With now only three weeks remaining in my freshman year, a cold reality has settled in as I look toward sophomorocity (I just made that up!). Before I start registering for classes in August, I need to decide in what building on our little campus I will be spending most of my time. I need to decide on a major. Our school gives us a relatively well-structured first year, with a curriculum that is designed to allow us to experience a wide variety of classes and not have to worry quite yet about upper-level courses. With a year of PE, Theology, Latin, Math, Physics, Astronomy, Art History and English classes crammed into my head alongside Twilight trivia, the Starbucks menu, and song lyrics, I don’t know exactly how much room is left for two to three years of learning about the same topic. There are practical considerations; I don’t need to work during the academic year at all while I am an undergraduate, but that is in return for making the commitment to finishing in four years. My little sister Mary has the same deal, but at five months old, I don’t think they have told her, yet. Though I seem to remember my dad’s first college conversation with me was around kindergarten. That means no choosing majors, keeping one for a year, then having to start anew in another area. By August, I need to have committed to what I want to do for a career. Mostly.
I understand that many people do not have jobs or careers that are connected to their major. Certainly many professions require specialized education, but the majority do not. When I was a lot younger, I wanted to manage an office, because that is what my mom did (it lost its luster quickly). When I was a little younger, I wanted to be an attorney, because that is what my dad does. Sorry Cathy (my step-mom) web development something-or-other has never crossed my mind, but stay at home mom sounds good sometimes. Today…well, today I still want to be an attorney. That means law school and the choice of undergraduate major is not all that important. However, I want to specialize in environmental law, so it seems that I should have some serious expertise in environmental type things. That means science. Lots of science, and science is connected to math. My dad’s degree is in political science, not real science–basically make it up as you go along and if you don’t know just lie (but sound authoritative while you lie), science. He also claims to have a law degree, but those claims are suspect. I have pretty much had my fill of politics and I have eliminated political science from my list of options.
Right now, Environmental Geosciences is my choice. The course list for Environmental Geosciences reads like a study of rocks. And more rocks. Which is OK, because I like rocks. The physical history of our planet is told by observing rocks and dirt and the physical history of our planet tells us where we have been and where we are going. What made Geosciences land at the top of my list and has kept it there since I started really looking into majors is that as I read of geology and this area of study, I become increasingly excited about learning more. And the more I have spoken with the advisers in the Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, the more I adore what these people are doing. I never thought I was the science type because it seemed too mathy. I truly never thought that I would spend any time around the College of Engineering. But I have been blessed with an exceptional Physics professor this year and having come back from possible failure to a “B” last semester in Finite Math has restored my confidence in my ability to do things with numbers and such. By the way, don’t get me started on the fact that a friend of Cathy’s was shocked to learn that a Catholic College offers degrees in science .
I believe that when armed with my rock knowledge, and my law degree, the politicians, oil and coal companies better look out because it is going to be Earth v. Them with God as a real party in interest and Megan as lead counsel for the plaintiffs. And if someone saves the planet before me, I can focus on being a stay at home mom. Which isn’t too bad.