Monday, February 17, 2014

Does Your College Major Matter?


As I've worked to build up Sputnik Prose, I've been discovering the myriad elements that go in to creating a successful blog. Writing is certainly the most important component, in my opinion, but if the author does not present the writing elegantly, not many people are going to read it. An understanding of art and color helps, as well as a basic knowledge of graphic design. Of course, in order to design a website, a working knowledge of HTML and CSS is valuable. Photography skills are essential as well, in order to capture the attention of the potential reader. And of course, if one is seeking to turn a blog into a business, marketing tactics, knowledge of SEO best practices, and social media strategies are also useful.

Am I garnered with all that fantastic knowledge here at Sputnik Prose? Nope!

A few weeks ago, I was bemoaning the fact to Aaron that now that I know what the working world is like, I would have taken vastly different classes in college. Why didn't I take the basics of computer programming instead of chemistry? Why didn't I take graphic design instead of outrigger canoeing? Did I waste a liberal arts education? Is my Religious Studies minor actually going to be beneficial for promoting a blog?

Of course not. However, I didn't waste those years at Westmont.

For better or worse, all of those classes made me the person I am today. I loathed the reading assignments for my Church in the New Testament class, yet my writing assignments and classroom debates forced me to think deeper about controversial issues. I had to take Ballet credit/no credit or I would have failed it (my knee literally will not extend straight), but I have beautiful memories of doing clumsy yet heartfelt ballet with my mom and sister on the beach (clumsy on my part; my mom was a serious ballerina before I existed).

I learned about life in college. I learned about the tragedy of it and the beauty of it. One day in the fall of my sophomore year, after being entrenched in Holocaust literature in Jewish American Lit and watching films about the Holocaust in my history class, I entered the gymnasium for chapel and couldn't stop crying. I had to cry for all those individuals who had so much to give to the world yet were nonsensically murdered. And in that moment, I learned a little more about who I was as a person, what the world was like, and how I could deal with the fact of a violent world that doesn't really make sense.

College did not give me all the answers I wanted then or the skills I want now, but it did build me into a person who is okay with inhabiting a struggle and will work through a challenge (even if I have to cry first).

I believe it doesn't matter what you major in in college. Okay, if you have a strong drive to be a doctor or scientist or engineer, your major matters, but if you are still searching for your place in life, your major may or may not help you find it. I majored in what I love, and I don’t regret it at all. People always say you should work at what you love, and I believe that should apply to college as well.

I may not know HTML or graphic design – yet. The beauty of life is that the people around us have so much to teach us, for they know things we don’t know. Both of my parents have a background in computer programming, and they both own their own businesses. There’s two resources already, both of whom would be glad to teach me a few new skills. I also have two sisters who have majored in art. I’m sure they could handle an explanation of the color wheel.

And that’s just my own family.

Life is an arduous process at times, yet it is made beautiful by what we learn from other people. Even if what we learn isn't directly related to our career goals, the lessons can grow us into a person who can face trials with a new perspective.

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