The Big Question of College

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Dad and I had one of our habitual Barnes and Noble dates today.  Basically, we camp out at a table for a few hours, and he does homework while I grab a pile of two to ten books and magazines that I flip through and debate about buying, before remembering that I am, indeed, poor. 


Today we had one of those monumental, life-affirming talks that we seem to have in the oddest of moments.  Dad and I are very similar people, and are fond of expounding on life’s great questions. And laughing about stupid stuff.  And drinking coffee.  But today there happened to be a moment of expounding that really struck me.

I was doing the kind of talking out loud where you are working through your thoughts, trying to figure out what you really mean there amongst the pronouns and hanging participles.  We were discussing college, and how I sometimes worry about the success rate of people in my degree program (if you describe success as working full time, acting at a nationally acredited theatre, and getting heath insurance, I would say the rate hits somewhere around the 1% mark) compared to the money making value of it.  Most of my friends are hitting this stage as well, their eyes getting bigger as they recount the horrific amounts of loans that we are taking out so we can live this crazy dream of theatre.

My first statement was, is it worth it? I cut off my dad before he could answer.  I was not done expounding.  I thought about what I would be doing if I weren’t getting this degree, and the answers came fairly readily: on the path to being a history or literature professor; getting a BA in creative writing or English at some Ivy League-ish East Coast school.  None of these options, in my mind, invovles state school.  The first involves several more years of schooling, plus a meager salary and difficulty finding a job.  The second is almost as “useless,” in the popular sense, as a degree in Acting (have you heard the song “What Do You Do With a BA in English,” from Avenue Q? If not, look it up. I don’t think I understood it till this year). 

Basically, all of my choices ended up with the same result: pursuing what I love, with unforseeable stability. Scary? Yep. Worth it? I am about 90% at this point, yes.

Dad smiled after he heard me work all this out, and said I basically said exactly what he would have told me.  Really, there are no secure paths out there.  Life is so full of surprises and pitfalls and glorious moments, that you might as well pursue what you love.

I am pretty excited.


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