Tag Archives: harry potter

Why I Didn’t Value a Liberal Arts Education (And Why I Do Now)

I declared my major when I applied to Undergrad U. In fact, I rarely use the word “declared” because it was more like “picked”. I looked at the majors available, picked one I liked, and wrote it on my application. Done.

Because I arrived at school knowing my major, I absolutely hated all of the general education courses I was required to take. I spread them out over my time at Undergrad U, mixing them in with courses required for my major. I thought I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up..why did I need to take all these extra classes that had NOTHING to do with my major?

To be fair, my major didn’t leave a lot of room for experimenting with non-required courses. I took the gen eds required of me – a composition course, a psychology course, some course about scientific literature…ugh. None of those courses appealed to me and I didn’t bother looking to see what else was out there.

What makes this whole situation worse was that I knew the “supposed” benefits of those required general education courses and a liberal arts education in general. As I gave prospective students tours of Undergrad U, I spoke with great enthusiasm about how our course requirements ensures that all the future musicians, scientists, and artists would be well-rounded individuals upon graduation. I just didn’t believe it. Or care about it.

When I arrived at Grad School State, I felt so behind my classmates. Undergrad U had less gen eds than most schools AND I tried my best to get out of as many as I could. Most of my classes had been project-based and I felt I couldn’t keep up with all of the readings and the papers and presentations. But still, I didn’t think it had anything to DO my lack of “well rounded” courses, I just thought it was a side effect of my major.

Now that I work at a college, I frequently hear about courses that are offered at PDFM U as well as other schools. And you know what? They sound INTERESTING. I would LOVE to take some of these courses. I actually LIKE learning about things – so long as I’m not under pressure to write papers and take tests and get good grades. I sometimes wonder that if I had waited to choose my major and had more freedom to select courses that interest me if I would have wound up with a different major. If I would have had learned different skills.

But then I remember that I’m older now and think much differently than I did back then…which means just like I hear my students complain now, I too would be complaining about these random course requirements. Maybe it takes a certain type of student to enjoy a liberal arts college while they are a student.

If somebody came up to you and said, “Hey here’s a ton of money, go get another degree!” what do you think you would study? What type of school would you choose? Of course, this is purely for pleasure, otherwise I’d be going to trade school because plumbers and electricians make a lot more money than live on student affairs professionals…just saying. If I could do it again for pleasure, I think I’d study literature. Maybe. Depending on the courses offered at the school. I miss reading. I used to read for fun constantly, but college bashed that out of me. Some of the readings my students have to do sound so interesting! And I’ve heard of colleges with Harry Potter lit classes…

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First World Problem: I HATE Getting a New Phone

Let me tell you a story about a dear friend, my closest confidant – my iPhone. I met my iPhone on a beautiful late summer day two years ago. My iPhone has been there with me through thick and thin. It has never revealed its secrets, even about my frequent Google searches of “One Tree Hill Nathan Scott”. My iPhone has survived countless drops from varying heights and has been stepped on by my dog pretty much every time I’ve visited home. My iPhone and I have spent plenty of lovely afternoons Instagramming pictures in the park. However, all good things must end.

Lately, my iPhone has been that flaky friend that’s having a text convo with you and then suddenly stops responding for three hours, right as you ask some basic yes or no question. Really, iPhone, it takes you three hours to tell me that in fact you ARE available to go to the mall tomorrow? Bitch was probably texting all her other iPhone friends just to make sure nothing better was going on.

Okay, so maybe not really. But my phone has been freezing and shutting off and not letting me know that I have texts from my REAL friends that actually CARE about me. And the battery is TERRIBLE – the only way this phone could die faster is if somebody pointed a wand at it and said “Avada Kedavra!” I get it, it’s old. There’s been TWO new versions of iPhones since I bought this one. There’s been countless app updates and system updates. All these new apps are designed with the newer, faster, iPhone 5 in mind. No wonder my phone is running slow!

Recently, Charlotte from My Crazy, New York, Post Grad Life posted about phone shopping…like me, she has an ancient iPhone and needs to replace it. While she is debating between the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy, I know that I will be replacing my current iPhone with a new iPhone. Most people are excited at the thought of buying a new phone. It has gotten a lot easier…I remember in high school having to write down all of my contacts so I could later put them in one by one. Ugh! The stone ages! Most people like hearing about all the cool shit their new phone could do. They can’t wait to buy a new case and customize the ringtone and blah blah blah. Not me!

In high school and college, I had some friends who seemingly went through phones as frequently as they changed their underwear. I was ALWAYS being invited to Facebook groups because someone lost their phone or got it stolen or dropped it in the toilet. Not me. I had the same dinosaur of a phone all through high school and actually TRIED to lose it one summer and FAILED. (And then when my parents finally did buy me a new phone, I lost it three days later at the grocery store. Go figure. Luckily, I found it and was able to hold onto that beastly thing until the iPhone made its grand debut.) I may be one of like five college students in the history of the United States to do this, but I did not once lose, break, or get my phone stolen during college. I’m sure there’s some special sticker on my diploma to indicate this.

And then I graduated college. The year after I graduated college, I managed to break one phone and get THREE stolen. Now, it’s not like I was careless and left my phone on a table in the food court at the mall and then wandered away. No. One time it was stolen from my own home. Another time it was by a so-called “friend” of a friend. Each time, I had to buy a new phone. Cell phones seriously are a necessity in this day and age. So after that particular year, you could imagine why I HATE buying phones. I’ve included some more reasons (that are more applicable to the general population, not just those with shitty friends) below.

They’re Expensive

Cell phones are NOT cheap, which sucks because, like I said before, I can’t live WITHOUT my cell phone. Yes, I can live without an iPhone and after the first one got stolen, I did live without an iPhone. I had a series of those crappy pay-as-you-go phones for awhile. Those are also not as cheap as you think they would be, especially when your entire family plan is out of upgrades because you’ve had to replace your phone three times in five months. I know I should be setting aside money for my new phone, but I have other bills to pay.

It’s Not Quick and Easy

I like buying milk – I run into the store, find the carton of milk I want, pay for it, and leave. Done. I don’t really like buying bras. You have to try those on. That takes time. And buying a phone? You have to talk to some salesman to tries to make you spend more money than you want to spend (seriously, nobody uses those cases that clip onto your pants anymore) and then you have to wait for the phone to “activate” and all sorts of other stuff.

You Need MORE New Stuff

Depending on what phone you had and what phone you are buying, you might need to get all new accessories – cases, headphones, charger…suddenly your phone just got a lot more expensive!

And Then You Have to Set It Up

This. This right here. This is my least favorite part. I get home and I need to change my ringtone and set my alarms and put in my wifi password. I know they have the ability to transfer my contact, why don’t they have the ability to transfer my settings??

I know getting a phone is a really awesome thing and there are plenty of people who don’t have the money to get a new phone just because their old one is dying, but it honestly causes me so much anxiety!! I don’t know when I’m getting my new phone yet (I’m honestly holding out as long as possible) but when the time comes, I’m pretty sure I will need people to come with me and hold my hand.

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