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#47 College Majors Are Like Movies

December 7, 2008

It bugs me that everyone gets to choose their college major, pays around the same amount of fees (may vary but usually it comes up to a few tens of thousands), reads the modules offered by the respective departments (suffers through four years if the major doesn’t turn out as what you thought it would be) and graduates with more or less the same Bachelor’s degree. Of course, a professional degree is definitely different from a general degree, but college students spend the same amount of time to obtain it.

This reminds me of something most of us do very often — going to the movies. You pick your film, pay for your ticket, sit through whatever the synopsis promises you (love it if it fits the description/hate it if it is far from your expectations) and emerge from the darkness after 90-150 minutes, having watched something you chose from the start, whether you like it or not.

Some majors are exciting, action-packed and leave you breathless, yearning for more. Some come in pretty packages and leave you feeling cheated and unsatisfied. Others can be thrilling, scary, insipid or fun.

Here’s a list of college majors, which I classified under different film genres:

Action – Drama, Theater, Dance
(Basically any major that requires a lot of bodily movement, as the name of the genre suggests.)
Like a John Woo movie, it promises a lot of visual candy (think Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible), an avenue for you to release your pent-up frustration/passion (the cathartic feeling you get when James Bond kills off yet another nameless thug) and opens doors to your Broadway dreams (imagine yourself nabbing terrorists in a Bourne instalment). You come out of it feeling energized, and not exactly very intellectually stimulated.

Fantasy – Art History, Philosophy, Theology
You must be dreaming if you think you can get a serious career studying these subjects. I’m not discouraging anyone majoring in them, but I’m talking about probability here. It gets you thinking and coming up with great ideas, but at the end of the day, you don’t get anything substantial out of all the brainwork.

War – Medicine, Accountancy, Law, Economics
Because to come up tops will ensure that you will be jolted from your seat more than a few times, physically AND emotionally battled, and honestly it will be a blessing just to have survived the entire ordeal.

Adventure – History, Anthropology, Geography
These majors tell detailed, exciting stories about far-flung, exotic places, crossing the space of time and opening your eyes to a whole new world. You may lose your shoes along the way, but you can be sure you will get out of it in one piece and just in time to see the sun set over the horizon (that is, the classic Hollywood ending).

Horror – Psychology, Political Science
Elbowing your way to an A among cutthroat coursemates, ducking from sharpened axes coming down on your neck from nowhere and watching your back for poisoned arrows are just some very common skills to attain. I’ve heard one to many horror stories of extremely competitive students in these majors. The difference between these majors and the ones I classified under War (which I must say are even more aggressive and unsparing) is that under this genre, you are badly scarred all the same, but even if you DO survive the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and manage to slay the villain, you are unlikely to receive a Purple Heart (a professional degree) or a Victoria Cross (a professional degree AND a job offer before graduation).

Science Fiction – Aerospace/Chemical/Nuclear Engineering, Programming, Software Development
With the godly skills you acquire in the lecture theater and laboratory, you are poised to build the world’s future and fill it with the most advanced and state-of-the-art technology only our great grandchildren will ever live to see. It leaves you awe-inspired, believing that magic can spawn from your two hands, as long as the knowledge in your head matches your ambition and ideas. Nothing is impossible, if you dream it, it will eventually happen, just not in our lifetime.

Indie/Porn – Communication Studies, Advertising, Foreign Languages, Biology, English Literature
Experts at the human form, wordsmiths to formulating catchy slogans, public relation executives to sell ideas, writers to spin the simplest dialogues into poetry and linguists to inject exotic flavor to add spice… what else can you create when you are blessed with these very abstract yet useful abilities! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not belittling your ambitions, afterall they are held in very high regard, for movies in this genre echo the rawest human emotions and desires.

DISCLAIMER: Please take this with a pinch of salt, and in any case if you gain any enlightenment from reading this piece, do go ahead and change your major if it’s not too late. Because unlike watching a movie, you can’t just bitch about a bad major and move on with your life.

Finally, go get some perspective from this dude about The 10 Most Worthless College Majors. I won’t say I agree to all of them but they are pretty damn close, since only ten majors were going on that list.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2008 6:04 PM

    I like the idea you have.
    Sadly though, my theatre classes are not just action. Oh no, our Princeton or Yale or wherever elite high school he graduated from professor loves to think, and write, and explore. There must be a reason, there must be LOTS of RESEARCH. I think my theatre classes are almost more academic then a lot of my academic courses. And that is saying something.

    • agentjade permalink*
      December 10, 2008 7:50 AM

      I suppose most, if not all, classes in college have their academic value, and definitely a lot of effort and thought have gone into designing the modules, and that’s the only way it can be a legit subject. All that being said, my post is about stereotypes and the overriding preconception people get when they look at a particular major. I major in Geography and a relative of mine actually told me that I must be really qualified to make some fantastic recommendations for vacation spots next summer — how’s that for a laughable stereotype? 😉

  2. xxbleed4no1xx permalink
    December 9, 2008 10:52 PM

    I think this is a great comparison, and so true that Psychology is similar to a horror flick.
    Too bad college isn’t two hours long, like a movie. 😉


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