Thursday, April 02, 2009


All right, so I promised that I would discuss why I think the "graduation minor" is stupid. But first, an entirely unrelated question. Have you ever listened to a lot of people speaking with british accents for an extended period of time, say, a few movies or a couple episodes of the podcast "Vaguely Live Radio" and then noticed yourself thinking in a british accent and realized that there is a very good chance that if someone came up to you and asked you a question that caught you off guard you would answer in a british accent?? Well, that's me right now.

Now onto graduation minor.

I definitely feel that minoring in something is valuable. At the most basic level, if the career you plan to have with your major falls through, you can rely on your minor. I also think that it makes a lot of sense to try to ensure (as my school does) that every student not only minors in a subject, but minors in a subject that is not too similar to their major. For example, you might think that someone majoring in Chemistry might benefit from a minor in Mathematics. But a Chem major is designed so that you take all the math courses you need and to minor in math wouldn't give you anymore advantage, it would just introduce you to other sides of math you wouldn't otherwise see if you were simply studying chemistry. My college (rightly, in my opinion) makes it possible for people with wide interests to pursue those interests, without over taxing themselves or feeling like they are wasting their money. While at another school it might seem frivolous to major in Chem and minor in Spanish, at Allegheny, it's relatively commonplace.

So far, so good, right? Right. But. Under this system I cannot major in German and minor in music, which is what I would ideally do. I want to go to grad school for linguistics and use music to support me during it and also keep me sane. However, I cannot do this because music and German both happen to fall in the division of humanities. If I were so inclined, I could, however, major in History and minor in Music History or, similarly, major in History and minor in Art History, because History is a social science and the other two are humanities. The infuriating thing about this is that Allegheny's slogan (it's all over their website) is "Unusual Combinations", but is a major in Psychology and a minor in Math or Biology that much more "unusual" than a major in German and a minor in music?

Ok, ranting done. It is time for bed. I think that I will better be able to motivate myself if I assign myself a topic for tomorrow. Also, I'll be able to think about it for a while. I think that tomorrow I'll tackle my personal environmental dilemma, how I can justify owning a car (or, if not justify, at least explain the reasons I do).



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