The C-WordJuly 30, 2009 at 7:50 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
I’ve been thinking a lot about the c-word recently. No, not that c-word – I’m talking about college. My dad has most graciously crafted a color-coded chart of the fifteen (fifteen!) schools I will be applying to in the fall, with their national rankings in various subjects prominently displayed (like me, he is a little, er, obsessive detail oriented).
Right now, after spending a month in an engineering program there, my dream school is MIT (I know, I know, keep dreaming). Their science and engineering curriculum is unparalleled, they have the largest SFF library in the world, and their campus is full of nerds just like me. The one thing they don’t have? A nationally ranked English department. The same is true for several of the other schools I am considering.
“Well,” I try to reassure myself, “some people tell you it’s not a good idea to major in writing, anyways. It’s important to get broader exposure. And most writers need a day job to support themselves financially.” Decent arguments, but college is also supposed to be about planning for your future. Do I really want to move towards a future where I have to struggle to fit in writing between labs and physics problems at 2 am?
On the other hand, most people don’t have unlimited amounts of time in which to write. Attending a college with a non-English related focus could help me learn how to manage my schedule so that I can make a place for writing no matter how hectic things become. Many schools now offer the opportunity to take courses at neighboring universities that might be stronger in the humanities. And where better to gather new ideas for SFF novels – which is what I write, after all – than a cutting edge scientific research institution?
Has anyone else with (as my dad refers to them) diametrically opposed interests faced a similar conundrum? I would love to hear your thoughts. And just so this post isn’t entirely about my neurotic concerns, I will leave you with a quote from Meg Cabot’s blog:
“What should an aspiring author major in in college? A lot of people think the answer to this question is obvious (creative writing, journalism, or English), but to me it’s really not. I know a lot of writers, and very few of them majored in these things. I actually know more people who majored in these things who DO NOT write professionally than do. What does that tell you?”