You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Psych out

I was wondering a thought the other day... Do college freshman ask each other that burning question anymore? You know, the one you were asked during the first months of college, as if your answer would reveal every character trait and/or flaw that the questioner could use to decide if you were a total tool or a righteous dude?

"So, what's your major?"

Yeah, that question. Does anyone ask it anymore? Or do they ask, "I poked you on Facebook and haven't heard back...what's your major malfunction?"

That sentence is so horrible I don't even know where to begin.

Well, I don't know what they ask each other anymore, but when I was a freshman in college that was pretty much the ice breaker, kind of like asking someone what their sign was in the 70s. You're a Virgo? Ugh, totally lame.

I was a psychology major. Yes, really. But that's not the worst part. The worst part is HOW I became a psychology major.

Like most teenagers I had no idea what I was supposed to do with my life, other than go to college, that is. Because my parents were paying my tuition I had this weird idea in my head that I had to major in something that would either result in me becoming a doctor, lawyer, or teacher. It didn't occur to me that there were other options to pursue. Those were the only three jobs in the world. The internet wasn't even around yet; I didn't know anything about computers other than it was a big, expensive box that allowed me to type papers instead of hand-writing them.

Major in art? Ha, ha, good one...I could already hear what my dad would say, "I'm paying how much so you can doodle crap in your notebooks?" College, in my mind, was a way to a SERIOUS profession. can see how well THAT turned out for me.

So of course I said to my parents, "I'll be a veterinarian." I liked animals and I liked science. Whether or not I was good at it was a whole other ballgame. This was acceptable for them, and so I planned to sign up for all the courses necessary for that job. Biology, Chemistry, Math, etc. etc. So back in good old 1993 there was no such thing as registering for classes online. You looked up courses in a catalog, wrote down the numbers of the classes, went to a gymnasium and waited for your group to be called. Then you would bring your slip of paper to a crabby old woman who pretended to be Christ almighty himself and would sigh as she entered the numbers into a computer to see if that class was still availabe. It was a big logistical nightmare, trying to put together a schedule because you didn't know what was available into you tried to get into it.

So as a freshman I remembered being herded into a hallway where we sat in chairs and waited to be called. I was undecided. Undeclared. Story of my life. They started calling majors in alphabetical order, and I stared at the wall and began to zone out. As they got to MATH, a sudden horrible realization washed over me. Because I was undecided I would end of registering dead last. All the classes I needed would be full. I was horrified. Some lady yelled out, "PHYSICS!" I jumped up. After a second I thought, "No way in hell!" Then I sat down and started twitching my feet, feeling sick. Whatever is next, I thought. Anything.


"That's me!" I grabbed my backpack and my slip of paper and stumbled toward my destiny. "Huh..." I thought with a smile, thinking how clever I was to figure it out before all the other undecided dolts. "I can always change it next semester."

I graduated in 1998 with a B.A. in Psychology. I was even inducted into the Psi Chi honor society.

True Story.

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