Column: Major doesn't have to determine career
Aug. 27, 2010
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
As summer begins to cool, we're back in school and the weather is turning toward more comfortable temperatures. Speaking of which, back-to-school means working toward that specific degree and hopefully making something of all that time here.
But whether you're a college pro or a freshman guppy, the where-am-I-going can seem unforeseeable -- because it is. All too often, choosing a major becomes a sort of psychic analysis of the future, with students stressing about where they want to be in five or 10 years. They guess about what they'll be interested in years from now.
But you're here in the present, and why not learn what you want to know now? I suffered from the same apprehension about my future and it took its toll.
My concern for whether I was taking the right classes or not and the muddy visions I had for my future greatly affected my motivation. As a result, my grades took a beautiful swan dive. My parents threatened to pull the plug on Mizzou for a while and offered me some sobering advice: get a degree in anything.
I should get a degree in anything. I thought they were joking. Until they explained to me all I needed was a direction -- any direction. Because as it turns out, it doesn't really matter what I study.
For those just starting college, and those in the thick of it, deciding on a major seems tantamount for success in a specific career. But if we look at some of the most successful people in the world, where they are now wasn't where they intended to be.
For instance, Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney has degrees in English and French literature. Many would guess that a degree in business is the secret to his success.
But think about employers and how many business majors they might interview. It starts to seem pretty homogenous. Learning about something in depth that doesn't relate to your set career path could prove surprisingly beneficial in the future.
In that way, college is like a hip-hop song. Despite my not being "street" in any way (I grew up slinging lemonade on the corner and shooting my brother up with a Nerf gun), the genetics of hip-hop have fascinated me for a long time.
This summer, some of you might have been cruising, listening to some blazing hip-hop and R&B radio and come across "Your Love" by Nicki Minaj. The pop ballad samples Annie Lennox's 1995 hit, "No More I Love Yous." If you are unfamiliar with "Your Love" and "No More I Love Yous," a trip to your nearest Walgreens or YouTube will provide a listen. Both will sound eerily familiar.
Either way, "Your Love" takes a song that to many is an unexpected guilty pleasure and surrounds it with digestible hip-hop production. What is at work here are producers with ears for a wide spread of music -- not just hip-hop itself.
Had the producers submersed themselves in strictly modern hip-hop, songs like "Your Love" would never come to creation. The melding and spilling of disciplines and the fusing of genres of music produce more interesting people and more interesting songs.
What my parents, Nicki Minaj and Michael Eisner illustrate is what you bring to the table can be from anywhere. Whether you're a French literature major or a biology major, it's all relevant.
Perhaps "Blinding Me with Science" will be sampled by Lil Wayne. Who knows?