My friend Hilary just started a new thing on her blog, where she posts a topic each Weds. to write about that is all about you- the blogger; kind of a reminder that we are people in and of ourselves, not just in relation to other people. ( Go take a look at her blog, she explains it better over there. I’m fighting off illness today, and my words aren’t coming together so well.)
The topic for today is college majors. What was yours, how did you choose it, etc.
I went into college with the absolute certainty that I was going to major in theater. I was coming off of amazing experiences in high school theater, I’d been awarded the Senior Drama Award, and had been informed that they’d wanted to give it to me the year before as well, when I was only a junior. I’d looked into fine arts schools, but none of them felt right, and I ended up applying to UCSC and getting in. I pre-declared my major as theater (there are so many people who want to get into the program that you can’t just declare), and set about finding classes. And for my entire first year, I didn’t take a single theater class, a single dance class. (I did take a history of musical theater class, but no performing classes.) I got picked to choreograph You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, but I hurt my knee and couldn’t do it. And by then, I didn’t really want to. The theater department was super competitive, and I wasn’t as assured in my skills as I had been going in. And somewhere in that first year, I had the very clear impression that theater wasn’t what was supposed to make up my future.
When it came time to actually declare my major, I looked at the classes I’d already taken and enjoyed, and discovered that I was already well on my way to a Lit degree with an emphasis in Pre and Early Modern Literature. It was almost eerie how it all fell into place, classes that I’d just “felt” like I should take, that fulfilled requirements I didn’t know I needed to fill. And since I love reading and writing, that’s what I went with. And goodness, did I read and write. And only a couple times did I write about a book I hadn’t actually read.
The pre and early Lit program at UCSC at the time was heavily concentrated on the intersection of literature and history- reading literary texts for the historical info that could be gleaned, and reading historical texts (mostly legal documents, like those asking for a court pardon) as narratives. Super fun. (And that’s not sarcastic at all, it was super fun.) Most of the classes I took were concerned with the Italian Renaissance , but I also took a slew of classes about Shakespeare, science fiction, and Gothic literature… so many fun things. I dabbled in art history, even taking a Grad class about Renaissance painters, but that just convinced me that I wasn’t interested in Grad school. I ended up graduating with honors in my department, and 1 class short of having a minor in History, and there we have it.
What did I get from it? How do I use it now? Goodness knows. I learned how to analyze things in a different way, how to write more concisely, how to extrapolate information from the little bit that I’d read and turn it into a whole paper. But really, I think I gained strength from the experience of losing something that I really cared about and had planned on spending my life doing, and realizing that there were other things that I loved and was good at. There was a period of time in my 3rd year when I was a stake missionary, and was working with the missionaries almost every day. I have no idea how I made it through that year with good grades, because I certainly wasn’t concentrating on my classes, and would routinely skip them to go to discussions. But it all came together, and I was able to witness some really amazing conversions. If I’d been in theater, chances are that I wouldn’t have had that time. I took a class in Comic Art and Graphic Novels in my last quarter that got me interested in the whole subject, and that was how I came to meet Joe and work for him at the comic store for 5 years, and meet Bruce and get married, and go on to work with awesome people in the comic industry for almost 10 years. So for me, it’s more about what my major set me up for later and the opportunities it afforded me that weren’t about a career in my field, necessarily.
Um, that’s it.