Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dumb Question...

Here are some solid answers to the rather dumb question that I hear all too often: “What are you going to do with a major in German Literature?”

1) Most people do not end up working in a career based upon their major, so I chose to study literature in order to develop a broad set of skills and sensibilities that will be useful to me in whatever career I choose. I will enter graduate school and my career with a keen ability to read and analyze texts, events and artifacts and to write about them clearly, concisely and accurately. That alone will put me above 97% of the other applicants in my future chosen field.

2) As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I realize that I and all of my generation stand under condemnation for not sufficiently reading, understanding, interpreting and applying the sacred scriptures which have been handed down by the Lord to his followers in this dispensation. I am a German literature major in order to develop reading and thinking skills as I learn about notions of text, reader, and the processes of exegesis and textual interpretation. I want to be familiar with the historical and philosophical traditions that can help me to be a
powerful scholar and reader of the scriptures.

3) I specifically did not go to a technical school or a career instructional center. I chose to attend a university because I realize that in this volatile economy I will need to be flexible and marketable to a wide variety of career options. I wish to develop my skills of critical thinking, my knowledge of other cultures and languages, and my ability to find beauty and truth in the chaos of conflicting information in a post-modern era. And, by the way, I know what post-modernism is. I know the basic differences between Freudian and Jungian Psychology. If someone throws a term like “deconstruction” around at a party, I don’t have to retreat to the refreshment table and say “whoa, that conversation is over my head.” I realize that an education is not the same as career training. I know that one of the most common current job interview questions is “what is a recent book that you have read and how has it influenced your own personal philosophy?” I have made sure that when I am asked that question I won’t answer “Who Moved my Cheese” or “The Best of Letterman’s Top Ten Lists.” I am on my way to becoming a well-read, well-versed and erudite person with a broad range of intellectual and practical interests.

*This was an excerpt from one of my course syllabi that I altered slightly. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did when I read it the first time. Thank you Dr. Robert McFarland!


  1. That cracked me up, Jami! Thanks. As for myself, I got an education for those same reasons, including, but not limited to, the following: to be a smart mom, to show my kids that an education is important, and for something to do with the last of my teen years and early 20s.

  2. Great syllabus! I think it's great for women to have an education or skill of some kind. Even if they are not the main providers or plan to do anything with their education or skills. It's like having insurance, for yourself and family. You'll always have something to fall back on incase anything ever happens. I chose a major that really can't make much money but I love it and I now know so much about it. It's always there if it's ever needed. (Though I still need to finish school.) Brandon feels the same and is a great encourager. I am all for education and will encourage all of my kids to be as well. Yeah Jamie.



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