Friday, June 06, 2008

How Middle Son chose accounting?

Today I will tell you something I'll always suspect... but can never prove.

I do not present this as fact, merely as informed speculation. Speculation, in other words, based on my own experience when I was roughly his age.

I did work every summer in college, and what I earned was put toward school -- and in those days even a low paying summer job made a much bigger dent in tuition than even a high paying job does now. But doing in three years what ordinarily takes four was my principal contribution to defraying the cost of my undergraduate education.

But I was a history major. My father was a practical man and he had no illusions about my being able to take my diploma and do something productive, so he offered me a choice. He'd help me out with graduate school, he said, but only if I pursued either an MBA or a law degree.

What about a graduate degree in history? I asked.

No, he said, that would be on my own nickel. (I took a required course for the master's degree -- a course in historiography, which is the history of historians, and quickly decided that I had no desire to pursue an academic career. It turns out that the history of historians may be the most boring subject ever devised by the mind of man. But I digress.)

I did go to the career office to see what sort of job I might get with my newly minted degree in history.

In contrast to the wonderful career counseling services provided at that football factory in South Bend where Oldest Son obtained his degree, the 'office' at my Chicago Catholic college was actually a bulletin board. And there may have been a sort of book, too, into which someone had pasted various out-of-date want ads. But that may have been the law school placement office. At this distance, things get jumbled up. (So as not to get in trouble with Oprah, I'll try and clean this up when the memoir is published as a book.)

Whether it was a book of clippings or just cards and phone messages on a bulletin board, it soon became apparent to me that I had two choices: Sell life insurance or go to grad school.

Getting an MBA seemed like another way of getting into a career in sales... and I knew I'd be lousy at that... and so... just floating downstream... blindly following the path of least resistance, I chose the law.

And now to Middle Son. It was his sophomore year and they were taking pictures for the baseball roster to be posted on the school team's website. Every player was listed by name and hometown... and major.

Middle Son didn't have a major at this point. Baseball was what was keeping him in school.

But, when called upon to do so for the team website, Middle Son made a choice. I believe -- though, as I said, I cannot prove -- that if majors had been listed in reverse alphabetical order, we might be talking about him finishing up his zoology major.

Photo obtained from Mystsong2000 on Flickr.


Ellee Seymour said...

My eldest son has just taken his exams and I hope he has good enough grades for a good university. I think all this happens at too early an age for them. I hated being a teenager and was very much a late developer. Everyone puts pressure on teenagers at a very difficult and hormonal time of their life. I hope your son will be happy, I am sure you will guide him through life wisely.

Shelby said...

being a parent myself of a recently graduated high schooler.. I understand from which you speak.

Patti said...

I hear you too, Curm. Our daughter is a history major and I'll have to warn her about any courses that are going to teach her about the history of historians.
She doesn't know what she wants to do with the major, but she'll figure it out.

P.S. I just e-mailed you ;-)

TroyBoy said...

With a preschooler and a baby, I can't even begin to think that far ahead.