once used for is now done with an advanced technological piece called the Opus. In order to “save the environment,” paper has not been used in the past 1000 years. Allisia is a teenage girl who spends her days sifting through the archives of the Digital Collection Storage Unit. Eager to learn more about the past, she begins to search through her attic, which has been swept clean of all forms of ancient communication…mostly. Hidden behind a hollow panel is a spiral-bound notebook filled with a strange code. It is up to Allisia to decipher the words of this notebook and learn about what life was like years ago. Okay. So this may be an exaggeration. However, the fact is that many kids today are not learning to write cursive; actually, a lot of kids cannot even read it. They might even need help reading cards from grandparents because they are unfamiliar with this style of writing. Cursive has not only been useful in communication, but it is a form of art. The use of cursive seems to be declining, corresponding with an increase in the reliance on technology. Cursive was once taught to students in elementary school and then encouraged in other grades, depending on the school and the teachers. In high school, essays and other papers are usually required to be typed in MLA format—this, from my understanding, has not changed. The academic focus is being more heavily directed towards science and technology, and consequently, it seems that things like handwriting are not as valued as they once were. However, some studies suggest that writing cursive is beneficial for the brain. Writing cursive comes naturally to me. I love its appearance and the ease with which I can write—you don’t have to pick up the pen as much. Words flow from hand to paper, and the result is a beautiful piece of writing…even if the actual content of the writing isn’t that great. But who knows? Perhaps cursive will someday become a secret code that only a select few in society can read.

Posted in College

From U to Blue: Not Another Easy A

Community colleges tend to have a reputation, especially among young adults. There are people who look upon them with horror; they’re supposedly the cheap schools that offer a low-quality education. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Not in all cases, anyway.

After I left University A, I took my third semester off before heading to community college. It was local and inexpensive–except for books! The community college, College 1, was one that many high school students in the area were familiar with. I had competed in music, speech, and academic competitions there before. The theatre department was excellent, and I had attended events there for years.

When I was in high school, people suggested College 1 as a good starting point. It’s a place to decide what you want to study, and it’s financially friendly. It’s especially good for people who don’t know what they want to do. But my peers sometimes talked down about it. My egotistical self wanted to do “better.” I wanted to be considered intelligent; I was too prideful.

My pride was wrong. I am impressed with the school. Sure, it doesn’t have a Greek class. That was disappointing, but there’s an okay variety of classes. The theatre, music, and engineering departments have good reputations. The teachers there have credentials, including high levels of education and years of experience in their field of expertise.

The most recently disproved community college stereotype is that the courses are easy As. It’s not. There’s a lot of work, and it is expected to be quality work. I can’t just combine minimal effort and procrastination and scrape by. It’s work, but good work; I’ve already learned a lot of cool info. Even at University A, where I learned so much, I could do alright without putting in strenuous effort. But it wasn’t home. It was just a place I went for awhile, another experience that molds me into the person I am today.

—SNEAK PEEK of FROM U TO BLUE: COMMUNITY—

Maybe the best thing is that the school I attend now is comfortable. I know people there already. Even people I don’t know aren’t exactly strangers. They’re from the general area. There are people of all ages. Freshmen on up, homeschoolers who can complete high school with college courses under their belts, people returning to school, people with children, people who are married, people who are more advanced in years. The variety of people is interesting.